This is the first part in a series dedicated to showcasing local tattoo artists and shops whom actively push the art of our industry forward. We plan to showcase different artists who actively further the tattoo scene of our area, one quality tattoo at a time.
This month we highlight the tattoo work of JR Linton, owner of Ink and Pistons Tattoo Shop and Slushbox Art Gallery, in West Palm Beach, FL. A master at nearly any style, he paints and hosts themed art shows each month at his shop. Asked about his love for tattooing and his passion for art " I worked for a comic book company in the mid 90s. I was a graphic artist but
often filled in as a backup artist if something was late or needed to be inked, colored or drawn that couldn’t be sent out to one of our regular artists.
After that he worked in tech as a web developer and designer for about 15 years. But started apprenticing around 2004 and quickly went full time as a tattoo artist and opened Ink and Pistons Tattoo shop in 2012.
JR's shop is divided into two halves, the front where tattooing is done (with its noticeable absence of flash), all tattoos done by Ink and Pistons are custom and one-of-a-kind. Individually created for each client by every artist, each tattoo from start to finish is truly a custom piece of body art.
With award-winning artists who cover the spectrum from painting and airbrushing to tattooing any style from traditional, new school, portraiture, realism, black and gray or full color, anything you can imagine Ink and Pistons Tattoo shop can achieve.
JR not only has a reputation for turning out top quality tattooing regardless of style, but also is a driving force in the South Florida "lowbrow" art scene. The back half of his shop is home to their art gallery, the 2,500 sq ft Slushbox. It hosts themed art shows each month with submissions by some of the best artists from from South Florida and beyond. If you wish to attend a show, or want to see a selection of what the next themed show will be, visit the Slushbox website at http://slushbox.com/ for examples.
The Slushbox is self-described as "a lowbrow and Kustom Kulture art gallery bringing you the freshest of emerging talent and established artists, they attract new, contemporary, lowbrow, and kustom kulture artists from South Florida and the rest of the country," the quality of work is staggering, these shows always have some truly amazing artwork from the area's most gifted artisans.
These art shows are free for the public and help drive the West Palm Beach tattoo scene by encouraging artists to engage in a little friendly competition by showing their art skills in painting, airbrushing and even sculpting. Each submission is themed for the show, and they are always a hit, with whole families in attendance, even the children. The quality of work even attracts local gallery owners, in hopes of finding a gem amongst the art that adorns the walls.
With his background in computers and animation, when asked JR replies he "loves the symbolism and traditions of the Japanese style. It’s a style that truly makes the artist account for the natural curves and contours of the human body. I’m not sure what clicked to make Japanese my go-to style. I have always had a fondness for Japanese culture through anime and manga. But the more I learned about the tattooing style, mythology and method the more I wanted to do it. There are so many interesting things that can be done with Japanese tattoos, it’s not all dragons and Kois! There are hundreds of demons, samurai warriors and various monsters. I’ll spend hours poring through old books of woodblock prints for inspiration and direction. I’ve made 4 trips to Japan and getting ready to go again this year just to immerse myself further in the lore and culture".
If you want to learn more about Ink and Pistons or attend their next art show, check out their website www.inkandpistons.com and see the quality of work found in this shop.
If you are more into traditional wall art than tattoos, attend one of their monthly themed art shows in the Slushbox art gallery. Even better, try and attend one of their hotrod-themed shows, as it brings out some amazing artwork, gorgeous cars and an always-friendly crowd of easily a few hundred people. When asked about his inspiration for the Slushbox Art Gallery, JR had this to say "I love both painting and tattooing, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. I don’t know if I could say I prefer one over the other. Painting is a little more private and self-serving while tattooing is working with someone else’s expectations and ideas. As much freedom as I do get tattooing, it’s still a commercial art at the end of the day."
If you are in the West Palm Beach area, stop in, check out his beautiful shop, and say hello to JR and the super talented crew at Ink and Pistons Tattoo.