Mike Rubendall is an internationally renowned artist and entrepreneur, as well as the founder of Kings Avenue Tattoo. Mike has over twenty years of experience in the tattoo industry and has received over fifty international awards for his work. Mike’s work has been featured in hundreds of publications and magazines, as well as being featured in several documentaries and television shows.
Mike’s career started in the early 1990s. Mike’s passion for art started as a child, when he would draw endlessly at his mother’s kitchen table in Massapequa, New York. At age seventeen, that passion brought him to Da Vinci Tattoo, where he served an extensive apprenticeship under owner Frank Romano. Mike continued honing his skills from 1995 to 2005, splitting time between Da Vinci Tattoo on Long Island and the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Mike’s breakthrough moment came when the legendary Filip Leu tattooed him in 1997. It was during his marathon sessions in Switzerland that Mike began to see what was possible in the realm of tattoos. It was also during this time that Mike befriended world-class Danish tattoo artist Henning Jorgensen. Together, they set out to bring attention to the industry’s leading artists and take the industry to the next level. They did this by starting a tattoo print manufacturing company in 2003, which produced high-end quality scanning and printing of original artwork from some of the best tattooers in the industry. They would later sell the company in 2012 to pursue other endeavors.
In 2005, Mike opened Kings Avenue Tattoo in his hometown of Massapequa, NY. Starting with only him and two other artists, the shop’s fame quickly spread globally. He soon opened a second location in 2011 in Manhattan to meet the increasing demand for tattoo collectors and enthusiasts who travel from all over the world. Kings Avenue Tattoo currently employs thirteen industry-leading artists. Their mission is to blend equal parts of the past and the future of tattooing and want their work to depict strong historical connections combined with unique approaches. Mike’s vision is to collectively strive to advance the art form and create one of kind tattoos designed to suit each individual.
Although immensely skilled and well versed in all styles, Mike is especially sought after for his highly stylized renditions of traditional Japanese Irezumi. Mike has always been struck by the beauty, simplicity, and powerful imagery of Japanese iconography. He constantly expands the boundaries of this style. Mike spends countless hours researching, designing, and drawing his custom pieces for clients before he even touches the client’s skin. For Mike, the client and creating the perfect tattoo for that client come first before anything else. Based on a high demand for Mike and his brand, he has had the opportunity to travel the world extensively to further his artistic and cultural vocabulary as well as fulfilling the needs of an ever-expanding worldwide clientele. It is Mike’s dedication to his craft and the end result that have clients waiting for well over two years to sit in his chair.
Mike’s mastery has exposed him to the public eye. In 2007, Mike was featured on one of TLC’s first tattoo series that showcased the world’s top tattoo artists. That same year, New York Magazine ranked Mike one of the top tattoo artists in New York City. Mike was a featured artist in the 2011 documentary Skin, a project from Garage Magazine. He appeared in the documentary alongside Damien Hurst, Jeff Koons, and Raymond Pettibon. In 2012, Mike was prominently featured in Vice Magazine’s original documentary series Tattoo Age. Mike was also featured in 2014 by The Huffington Post as one of the 15 tattoo artists to follow on Instagram. In 2014/15, Mike was interviewed by HEY MAGAZINE: Modern Art & Pop Culture in France, appearing in a twelve-page spread in issue #19. The magazine features a wide variety of artwork from some of the top artists around the world. Mike has also appeared as a guest judge in seasons two, five, and six of Spike TV’s highly rated program Ink Master. Mike uses these platforms to educate the general public and shed a positive light on the tattoo community that has given so much to him. Mike will have the pleasure of collaborating with Hublot and Sang Bleu during this year’s Art Basel Miami at the Hublot Galerie Boutique for a live tattooing Pop-Up.
Mike’s talent and work ethic led him to collaborate in 2012 with lifestyle brand New Era, which debuted Mike’s line of branded hats that, corresponded with his Vice documentary. This was a limited hat sold by New Era featuring Mike’s artwork. Shortly after he was chosen to be the exclusive spokesperson for a line of Stetson brand hats. His extensive knowledge and expertise earned him the distinction of guest editor/cover feature in 2013 for Freshly Inked, an industry leading publication. He also broke barriers between tattooing and the fine art world in 2014 as a featured artist in the Tattoo Life Magazine exhibit, Time: Tattoo Art Today in London’s Somerset House, where his original painting “Mother Pelican” was displayed. In April 2015, Kings Avenue Tattoo hosted Pictures of the Gone World, Ed Hardy’s return to the Bowery. This was an unprecedented and historical three-day event.
In addition, Mike’s most recent ventures include him and fellow artist Matt Beckerich. They recently started their own publishing company called NeverSleep Publishing. Their first release, set for Winter 2017, will be Tattooing’s Guide to Symbolism: Cor Mysterium, a tattoo encyclopedia featuring almost two hundred of the world’s leading artists. In collaboration with Kings Avenue Tattoo and NeverSleep Publishing Mike has partnered up with the New York Historical Society and they will be running a 3-month exhibit on the history of tattooing in New York City. Also in 2017 Mike and fellow artists, Henning Jorgensen and Pierre Chapelan will be opening Lucky’s Europe a new branch off the mother company Lucky’s USA. The aim is to provide the industry with the best possible tools to continue to better the craft.
Works in Long Island:
Monday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday
Works in Manhattan: