Driving through the hills of Southern Oregon you might get a chance to visit Off the Map Tattoo in Grant Pass, which houses the contemporary tattoo artist, Jeff Gogue. It was through conversations with Alt Tattooed Model, Angie Walls and her amazing chest piece that excited us to reach out and learn more about Gogue’s large scale techniques, body suits and his start in tattooing, “As He Sees It”.
Greeted by his talented younger daughter and assistant Bird, we were quickly welcomed and felt right at home in the tall ceiling, Zen like atmosphere. Oil paintings of skulls and easels fill the foyer while bonzi trees and machines – build walls around the sectioned artist spaces. Jeff soon guides us back to his area where he points at a picture on the wall of his back piece from tattoo artist Shige at Yellow Blaze tattoo in Yokohama, Japan. As we sit down to talk more, he explains the process of creating large scale designs and pieces that fill large portions of the body, changing a person as a whole. He states that “it is an experience of a whole being that is put into a tattoo for a complete look.” This makes sense, as we continue to see this more of this in the industry among tattoo artists. Essentially we are walking canvases, so a complete piece – just like that of a painting, becomes artwork on our moving walls – aka skin.
Jeff Gogue started tattooing 15 years ago at Gut level tattooing in Northern, California. Studying and drawing his whole life, he has become a strong self taught artist and globally recognized in the tattoo industry. Influenced by the Renaissance, we see a fusion of Contemporary Japanese and Art Nouveau – defining his style and techniques as an artist. His love for the arts has taken him around the world, helped build his Unicycle brand and create instructional DVDs – “tattoo as i see it”.
This film was years in the making. I share my perspective, values, and experience of my tattoo career, and my life as a tattooer and a tattooed person. I have taught a seminar for about five years that has been distilled down over time to what I believe to be my own personal defining principles that make me who I am, and my work stand out from others. The message seems simple at first glance but profound points surface the more you watch it. Like a good music album, with multiple viewings, I would hope new things will arise and reveal themselves to leave a lasting impression on your life.
I have learned so much in my fourteen years of tattooing and the last five years of teaching that watching this film I am humbled and inspired myself to reach for higher ground both personally and professionally.
My intention for this video is to inspire the professional tattooer to elevate their own efforts and for the collector to understand the relationship between artist and client. All of this, I would hope, would collectively move tattooing further into maturity and empowerment.
Filmed & Directed by Ryan Moon