What where some of Sullen’s biggest struggles and hurdles faced in the transition from active apparel to art collective?
We believe that it is better to be really good at one thing rather than kind of good at many things. We were trying to find ourselves the first five years, while the hand-drawn art was right in front of us. Ryan being a tattoo artist for 20 years knew what a protected culture the tattoo community was. He came up through a traditional apprenticeship in the 90s sweeping up cigarette buds and earning his keep. He wanted to make sure we took every single step correctly.
What specifically drew you in – to the black and gray style and continues moving you forward at Sullen Art Collective.
My partner Ryan Smith tattoos in many styles but he has always been drawn more to black and grey. Black and gray is his favorite style of tattooing and he has always felt the most comfortable doing. His style of artwork was also a West Coast style which made it easier to mesh with Nikko and Big Gus when collaborating over the years.
Have you seen a big increase in the development of sales in the past five years since the release of Tattoo related reality shows and the popularity of social media platforms – FB/ INSTAGRAM/ APP’s/ YouTube.sullentv – etc. Have these platforms helped your business and how?
It definitely does not hurt when we have artists like Nikko Hurtado, Freddy Negrete, Jack Rudy, Bob Tyrell, and Big Gus wearing our clothes on all of these tattoo shows. But it also opens up the market for other clothing companies to saturate our field. I hear similar comments from tattooers. Both good and bad come from these TV shows.
Talk to us about Sullen TV – Art Driven Television on YouTube and your goals with this channel as well as film, events – etc.
We are excited to bring you new seasons every quarter. We run them in seasons just like a television program in hopes that the fans will anticipate the following seasons. I cannot tell you the new projects we have with SULLEN TV, but I am very confident that you guys are going to love them.
Sullen’s Spring 2016 collection includes artwork from Fernando De Pavia, Alex Rivera, Alan Padilla, Bullet BG, Marcus Manfredi. Taking the Sullen badge design and creating exciting new renditions with skulls, roses and daggers.
HOUSEINK got to check out Alan Padilla’s “Machine Head” – at the Grand Opening of Black Castle Art Co. in Peoria, Arizona last August 2015 just before Hell City. Alan’s oil painting – Machine Head, combines a skull and tattoo machine – based off a sculpture from Colombian artist Jerome Valbuena.
This past weekend Sullen celebrated the 20th year anniversary of Sublime’s self titled album cover with an artshow and apparel release party curated by Opie Ortiz. You can find more info about their new spring collection, conventions, SullenTV through our links. These designs and additional pieces of the Spring 2016 art collection can be seen and purchased online at Sullen Clothing.