From Cali with Love

By Kam Kas (KamiKasi)

March 25th 2017 marked the one year anniversary of Collective Ink Gallery & Tattoo Shop.  In recognition, the Sullen family orchestrated an art show at the Garden Grove location to celebrate the momentous occasion.  ‘From Cali With Love’ was an art exhibit in which over 100 skilled tattoo artists painted a wooden cut out of the map of California.  The exhibit was curated by Big Gus and Niz Carrillo and was attended by family and friends.

Attendees included Sullen’s very own Ryan Smith, skateboard legend Christian Hosoi, Black Flys’ own Moe Sim and Akira Kinoshita, Roman Abrego, Damon Conklin, Sage O’Connell, Matt Jordan, Kevin Johnson of 2nd Floor Food and Drinks and many more.  Some of the tattoo artists participating included Freddy Negrete, Tony Olivas, Bob Tyrrell, Jack Rudy, Goethe, Fonzy (Greaskull), Q, Manuel Valenzuela, Alan Padilla, Josh Puckett and others.

There were many variations and interpretations by different artists.  Some pieces were more of a 3D design with objects glued to the cut out wooden map, while others were paintings either by markers, oil paint, acrylic paint or a combination.  There were high quality pieces everywhere such as the one done by Diana Munoz that utilized leather fabric as the medium, as well as Maya Quezada’s art which included amethyst rock and quartz crystals.  Goethe’s artwork included a replica of an indigenous skull he had purchased in an Aztec burial ground along with Obsidian rock, a volcanic glass rock, shaped into arrowheads.  According to Goethe, he purchased the burial plot in Mexico and the skull belonged to a young Aztec boy.  In addition, Tattooland’s very own Jack Rudy entered a piece which was reminiscent of his black and grey roots while at the same time paying tribute to his mentor, Good Time Charlie Cartwright.  It was a burnt wood piece which was Jack Rudy’s first attempt at such artwork.

The Sullen family which now ranks internationally in thousands in hundreds of countries, enjoyed a night of collaboration and celebration as attendees were wined and dined with complimentary food and drinks.  An art show in California and about California is not complete unless there is a street taco vendor around, and Collective Ink Gallery spared no expense to provide the attendees with just that.  There was even a Cali-shaped cake and rose shaped cupcakes produced by the very talented Danny Gonzalez from French’s Bakery.  A truly unforgettable night went on till hours past midnight.  The artwork was auctioned online as enthusiasts bid and purchased the unique artwork by their favorite artists.

Sullen Art Collective is a clothing company and promotional brand created by Jeremy Hanna and Ryan Smith and established in 2001 in Huntington Beach, California.  Sullen is heavily influenced by the Southern California beach culture and tattoo-inspired art.  They utilize the artistic interpretations of some of the world’s most incredible tattoo artists to design both men and women’s attire.  If you are into the edgy universe of tattooing, you probably know Sullen well and appreciate their hard work.  Art is the interpretation of the soul and Sullen has found an avenue to expand artistic freedom and ink immortality throughout the world.  Their “only hope is that the consumers are just as inspired by what they like to call TRUE ART.”

Collective Ink Gallery was opened on March 19, 2016 by Big Gus.  Big Gus was born and raised in the streets of Los Angeles.  He began tattooing professionally at age 22 and has become world renowned for his specialty — black and grey photorealism.  His celebrity clientele have included football players, motocross riders, rock stars and rappers while he was in his former Southern California tattoo studio, Art Junkies.  He is better known in popular culture for his Spike TV’s reality show, Tattoo Nightmares.  His new and successful venture is the Collective Ink Gallery & Tattoo Shop which has produced some of the better caliber of tattoos ever seen on the West coast.  It is located in the heart of Orange County, California in the city of Garden Grove.  Some of the artists that work at the shop include Niz Carrillo, Goethe, Bob Tyrrell, Gypsy Rose, Mike Morales, Big Rich and Tattoo Mike.  The shop is a modern day art studio as well as a tattoo house where artists express themselves in many forms.  There are statues as well as many painting adorning the walls.  One cannot help but to be inspired upon entering thru the front door.

Although separate from each other, the two entities collaborate as a close-knit family.  According to  they strive to bring “together like minded creatives and aid in the exposure of talented artists located all over the globe.”  It is a blessing to have the opportunity to witness fine tattoo work and fantastic art up close and personal. Thank God for Sullen!  May many years of success and prosperity follow for both Collective Ink and Sullen family.

Photos courtesy of Sara Vohsing

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