Tattooing within the West has lengthy been related to the darkish aspect. Macabre imagery—grim reapers, tombstones, skulls, and so on.—is the bread-and-butter of tattoo designs. Whereas a easy cranium and crossbones was ok for grandpa, immediately folks need to crank the creep issue to the max. Toronto’s Brian Kennedy, also called Sewp, can ship the tattoo your darkish hearts have been dreaming of. His haunting designs have shortly earned him a status as a grasp of the macabre. We sat down with Kennedy to listen to about how tattooing discovered him and what he’s dying to tattoo subsequent.
What was your upbringing like and the way did it lead you to change into a tattooer?
My mother had me when she was 21 in a bizarre metropolis known as Brampton, Ontario, and she or he hustled like an absolute queen to present me an excellent childhood. I used to be a shit pupil as a result of I used to be continually distracted and doodling. I simply figured everybody doodled on a regular basis. Any time I watched a sick film or heard a brand new band I preferred, I all the time felt compelled to attract. It was like one thing needed to get out, and the one manner to do this was to attract. I used to be identified with ADD as a teen and given Adderall to curb my tendency to get distracted simply. That shit turned me right into a fucking zombie and my associates and I might normally pop them like ecstasy after we had been bored, so in the end not a really bueno scenario. Positive, I didn’t get distracted and I received loads performed, however I received a whole lot of mediocre shit performed. At the very least off the medication I used to be making artwork I used to be happy with, albeit at a slower tempo. I labored shit labor jobs all by my teenagers and drew all evening, for like eight years and into my 20s. Ultimately I moved to Toronto for college, dropped out twice and landed an apprenticeship at a small store within the East Finish known as Elevated Ink after I was 24.
How did you create your present fashion of tattooing and which artists helped inform that call?
I’ve a bizarre problem with the time period “fashion.” It implies an artist has landed on one constant manner of creating artwork and can eternally be that manner. For me, that isn’t the case. A few of my most important creative influences entering into tattooing had been illustrators like Ralph Steadman, Gerald Scarfe, Mcbess and particularly Stephen Gammell—he’s the dude who illustrated the “Scary Tales to Inform within the Darkish” books. Apparently these are banned in faculties within the UK due to the illustrations, however we had them in Canada and I might steal them from the library.
I used to be additionally influenced loads by graffiti artists. At first, I used to be actually into avenue artwork, however shortly I felt prefer it was the lamest, most pretentious model of vandalism on the fucking planet. Correct avenue and prepare graff, uncooked fuck you vandalism is king. Seeing hearth extinguisher tags on designer retailer fronts will get me absolutely torqued. One thing in regards to the excellent cocktail of adrenaline rush and creativity actually kicked it off for me and I nonetheless catch tags to at the present time. In my early 20s, I spent a whole lot of sleepless nights within the deep Canadian winter portray trains and partitions in -20 diploma climate with hand heaters packed underneath the paint.
What appeals to you about bats, spiders, darkish girls and different macabre photographs?
I’m actually unsure why I’m drawn to material like that, however I’ve all the time equated creepy to chill. One thing about sharp and dramatic graphic options in designs all the time caught my eye. These days, I’m drawn to an entire vary of stylistic approaches, however inside my very own work, I like to take care of a consistency whereas additionally permitting myself to experiment.
How do you go about recreating related photographs in an authentic manner for brand spanking new purchasers?
There are actually tens of millions of reference pictures on the market that lend themselves to nice tattoo compositions. It’s actually a matter of utilizing the graphic instruments to put out a brand new strategy each time, akin to utilizing heavy black someplace totally different, including sample work, incorporating animals, warping, or melting facets of the design.
What do you hope to tattoo extra of sooner or later?
I’m actually leaning into extra pattern-based work that attire the physique. Much less of a deal with the imagery throughout the tattoo and extra of a deal with the physique of my consumer being the art work.
What else ought to our readers find out about you?
I like to collaborate. You (the consumer) and I, we’re on the identical enjoying discipline right here. We’re a workforce and we’re gonna smash this shit outta the park.