Well. Here we are. The seas of change roar at Speakeasy Tattoo, Los Angeles. This will be my official final blog post. I am reaching the final stages in this apprenticeship and my duties are now more and more tattoo focused as well as preparing for the art show on August 21st. Remember when the Emperor saw some young new force user and decided "oh well I need some of that, Vader? Eff that guy, he's done enough for me." Its kinda like that. I am guiding a new apprentice to the dark side, passing on what I have learned so ultimately the Emperor can take over and I go deal with the terrorist state of Alderaan.
So with that, we welcome Astor. Astor has certainly had a baptism by fire in his first few days, but that's how it is in this secluded corner of Los Angeles. So here is a little Q&A I did with Astor, give it a read, get to know him, for he will be taking over blog ranting from here on out. You're gonna miss me when I'm gone.
Q: Give a brief intro/what you’re all about
A: What’s up y’all I’m Astor, LA native and newest apprentice here at Speakeasy Tattoo. Few things about me, I collect carnivorous plants, in I’m a Virgo, and I have a habit of running into dangerous wildlife (especially when I’m not looking for said dangerous wildlife) wherever I go. You want to run into a tiger shark in the middle of the Sonoran Desert? I’m your guy.
Q: What got you into tattooing?
A: The year was 2007, and I was in an after school arts program which for legal reasons shall not be named here when a buddy of mine, a crusty 17 year old, came into class looking somewhat dispirited. When I asked him what was the bee in his bonnet, he responded that the previous night, he’d gotten hella crossfaded in his parents’ garage, and decided to give himself a tattoo, at which point, he pulled up the leg of his basketball shorts to reveal what he’d put on his thigh. In large, block letters each over an inch tall, he had written “FUCK THE POLESE”. Yes, polese. That’s when I knew, tattooing was something I really wanted to do. It’s taken me some 15 years to get to this point, but that tattoo has stayed with me the entire time. The best/worst tattoo I’ve ever seen.
Q: Who is your biggest artistic inspiration (can be one or many) not related to tattooing?
A: So many. Bernie Wrightson, Gustave Dore, Franz von Bayros, Takato Yamamoto, Aubrey Beardsley, Louis Le Breton (his illustrations for the Dictionnaire Infernal), Walton Ford, Pieter Bruegel the Elder… to name a few. If you have all day, I could go on. Does this blog have a character limit?
Q: Who is your biggest tattoo inspiration?
A: It’s hard to say. At this stage, I’m trying not to get disheartened by looking at the incredible masterpieces that other artists have created in this medium, but two that come to mind are Pony Reinhardt, and Massimo Gurnari.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Persnickety probably. I like dense compositions, finicky and purposeful linework, high drama, and a touch of erotic despair. I try to channel a bit of gothic decadence and golden age of illustration charm into what I do. Baroque, maybe?
Q: Favorite bands/musical artists?
A: Over the years I’ve tried to develop this thing called taste but truly I’m a 12 year old emo baby at heart so if I’m being real honest with myself and letting it all hang out I would probably have to say Placebo and Coheed and Cambria are my favorite bands.
(EDITORS NOTE FROM SWEEVE: okay maybe I wont be relinquishing the bluetooth speaker control after all)
Q: Favorite films or film makers and why is it David Lynch?
A: The fact that he refuses to engage in questions about his work and instead goes on lengthy screeds about the weird desk he is currently building is such a power move. I hope one day I too could have the sort of clout that is required to behave like that XD.
Q: What is most exciting about starting your apprenticeship?
A: Honestly, and this might just be the big nerd in me talking, but the whole process of tattooing, the nitty gritty how-to type stuff is really interesting to me, especially because it is such an ancient practice, even compared to say something like oil painting, and to become part of this ancient artistic legacy is really exciting. Also tattooing is something that is so deeply personal, getting to meet people and help them alter their self presentation like that is really exciting and honestly quite humbling.
Q: What scares you the most about starting your apprenticeship?
A: The logistics of it. I’m real dyslexic and have bad ADHD so keeping on top of things has always taken more energy and effort then probably does for other, non-neurodivergent people especially when executive functioning is in play.
Q: Anything else you wanna say? Now is your time.
A: Well I guess I could lay out spicy personal details or political opinions or whatever but I think I’m going to use this time to talk about one of my favorite creatures on this here planet of earth: sea cucumbers. Did you know that sea cucumbers breathe through their anus and are relatives of starfish? Well now you do. They are detritivores which means that a not insubstantial part of their diet is fecal matter. They are a crucial part of the marine eco system. They are also able to vomit up their respiratory system if being pursued by a predator and regrow whole organs, making them functionally immortal. Honestly the ideal existence, living in the ocean, eating shit, and vibing. That’s the way to be. They say ‘eat shit and die’? Not if you’re a sea cucumber. More like eat shit and THRIVE. Inspiring.
So everyone keep you eyes out for astor and what he creates. Check out his work below and check out his IG @astorbonder.
It's been real y'all.