Inkerviews features the work of tattoo artists and collectors, as well as fine artists, in a series of interviews. With an exciting lineup already in place and endless more to come, I hope you will check back often to read about these incredible people and enjoy their visually stunning talents.
Each piece, whether a permanent tattooed treasure, or a grand painted masterpiece, expresses unique meaning and significance to the viewer. It has the power to not only entertain, but to enrich.
Picasso once said, “The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web…” meaning that an artist begins his or her work with inspiration drawn from an infinite amount of sources, and that work has the power, to in turn, inspire others.
It was this idea that was the motivation for ReflectedArt.com. This site where “Art and Knowledge Meet” was the brainchild of world-renowned tattoo artist, Mike DeVries, and tattoo collector, John Pyles, who not only wears excellent ink, he is an artist himself.
John and Mike bring two different and important perspectives to the table when it comes to the vision for Reflected Art. They understand the need for creativity and have devised a platform for sharing knowledge and inspiration by offering not only educational materials in a variety of forms, but artwork as well; from fine art originals, to prints, to collectibles.
Not only does the Reflected Art store feature and abundance of artistic eye candy, it also offers videos from artists like: Tony Ciavarro, Michele Wortman, Shawn Barber, Nick Baxter, Jeff Gogue, and many others, in the Art Video section of the site.
With an all-star lineup of tattoo artists creative and educational products already on the site (just check out the first-rate array mentioned in the interviews below), Reflected Art has plans on the horizon to branch out beyond the sphere of ink and include more areas of the art industry as well. “We’re all about supporting, promoting, and inspiring art and artists,” John explains. The company is continuously expanding their catalogue, so if you have products to sell or knowledge to lend, be sure to give them a buzz (via email) to send in your proposal.
It was a treat to speak with Mike and John and learn more about how Reflected Art came to be, what’s currently happening there, and what the future holds for this innovative enterprise.
How did the idea of Reflected Art come about?
Reflected Art was just one idea out of a few that John and I had. We had wanted to do something together for a few years and after many ideas and a lot of thought, we narrowed it down to ReflectedArt.com.
Reflected Art consists of a website that provides information on upcoming art events, tattoo conventions, stories, release parties, art shows, etc. We have inspirational short videos anyone can watch, but most importantly, we offer unique fine art books and DVDs, ranging from: tattoo educational books, inspirational, sketch books, to other mediums such as educational painting methods.
We also wanted to have a place where we could help promote other artists and offer original oil paintings and fine art prints done by many different artists and in different mediums.
We wanted to have a place that was dedicated to promoting and exposing the great artists in the industry and their achievements. By offering these great products and awesome pieces of art, we hope that it reflects on others and what they can achieve.
You are obviously passionate about art and tattoos. How did this appreciation help to shape the direction of Reflected Art?
Loving art and tattoos is what I'm all about. If you saw me walking down the street and said to yourself, “I wonder what that guys thinking about?” It would most definitely be about art and tattooing. Whether or it’s when am I going to get another tattoo, or perhaps thinking about a tattoo my buddy just did, or about a tattoo I just finished, or a tattoo I’m going to be doing. That’s usually what’s going on in my brain.
With as much thought as I give to art and tattoos, it helps keep the direction of Reflected Art moving in a fresh, up-to-date, what’s hot-type of mode. Everything we carry is something that either John likes or I like. We have turned down products to carry because it doesn’t fit our beliefs or just because the book sucks. We want to provide only the best. If I wouldn't want it on my own bookshelf or hanging on my wall, it won’t be on reflectedart.com.
Your partner in this business is also your friend and a man you have tattooed many hours of work upon. How did you first meet John? What elements do both of you bring to the table for this project?
John and I come to the table with two different perspectives. John is a serious tattoo collector - that’s how I met him, about 5 years ago. His wife, Johanna, contacted me to tattoo him for a birthday gift. He had already been getting tattooed by some top tattoo artists, so I was stoked to tattoo him. After all the years went by, he is probably in my top three client/friends that I have spent the most time tattooing. We became really good friends, and I also came to find out that John is an artist himself. You can find him in figure drawing classes twice a week, every week. So not is he only my business partner, but he is heavily influenced by art himself. So he looks for certain things for Reflected Art and so do I. I think they mesh very well.
What types of artwork are you currently offering for sale? What are some new items that are forthcoming for the site?
As of now, we are very geared towards the tattoo industry, mostly because that is where my true heart lies; but we are actively adding products that pertain to general types of art as well.
Right now, we have original oil paintings by:
Carlos Rojas, Timothy Boor, Myke Chambers and myself.
We have art prints on canvas and paper by:
Carlos Torres, Jamie Parker, Jeff Ensminger, Martin Lacasse, and also I have a couple on there as well.
We have books from:
Guy Aitchison, Josh Duffy, Jeff Ensimnger, Tony Ciavarro, and many more.
Tony Ciavarro, Shawn Barber, Nikko, Russ Abbott, Joe Cap, Mario Barth, Franco Vescovi, Mario Rosena, and many more.
I have a new DVD called Get Real With Mike DeVries: Animal Style that will be available about the time this interview goes up too.
How can an artist or company sell their products through Reflected Art?
If you have a book, DVD, art print, or original art, just email us using the contact tab on ReflectedArt.com and show us what you have. We would be happy to look into it and possibly carrying it in our online store.
What do you hope to bring to the tattoo community by offering these educational materials?
I believe that John and I have similar visions with ReflectedArt.com and hope these products inspire and or educate artists. Even if they are already an established artist, there are little tricks that you can pick up on, just by watching someone do what they do best, or reading a book that is geared towards what someone would like to learn.
We have sketch books by artists that are a great form of inspiration when drawing your next tattoo. Some of the art books, such as Tattoo Prodigies, are filled with amazing tattoos and artwork. With a product such as that, we hope that it also educates the tattoo collector on what is even possible to achieve in a tattoo, because these artists are pushing it and doing awesome work.
I also want to mention that the tattoo educational products are for professional tattoo artists or apprentices that are in a legitimate shop. Everything else we carry is for anybody that wants to hang a great piece of artwork on their wall or have a great coffee table book displayed in their living room.
What personal projects do you have going on now and will they be available on Reflected Art when they are completed?
Get Real with Mike DeVries: Animal Style, which is a new DVD where I chose to tattoo a full-color gorilla for the project - from start to finish - explaining new ideas and tricks throughout the process. Animals, portraits, and realism go hand-in-hand and they can apply many things I talk about in this DVD to what they already know. I hope that in the end they can personally create something new with fresh, imaginative ideas and take their tattooing skills to new levels.
This new DVD features: higher all-around quality, more camera angles, better music, and essentially real-time editing. The informative instruction covers topics such as: Photoshop techniques to apply to tattooing, placement, stenciling, set-up, machines, needles, my palette and ink choices, color mixing; and most importantly, up-to-date tattooing techniques that encompass what I do.
What are your goals for Reflected Art for the coming year?
Our goal, just like any business, is to grow. We would love to keep adding new products to the store. We already actively update the site with new products and information for the artists and collectors. We hope that others like the info we provide and enjoy the products as much as we do.
Thanks for taking the time to read our interview.
The idea of Reflected Art is so fantastic and a refreshing approach in offering educational and inspirational materials to the ink-minded world. What was your main goal when beginning this project?
Well, thanks to Mike, I’ve been able to see a tremendous amount of exceptional art and meet a number of incredible artists. We both share a passion for art and tattoos and after being tattooed by him for more than five years, we discovered a common interest in bringing recognition to these often-unheralded artists.
Our initial goal was to find and promote inspirational art and instructional materials within the tattoo community, that helps arouse or stimulate others’ creativity. Once we launched the website though, we found that there was a need to provide these same artists with a marketplace where they could post and sell there artwork too. So, more recently, we have been talking to more artists through industry relationships and posting more prints, including their original works of art. We call these affiliations, in the broadest of terms. If an artist we like has originals that they would like to post, we have them submit digital images, and we post it on our site. The vast majority of proceeds go directly back to the artists.
We really hope to create a very comprehensive site that artists can visit, to see and purchase exceptional art and motivational materials. Recently, we’ve been branching out into some of the more traditionally known art markets and will be posting some instructional DVDs and books that focus on art fundamentals, like figure drawing, constructive anatomy, drawing the face and hands. Fun stuff!
You are both an artist and a tattoo collector. How does your perspective of the industry help in shaping the direction of Reflected Art?
Our perspective of the industry is what drives our strategic direction.
Mike and I both have limited history in the industry (Mike, 8 years and me, 5 years), but we have a huge amount of respect for those who have spent a lifetime devoted to their craft. So we are constantly talking with the veterans in the industry to make sure we remain well-grounded and represent the history of the art in this industry. For this reason, you find a significant amount of traditional tattoo art and materials.
It’s exciting that the evolution of the industry has led to an art-rich environment. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see art shows, art instructional sessions, and artist collaboration projects at industry events. For example, Guy Aitchison’s Innerstate project at last year’s Hell City convention. He invited 40 of the industry’s top artists for a live performance, creating fine art. It was truly amazing to watch.
Your business partner is also your friend and tattoo artist. How many years have you known Mike? What was the first piece he tattooed on your skin and what do you have planned in the near future?
Mike and I first met in 2005, when my wife, Johanna, surprised me with a tattoo session with Mike as a birthday present. The very first piece he did was of the Terminator, from Terminator 2; which at the time, was representative of how my wife felt about me. No, not a killing machine…but rather an unconventional hero (her words, not mine, which if you watch T2 you know what she meant).
As far as the future goes, Mike and I are planning to start my back piece soon, which will pay homage to one of the great renaissance artist of the 16th and 17th centuries, Peter Paul Rubens. The piece is called “The Entombment” which depicts Christ’s limp dead body being held by Mary before He was placed in the tomb. My entire back is vacant and waiting for this masterpiece.
Can you give us an idea of the books and instructional products that are currently offered on Reflected Art? What new items are on the horizon?
Currently, we have over 75 products and the list keeps growing. We have a ton of DVDs and books featuring a number of inspirational artists like: Mike, Shawn Barber, Guy Aitchison, Nikko Hurtado, Shige, Martin LaCasse, Carlos Torres, Carlos Rojas, and Franco Vescovi, just to name a few.
More recently, Mike a I have been researching and planning to bring in some art instructional products, focusing on the fundamentals, such as figure drawing, animation, and work by inspirational artists outside the tattoo industry. We’re really hoping to grow beyond just the tattoo industry and focus on a broader defined art industry. We just got some new products in from an exceptionally talented, world-renowned animation artist named Dean Yeagle.
Something that we hadn’t anticipated was the opportunity to buy and sell artists works, both originals and prints. There are a lot of websites out there that focus on an individual artist’s work, but no collective effort. Mike and I are hoping to provide these talented individuals with a place where they can post their work, through our affiliate program, and sell their art.
We are super excited about expanded this area of the business, since it brings together both buyers and sellers through a collective website where lots of art is available.
How does Reflected Art differ from other companies that offer tattoo-related books and products?
Well, we like to think that since we’re artists ourselves, we look for the unique and inspirational products that focus on the art, and the art alone. We’re all about supporting, promoting, and inspiring art and artists.
What are your goals for Reflected Art for the coming year?
For now, our primary goal is to educate, promote, support, and participate in the growth of the art within this industry; eventually branching out into more traditional art markets.
But I have to tell you, we’re really excited about expanding the affiliate program over the next year. We really think it will be awesome if we could have tons of artists and their work in one place that people could go to get inspiration, buy pieces, and sell art.
Any final thoughts for readers?
Yes, we’d love to hear directly from artists. We’d like to hear about what inspires them, what ignited their passions and aspirations, and especially what makes them want to jumpstart their next project.
*Be sure to visit ReflectedArt.com today and bookmark the site, so you can keep updated on all the latest artwork, books, DVDs, and inspirational materials that are being added weekly.
Last updated on September 1, 2010 by Jinxi Boo