Please Vote for me for the Rockstar Energy, Sullen Art collective and Inked Magazine #‎13thArtist design A can contest! Voting ends July 25th and they announce the winner July 31st, You can Vote once per day per email so please vote everyday until then! I really appreciate it!! Thank you all that have voted and those of you who continue to vote daily! It means the world to me! follow the link below to Vote or Visit




Vote for me for the Rockstar Energy 13th Artist Design A Can contest


I am entered in the Rockstar Energy, Sullen Art Collective and Inked Magazine 13th Artist Design A can contest. If you could please Vote for both of my designs, you can vote once A day per email so please do so I really appreciate the love and support. I consider myself more of an aspiring artist then I do an artist. I have A deep love and passion for Art in all of it’s many forms. This is the first time I have ever entered in anything like this. I actually made this design using my Samsung Galaxy S3. Winning this contest will be an opportunity of A lifetime for me. I consider myself the underdog in the contest cause all the other artist have extensive backgrounds with their Art to where im just A simple Aspiring Artist and Tattoo Artist. I hope I can get your Votes I highly appreciate them.!/sullenfamily/photos/pb.42303941828.-2207520000.1400700688./10152018418866829/?type=1&source=42



Nikko Hurtado is one of the top color portrait tattoo artists in the world but this Saturday marks his very first solo fine art show, Renati. The show will feature several never-before-seen works by Hurtado, onOctober 26th from 8:00-11:30pm in Santa Monica’s Copro Gallery at 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, CA. Hurtado gives an exclusive peek at his artwork and a discussion about his creative process.

Inked: We are really excited about the Renati art show that you have coming up. Can you tell us a little about what to expect with the show?

Nikko Hurtado: Well, I named it “Renati” because it means “reborn” in Latin. It’s a theme, like a new thing for me, since I’ve done art for pretty much my whole life, but to be reborn, it just speaks of the new picture. So I put a couple of old pieces in, maybe like two or three older pieces, but I did 10 new pieces for the show.

Inked: Can you tell us about some of the pieces you’ve created?

Nikko Hurtado:Yeah, I did one called “Dermographic Illumination.” It’s a girl holding up a tattoo machine and standing on traditional tattoos. Pretty much what it means is that she is standing on tradition. She has a filigree that’s growing vine-like on her body, and as it comes to her arms, it starts to come to life. Where we are [in the tattoo industry] is standing on tradition and where it came from in all these years with everything that’s happening in the industry now. It’s cool because it’s this pretty girl, and she has pink hair, so it has to do with having a lot more women in this industry now, which is awesome. Then, also in some part, it has to do with the future of tattooing and how many people look at the industry and how popular it’s become. So that piece has a lot to do with right now and tattooing itself.

Inked: How have you been preparing for the show?

Nikko Hurtado: Just painting every day I get a lot of instant verification from tattooing people and I’m done that day; it’s not huge-sized art. You get a lot from tattooing instantly, but with painting it’s different because it takes weeks to finish a painting sometimes. When I’m painting, there’s less pressure and it’s hard. But it’s been great and I love it. It’s definitely a whole different dynamic and I have a whole lot or respect for people that just solely do art and painting.

Inked: And this is your first solo show?

Nikko Hurtado: Yeah, I’ve done other group shows and things where I’ve done like one painting, but this is the first time that I’ve ever sat and painted. I took three months off of tattooing to prepare for this. It’s been crazy, so I’ve been working really hard trying to make it interesting. It’s something I’ve put some love into.

Inked: And you were just part of the Beyond Eden show?

Nikko Hurtado: Yeah, I was. With this gallery I’m showing with Copro. They offered me this chance where I could do Beyond Eden as a preview with my solo show. It’s four galleries that come together in LA at this municipal gallery and museum space. Chet Zar and I showed our shows that we’re doing this weekend and then three other galleries showed stuff. A lot of people came out and it was just really cool to show. It was nerve-racking, but it was awesome and I sold a few pieces that night.

Inked: What would you say is your preferred medium when you are creating these pieces?

Nikko Hurtado: I like oil paint. Just because oil is so masterful; it’s like an old way to do stuff. I just like the way it looks and illuminates light and how buttery it is. When I see oil paints, I love it. I travel a lot so I get to see a lot of museums. If I go anywhere in the world, I go to the museums. I want to see old paintings and old things from a long time ago. For me it’s just cool that these things last two hundred years, and you can still look at them. They still look incredible and that is just crazy to me. So that’s why I prefer to work in oil. It’s just an amazing medium that lasts for so long.

Inked: Are there any artists that you draw direct inspiration from?

Nikko Hurtado: Yeah, of course. I think I draw directly from a lot of places I’ve been and things I’ve seen. Like one of my favorite museums is the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It’s awesome because of the way the painters painted, I mean Rembrandt is up there! I get to paint with Michael Hussar every so often and we do a painter’s night, which is like life studies, and of course I draw a lot of inspiration from him. He’s an incredible artist and an incredible person.

Inked: What drew you to work in mainly portraiture?

Nikko Hurtado: I don’t know. I think in tattooing it just kind of went that way. I always liked realism and realistic tattooing and realistic drawings, but I think naturally it just went that way. People would be like, “Oh, I want a portrait.” So I ended up doing a real portrait of somebody on somebody, so this is what actually led me in that direction, instead of me saying “I want to do portraits.” I tattooed before I painted, so it made me go back to art and to learn more about portraits and things like that. There is so much information out there on portraiture that’s been done for hundreds of years already. And there are people that have already mastered that. So there is just a lot of learning to be had out there. You can really reach and just find out. So then I started painting and I started meeting painters and taking classes and just really trying to learn more. I’ve been using oils for maybe five or six years now.

Inked: Anything else you would like to add?

Nikko Hurtado:  I’m just grateful for my life pretty much. I get to make art and I’m happy with that. So either it’s tattooing or painting, and I’m grateful, so thanks.






Copro Gallery presents artist Nikko Hurtados’ first solo art exhibition “Renati”. Nikko’s brand new body of work focuses on his talents as a fine artist with works on wood and paper. Nikko has become one of the forerunners in color portraiture tattoo work and has elevated himself into the upper echelons of the tattoo industry to earn himself a number of awards and admirers along the way. This exhibition represents a rebirth and new direction for his artistic skills as a painter and fine artist hence the title Renati which is latin for Reborn.

 Born in 1981 in San Fernando Valley, California where he was raised by both his parents Nikko’s uncles and grandfather all sported their own homemade tattoos. Displaying his artistic talent from an early age, he would draw pictures of cartoon characters and give them to female classmates in an effort to get their attention. From junior high forward he attended art classes in school where he learned to draw professionally and then went on to attend ‘The Art Center of Pasadena’.

 Fortunately for the tattoo industry, a friend of Nikkos’ opened up his own studio and invited Nikko to come and learn how to tattoo, giving him his start in the tattoo business. After a long stint working out of Ignition Tattoo in Apple Valley, Nikko began making plans to open his own studio ‘Black Anchor Collective’ in Hesperia, California which opened its doors in early 2010. 

Nikko ‘s tattoo work is instantly recognizable as his own due to his ability to blend his personal style into every stunningly realistic portrait. Working with portraits of the stars of film and television as well as personal portraits of family and loved ones, he is able to capture that magic that seems to make his tattoos come alive. Using an incredible color palette he can create a perfectly realistic flesh tone for his tattoos and can change the texture of his designs at will. With his talents of creating beautiful art on peoples skin Nikko is using those same artistic skills to create paintings and drawings that will hang on collectors walls. “Renati” will be his first major foray into this field of art so DON’T MISS IT!



Like a bird of paradise, 5 Pointz presides over a bleak stretch of Queens, next to a railyard and between roads that lead deeper into ever bleaker Long Island. But the unexceptional surroundings only make this “Mecca of Graffiti” all the more astounding: five stories of mustard-colored walls entirely covered with what is tactfully known as “aerosol art.

”It’s a modern-day Guernica in Long Island City, as the neighborhood is called, except this art was made not in response to war but to the terror and promise of modern urban life. A black man in a hoodie looms at eye level, rendered in Seurat’s pointillism. You may see a likeness of Biggie Smalls or Van Gogh, samurai and buxom women, all painted by different taggers, all somehow coexisting in this fruitful chaos.

This plein air exhibit of street art is soon coming to an end, though; the building is to be demolished to make way for condominiums. When news of the City Council’s approval of the move came last week, NY’s Gothamistlamented, “Somewhere an empty can of spray paint has rolled into a gutter, dented and rattling no more.

”And somewhere else, maybe right down the block, Banksy is at it. By pure coincidence, the British street artist has chosen October for a month-long residency in New York, putting up one of his graffito (or, occasionally, a performative piece like a truck full of stuffed farm animals driven around the city) somewhere in the city each day. The confluence of the two events — the imminent destruction of 5Pointz and Banksy’s residency — have made graffiti the talk of New York again.


Graffiti is one of those intractable issues, like Middle Eastern politics: Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is right. The debate, which probably began when some Roman scrawled a filthy quip on a Coliseum wall,  still matters in the glass-and-steel New York of 2013, in which there are an estimated 6,000 “public-sector surveillance cameras” that may help in the identification and capture of illegal taggers (and perhaps a few terrorists).

Modern graffiti may have started as a response to urban blight, the emptying of cities in the postwar era and the absence of authority (all that empty wall space, all that free time). In its latest iteration, the form has been mastered by Banksy, a British artist whose real name is not known outside a small circle of associates. He has made a popular film, Exit Through the Gift Shop and his work has sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, much to his chagrin, for Banksy prefers notoriety to fame. “Commercial success is a mark of failure for a graffiti artist,” he told the Village Voice.

And now he has come to New York for a project he calls “Better Out Than In.” Not everyone is pleased, least of all those who remember neighborhoods like the Lower East Side before the Olsen twins started hanging out at Sons of Essex, when unruly beards belonged not to hipsters but to Bowery bums. The Daily News  (where I was once an opinions editor ) welcomed Banksy to New  York by calling him “criminal” and  noting that the city spends some $2 million on graffiti clean-up each year.


But it is hard to argue that Banksy’s stenciled works are purely a nuisance. His first work here,  in Manhattan’s Chinatown, depicted a newsboy standing on the shoulders of another as he grasped for a spray paint can inside a sign that reads “Graffiti Is a Crime.” Later, a delivery truck became a “mobile garden,” in the words of Banksy’s website. That website prominently displays a quote from Cezanne: “All pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as those done outside.” Paul may have been talking about lily ponds and haystacks but, well, point taken

.And while some grouse at graffiti’s recrudescence, many have embraced Banksy’s maverick intention to turn whatever wall he wishes into an exhibit. A Banksy beaver appeared in East New York, a tough stretch of Brooklyn. Hipsters flocked to see the work, and some enterprising locals began charging people to look at it, hiding the beaver behind a cardboard box. That was a brilliant comment on the nature of art, its commodification, its ability to reach the masses. If Banksy didn’t put these guys up to the task, then he’d at least have a good laugh at the expense of the Gagosians of this world. Equally clever was the stall he set up in Central Park “selling 100% authentic original signed Banksy canvases. For $60 each.” The stall was watched over by an old man in a baseball cap, and the first customer bargained him down 50%. Take that, Mary Boone.

But while Banksy is being celebrated, 5Pointz is headed for demolition. The building’s owner, Jerry Wolkoff, has long allowed the graffiti elder statesman Jonathan Cohen — a native of the South Bronx who goes by Meres — to curate a sort of open-air exhibit of graffiti on 5Pointz’s outer walls (the name refers to the city’s five boroughs, as well as to the historic lower Manhattan neighborhood popularized by Gangs of New York). But you can’t just show up with a spray can and a dream; Cohen screens all applicants, making 5Pointz a gorgeously unruly group show. It stands only a couple hundred yards from PS 1, the Museum of Modern Art branch whose generally avant-garde works looks tame in comparison.

5 Pointz is being razed to make way for two buildings containing 1000 units. Wolkoff assures the city that there will be outdoor space for “aerosol art,” and there is no reason not to take him at his word. But graffiti is supposed to be transgressive, its illegality intrinsic to its artistry. Even 5 Pointz was a sort of compromise with authority. To paint graffiti in the shadows of condominium towers will only be more so.


As some struggling cities are being given over to the creative classes (Detroit welcomes hipster farmers and Baltimore dreams of being the next Portland) the artform that defined and was inspired by urban blight is becoming predictably tamed. Across the East River, at the Red Bull Gallery — yes, that Red Bull — in Chelsea, a show called “Write of Passage” opens this month. It is, according to organizer Mass Appeal, “a six-week educational program exploring the impact of American graffiti art on global culture.”  It will likely involve sitting in chairs and viewing slides, not vaulting over fences at Bronx rail yards to cover slumbering trains in tags.

The program is headed by Sacha Jenkins, a graffiti artist from Queens who recently told the New York Postthat Banksy’s tear across the city had not left him impressed: “I think with your blue-collar [graffiti artist], there’s not much respect for Banksy, because it’s not akin to what real graffiti is. And I’m sure there’s a bit of jealousy about the financial success he’s had.

”Are there still blue-collar taggers out there? Doubtlessly there are, scrawling whatever “real graffiti” may be. But their space is being threatened, while their work, if it is any good, is being commodified. While we may not all love graffiti, we know a marketing opportunity when we see one.



For Holiday 2013 OBEY collaborated with the legendary band Suicidal Tendencies. This year marks the 30th anniversary of their first record and OBEY wanted to put something together that reflected the influence Suicidal has had on Shepard and OBEY. (Make sure to read the text below from Shep on his introduction to the band and how it influenced him). They worked with Mike Muir, the founder of Suicidal Tendencies as well as two of the original artists responsible for the art behind the band. They used Ric Clayton’s work from Possessed To Skate and the original drawings from skateboarder Lance Mountain. The key for OBEY was to pay respect to the original work but put an OBEY twist to them, showing the heritage and legacy that the band and artists have created.





Banksy Takes Over New York City | Inked Magazine


On his walk into our offices this morning Inked staffer Brian Toynes spotted a Banksy piece three blocks from our doors. He alerted the staff and we cleared out en masse to check out the art. We’ve seen his pieces in books, magazines and film and on blogs, but to encounter his cheeky stencil work close-up is a wholly different experience. Firstly it’s like seeing the Mona Lisa or even a celebrity in-person for the first time—of which the latter happens daily in Manhattan—as it is both jarring and you glean a new perspective once someone is out of the 55-square-inch HD box. This week I’ve encountered Christina Hendricks (dammmn), David Wells (taller than I thought), and Marc Murphy (rail thin). Feet from my eyes, the Bansky piece wasn’t as clean as it is on screen. The dog’s legs weren’t crisp and some of the shading inside the animal and fire hydrant were inconsistent.

What does this mean?

Were the photos I’ve previously seen re-touched?

Was Banksy rushed while painting illegally in the City that Never Sleeps?

Was this even a Banksy piece?

The last question echoed in my dome. How do we know this was done by the hand of a guy who only a few know the identity of (like Batman)? What we do (sort of) know is that Banksy is supposed to be stenciling around Gotham this month. New York City graffiti painters/writers/taggers are notorious for protecting their turf/cement so many have surmised that his pieces will be ephemeral, that they will be covered up by local artists swiftly. But what if the the NYC graffiti community decided to put up their own Banksy-type pieces to fuck with the artist?

As I’m processing this information, a photographer from the New York Post is snapping away at a guy walking his dog near the piece. How does this reporter know it is a Banksy? Banksy could be anywhere, he could be one of the guys taking cellphone photos of this piece. He could be the guy with the dog. Was that even David Wells the other day?