“1,000 Pieces of Original Art”
Tattooer and Artist Thom DeVita to stage Bowery
exhibit featuring five decades of artwork
(Newburgh, NY) Today, the 81-year-old tattooer and artist Thom
DeVita announced that on January 10th, 11th, and 12th, he will
participate in “Odd Art,” his second solo art show and sale at
Kings Ave Tattoo in New York City. Within the increasingly diverse
tattoo community, DeVita is consistently held up as an innovator,
responsible for bridging the gap between tattooing’s military- and
biker-influenced “old school” and its stylistically all-encompassing
present iteration. On display for the first time ever will be some
of his earliest known paintings: three watercolor and ink drawings
dating from the late 1950s.
DeVita was born and raised in East Harlem, and began tattooing on
the Lower East Side in 1961, the same year that the New York City
Health Department banned the practice city-wide. He worked illegally
for four decades, receiving customers in a converted apartment on a
drug-ridden block deep in Alphabet City. In 1991, he relocated to
Newburgh, New York, just six years before the tattoo ban was lifted.
In 2003, DeVita stopped tattooing professionally, shifting his focus
to what he calls “creative rubbings”—acetate tattoo stencils placed
under thin paper and rubbed over with a dry medium. Borrowing from
the visual chaos of his urban upbringing, the kinetic execution of
mid-century painters like Willem De Kooning and Franz Kline, and the
simple, iconographic style of American tattooing, DeVita continues
to apply his designs to any surface that will take pigment—including
the floorboards of his Victorian home—enabling the show’s claim that
there will be “1,000 pieces of original art” for sale.
He’ll also be showing some of his most unusual work: the original
pieces of “flash,” painted in the 1970s, that hung on the walls of
his studio, illustrating for his clients the types of designs he
could apply. Traditionally, tattoo parlors display this imagery in
the manner of an art gallery—framed, and printed on archival paper—
but DeVita’s prized flash was painted on wooden slats salvaged from
discarded fruit crates.
This will be DeVita’s second show at Kings Ave. (His first show,
in January of 2013, was his first ever in New York City, and the
artist sold a total of 85 pieces to fellow tattoo artists and art
enthusiasts alike.) The tattooers Scott Harrison of Portland, OR,
and Bubba Reeves of Los Angeles, CA, will be accepting walk-in
tattoo appointments during the show. The show was organized by Chris
Grosso, a video producer at Vice, who profiled DeVita in several
episodes of the online channel’s “Tattoo Age” series.
Kings Ave Tattoo
188 Bowery, Second Floor
New York City
January 10th, 12 - 9 PM
and January 11th and 12th, 10:30am to 9pm
Curator: Chris Grosso
Links and further reading:
“Tattoo Age” with Thom DeVita
Thom DeVita’s online catalog
Essay by artist Nick Bubash
Last weekend was a fantastic one for all of us at Kings Avenue Tattoo. This was one of the best times we have had since opening the new Kings Avenue on The Bowery in N.Y.C. Being able to bring a New York Legend back to the city where he made it all happen. The city where Thom introduced folk art into tattooing. So many great artists have followed in this man's tradition and so many came out to show him the gratitude and appreciation he has so deserved. So many names it is impossible to mention you all but we could not have done it with out you all. You have made this event a truly special one. If we can thank one person, we need to mention Chris Grosso. Thank you so much for all of your hard work and for making this happen for Thom and us. You helped to create a very special event for a one of a kind artist and man.
It was great seeing dear friends like Scott Harrison and Oliver Peck
"no custom designs" this is a rare sight
only for CIV
What an absolute honor to have the legends of New York, Thom deVita and Tony Polito
in our house
The place was booming all weekend long. Old friends, new friends, great artists and wonderful clients all under the same roof.
It was also the perfect weekend to welcome our good friend Chris Odonnell to the Kings Avenue team. He will be taking appointments for the Manhattan shop. For info on how to set up, please email Chris directly at firstname.lastname@example.org We are so happy to have him with us and cant wait to see the beautiful work he creates.
Thank you to Thom deVita and all of our friends, family, clients, artists, and art lovers for coming out. You made a very special weekend for us all at Kings Avenue Tattoo, and we look forward to bringing you many more events like this in the near future. Keep following us to be kept up to date on all the new and exciting goings on at Kings Avenue Tattoo
Check out the new epsiode of Vice TV's Tattoo Age featuring artist Thom DeVita.
Thom DeVita began tattooing in the late 60s in New York's Lower East Side, when the practice was illegal. He quickly began to forge his own styles, drawing influence from Puebla Indian designs to Lord and Taylor shopping bags. In this episode, we hear from Ed Hardy, photographer Clayton Patterson, Nick Bubash, Scott Harrison, John Wyatt, Angelo Scotto, Bubba Reeves, Robert Ryan, and more, as we unfold Thom DeVita's epic story.
Be sure to check out the trailer for Tattoo Age Season 2.
We were fortunate enough to be part of Season 1 with Kings Ave's own Mike Rubendall.
Don't miss checking out this informative and well put together program, featuring some of the best in the tattooing industry.
This season will feature Valerie Vargas on Sep 12.
We were lucky to have been able to work with Valerie in April when she did a guest spot with us at Kings Avenue NYC and besides being one hell of a nice person, her tattoos are absolutely stunning. So be sure to check out her premier on Sep 12
Also this season of Tattoo Age is Mutsuo on Oct 10, a tattooer from Osaka Japan known for doing flawless tattoos in almost every style.
The season ends on Nov 10 with legendary tattoo artist Thom deVita who tattooed in New York City in the 60's when tattooing was illegal in all five boroughs and created one of the most unique styles of all time.
So don't miss season 2 it's a great show with another fantastic line up