January 27, 2009
Holy Chuck Hustle, Batman! I think we've finally found a few tats that can beat that Brewers + Grateful Dead job we posted last summer. The above tattoos of Mickey Mantle (leg) and Pete Rose (arm) were both done by artist Mike DeVries of MD Tattoo in Northridge, Calif. That's some sweet ink.
I'll be headed out DeVries' way early next month, so perhaps I should block out some time with him. Any suggestions on which mug I should get plastered on one of my pipes?
'Duk: Can you take us through the process of doing both the Rose and Mantle tattoos? Who were they for? How long did each take to complete? Etc?
DeVries: When it comes down to a portrait that is recognizable to everyone you always get a much better reaction, rather than just a portrait of a mom, dad, sister, etc., and when it comes down to famous ball players I am into it for sure.
The Mickey Mantle tattoo was done first on a fellow buddy/tattoo artist Ryan Hadley and the Pete Rose was done on an old buddy from high school, Brian Hickman. He played a lot of ball growing up and he wants to get Nolan Ryan tattoo and possibly some others from that era.
Both tattoos took about 7-8 hours (one sitting) to complete. I think I may have done a hour or two fine tune session on the Pete Rose. The images that I used were just ones that we had found by looking through books. When it comes down to portraits it's best to find a good clear picture and go from there. i like to say better the picture better the tattoo, and when its a nice solid picture to start from it takes alot of the trickiness away.
I'd say that both Ryan and Brian were very pleased with the end result of those pieces they got done ... At least I hope they were.
'Duk: Are you a baseball fan? Did you enjoy doing both tattoos? Are there any ballplayers that you would like — as an artist — the challenge of tattooing on someone?
DeVries: Yes, I am a fan, but nowadays I don't have alot of extra time to watch the games. But as a kid, I had a massive collection of baseball cards and I did play in Little League for about six years. I had a ton of fun with these two tattoos ... like I said, famous portraits are probably my favorite thing to tattoo There are a ton of ballplayers I would love to tattoo and I couldn't even possibly begin to list them alll. Any of the greats would be fantastic.
'Duk: You're obviously a top-notch tattoo artist and a lot of athletes have tattoos. That said, have you done any work on any athletes — baseball players or otherwise?
DeVries: Thanks. I hope that athletes are going to start thinking about their tattoos a little more one day and start putting in some work to find a good artist for the job. It seems like most of them don't have the best tattoos they could have, although I think people are getting more educated on just how good tattoos can look. Not just mine ... there are a lot of artists out there doing great things.
I have tattooed some celebs, like Sylvester Stallone, Donnie Wahlberg and a few famous musicians. As of now, I haven't done any baseball players, though I did tattoo a portrait on Seneca Wallace of the Seattle Seahawks. He was a really cool guy.
* * *
If you have a baseball tattoo you'd like to share with Big League Stew, email it to 'Duk at bigleaguestew AT yahoo com.