Tattoo Age: Dan Santoro (Part 2/3)

Tattoo Age: Dan Santoro (Part 2/3)


DAN SANTORO: I grew up in
Woodbridge, New Jersey. I was paying for community
college and it wasn’t much, it was like $800 a semester. And to me it was like, what a
waste of my fucking money. So I dropped out and then I
started working as a sign painter for Wegmans in upstate
New York, sort of gourmet grocery store. And they were looking
for someone to do hand painted signs. I had all these countless
amounts of like paint markers and stuff at my disposal. So I would just come in and then
I’d spend the rest of the day drawing friends’ tattoos
too at the time. Like a lot of people were having
friends be like, oh Dan draws, you know like
draw me that tree. BERT KRAK: Well we’ve all
been friends with Dan for a long time. I kind of always knew that
eventually we would work together because he has the same
ideas all of us as far as what a tattoo should
look like. He really enjoys painting
and creating new stuff. We don’t want to keep pulling
the same things out of the same books. But if we take those same
things and repaint them ourselves, well then it kind
of does become a different thing, it becomes our own. I say this is how we keep
our skills sharp. STEVE BOLTZ: You know the flash
at Smith Street, there’s certain shops, aesthetics,
obviously that we’re trying to emulate. The whole idea of it being
crushed in flash is like– and that’s a more old school
approach to a tattoo shop. Well there was a shop in China
called Swallow Tattoo, there’s photos of this guy Swallow. He was a Chinese tattooer
standing in the shop. And I mean everything is covered
in flash, I mean like the front of everything, little
spots, like this little side of the fridge would have
designs all down it, everything was covered
in flash. I just think it’s such
a good look. I mean obviously you’re
in a tattoo shop, it should look like that. You know what I mean? I think that place is kind of
exactly what we want Smith Street to look like. So that anywhere you turn, you
see a tattoo design, and then are still thinking
about tattoos. Like tattoo heads get it, or
they understand this is hand painted Flash, and that there is
sort of tattooing revival. But like regular people who just
walk into the shop, like I think to them it’s sort
of run of the mill. And actually we get reggies in
there sometimes and say that, like this is all hand painted
by the four of us. And they can’t even wrap
their heads around it. Like what do you mean,
like you painted it? What do you mean
you painted it? Like with a brush and paper,
they can’t even fathom that. DAN SANTORO: This whole wall
at this point is 100% us. Like this set, which actually
turned out to be this entire row, Eli had done
the first three. He had done the parrots, the
eagles, and I think the owl. So he did these little triptychs
of like three different birds. And then Steve kind of followed
his lead I think first, if I’m not mistaken. Right? So then he did like these sets
of pin-ups, and then I followed him, and then
Burt, and so on. I did the roses, Burt did
the geishas, and Eli did crosses, and so on. And then eventually it was like,
oh we might as well just do the whole row. If you were actually here to see
how much we talk and argue about where sheets going to
go, it’s just stupid. And then it will last like that
for a week until someone does another sheet, and then
everybody sits on the couch, stares at the wall and says,
All right what’s going in next, or where is this one
going, or whatever. ELI QUINTERS: I don’t know of
any other shops in New York that do all their own stuff. Aaron Coleman I know in Arizona,
that shop’s all their own hand-painted stuff. And I think Black Heart has
recently done a bunch of flash for their shop as well. But I mean it’s a pretty
rare thing really. And it’s kind of funny when you
think about it, you know it’s been so advantageous
for us to have it. And it’s been so fun to do it,
it’s really worked out. But not a lot of people do it. It’s one of those things. Tattooing goes through those
stages, sort of coming out of real big custom lonely stage. Or it’s getting back into people
who are realizing they can pick something off the
wall and if somebody does happen to have the same design
it doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad. You now what I mean? Like certain designs
are just classic. STEVE BOLTZ: Oh I have to
have something custom. You know if it’s on the wall
then it’s very common and everybody has that. I want something
that’s unique. But let’s face it, the most
unique tattoos are always the ones that suck the most. The best tattoos are the ones
you’ve seen a million times. There’s strength in that
crawling panther because you know it. Whether you have tattoos or
ever been in a tattoo shop that has power, I
think that it’s recognizeability, it’s iconic. I think it’s up to the tattoo
artist to save the customer from themselves. In other words, like when I
first got into tattoos and I knew nothing about them,
I thought the ugliest shit was so cool. People come in and they
want something bad. It’s kind of our job to say,
hey, you know what, like, we can give you something better,
or every other teenage girl comes in asking for that
tattoo, are you sure you want that. ELI QUINTERS: You have to sort
of educate or otherwise you just come off like a dick. You’re just like, no, you got
to tell them why the design won’t work. You’ve got to explain to
them what looks better. A lot of the customer’s hold on
to it and they think about it, and they apply that
to their next tattoo. BERT KRAK: I think we want for
our customers to stay focused on what they see and hear. I don’t really think there’s one
design in here that any of us would be upset
with tattooing. Well actually there’s one design
that we all hate in the shop, Dan loves it. That band design. STEVE BOLTZ: It can be a little
confusing and a little bit overwhelming to a reggie to
come in there and see all that flash. And then a lot of it looking
very classic and then yes, there’s like a sheet painted
on cardboard. There’s sheets in there and
designs in there, that obviously we think are amazing,
that are very foxy, very simple, and clunky,
or whatever. And Dan’s sheets are good
examples of that. He does some really
experimental– he manages to stay very
traditional and very by the book, but just completely off
the wall at the same time in imagery that you might not
necessarily see on every tattoo sheet. ELI QUINTERS: And he gets a
little more creative with it, their very unique, and very
clever, and very like well thought out. He’s got one design,
the great mother. It’s like a crystal with a
little person inside of it, and it’s so weird,
I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere. But it’s so smart, you know what
I mean, the way he used color in it, the way some of the
color doesn’t go all the way up to the lines. Dan’s much more studied in
the folk arts then I am. He really enjoys folk
art all across the board, most cultures. So I think he really knows how
to make tattoo flash look like that, look like very genuine
like folk art. STEVE BOLTZ: We all buy
obviously a lot of books and a lot of tattoo related books. And Dan definitely brings in
books that we don’t expect, that have great imagery in
them, that are not tattoo related all. And I think also it’s
like he’s sort of searching those sources. Obviously the recycled imagery
we love and is powerful. But we’re also always
constantly looking for one new design. DAN SANTORO: I’d really like
to talk about this. This is a drawing from the
little Korean woman at the local bodega. She draws these things on the
sides of cigarette cartons. I just think they’re super cool,
like this little old Korean woman that just peddles
cigarettes and like it’s a little piece of outsider art in
Carroll Gardens that a lot of people don’t even
pay attention to. I actually wouldn’t mind turning
that in to a sheet of flash at some point. BERT KRAK: Dan’s process is more
I think where he won’t come to us with it. He’ll start it or finish it
and then present it to us. I think it was last summer he
started doing these really loose super kind of folk art
style paintings, that were totally different for all of us,
none of us had ever really tried to do anything
like that before. And I think he really kind of
blew us all way with that. Just from him doing that it kind
of like helped all of us to do things a little
bit looser. The paper wasn’t even really
watercolor paper, it was just some really weird junk that I
would have never even thought to paint on it. DAN SANTORO: I don’t want to be
too cliche and say, like, I realize that I didn’t really
have to follow rules. But yeah, once I painted on
cardboard I think everybody at the shop was kind of like why
are you wasting your time. Because this is something you
do when you’re on the phone, but you don’t spend eight hours
on a painting of it. So I did it and everybody was
like, wow that actually looks really cool. I’m also really influenced
by old game boards. Really naively painted game
boards that were something that people just would’ve
done at home. This one is– I love the birds, than I was
just thinking about Sweetheart of the Rodeo. So it just kind of has like a
lot of the themes that I think go with real Americana
painting. It’s funny because tattooing
kind of desensitizes you to anything other than painting
for the sake of painting. You know what I mean? So a lot of these things are
just all the things that give me a certain feeling. STEVE BOLTZ: How sick
are those things? Really off the wall. But so cool, right? He doesn’t really like let them
hang around or show you, he does them and then
he takes them home. They’re awesome, they’re
so different. And I think that you could
probably see those somewhere out of context and not even
think about tattoos, or that a tattooer did them.

94 thoughts on “Tattoo Age: Dan Santoro (Part 2/3)

  1. Is anyone else disagreeing with almost everything they are saying? In every episode?
    I'm not saying they are bad just… I dunno.

  2. 1:38 said he wants to copy people…last tattoo age was actually good. this one sucks n all his work looks like ed hardy which is stupid

  3. I really don't get why I like this style so much. The drawings them self seem so simple, but the use of color and space makes them look so good!

  4. Well folks today we have some small YouTube comment skirmishes between multiple gangs but mainly nothing to interesting. Oh but what's that? A jab at someone's IQ? Ooh original! Well remember, subscribe for more YouTube comment fights.

  5. you're not giving constructive criticism. Tattoo age is for people who appreciate tattoo's. Comments should be about the content of the video itself not the subject matter. It's like when a metalhead criticizes pop. apples and oranges.

  6. I never thought I would say this about tattoo artists but these guys are almost anti-art. They get mad because people want an original fucking tattoo. FFS I would'nt care at all for tattoos if it wasn't for their uniqueness. I certainly don't understand people who look at a book and say "yea, this is EXACTLY what I want". "The best tattoos are the ones you've seen a million times" ARE YOU FUCKING BRAIN DEAD?

  7. Watching part 3 of this is going to take everything I have. It kills me to watch this and just how far these guys went to kill any trace of originality or artistic value in their tattoos. As a music producer I imagine this being the equivalent of horrible radio music. Just bland and generic, but mostly insulting for those who actually try hard to create proper content.

  8. For some reason even my brain can't comprehend, someone flagged this as spam. What you just said is basically what I would've hoped to hear from these dudes. Quality over originality makes sense the way you explain it. I know they're from NY and apparently people are very straight forward, their almost but not quite rude. Sort of like me lol Maybe it has something to do with the way they explain things?

  9. Maybe it does have something to do with the way they explain. Artists often have difficulty explaining how or what they do to people.

  10. I hate that cartoonish looking tattoo crap. Looks like stuff I would have drawn in a notebook in high school during class.

  11. RedRose tattoo…Schiedam holland you will find the same kind of guy and those pretty much the same drawings too..he would fit right in there with those other guys word

  12. Those paintings at the end are completely awesome. I would love to buy one and put it up on the wall. What a talent.

  13. Don't take my reply as a hate reply. But think about it this way.. people love old classic cars instead of getting the newer model cars. Same with tattoos these kinda style tattoos are the one traditional american tattoos. I know you know this and that this is your opinion but to some these tattoos are the "classic cars" of their category. But i do love other styles like realism! Love that also!! Nikko Hurtado is the best in colored portraits 🙂

  14. read what I wrote again. you really didn't give any counterarguments. criticism is ok, but it should be about the "content of the video itself, not the subject matter. It's like when a metalhead criticizes folk music. apples and oranges. " I wasn't trying to antagonize, but merely trying to inform you why people disagree with you and why what you're doing is in bad taste.

  15. These guys have great work but their attitude and professionalism is terrible. Since the first video they have cracked jokes about ruining tattoos, talking customers out of the design they came to get and the flash on the walls had misspelled words. I mean…seriously???

  16. Why anyone would choose to have some random piece of flash they picked out of a book permanently inked onto their body is beyond me. Be original. Be an individual!

    *Gets a Salvador Dali piece reproduced exactly on their arm.

    Originality, people!

  17. I was trying to keep on board until the 'the most original tattoos are the worst' bit. Yeah, ok, whatever you say then. You have fun in your box, there.

  18. You commenters don't know shit about tattoos tattooing and being a tattooer. It's like hearing people telling race car drivers how to drive. Stupid.

  19. to everyone bitching about flash being meaningless and unoriginal: shut up. first off, tattoos don't NEED to have meaning. obviously, if they do that's great, but it's also cool if you get a tattoo because you think its pretty or you just like the style of it or you're trying to collect from different artists. in its simplest form, a tattoo is just a piece of art that you keep on your skin, so what's wrong with just wanting a pretty one that you picked off a wall? second, flash doesn't necessarily mean 'meaningless' anyway, since i'm sure there are plenty of people who are already looking for those types of designs for personal reasons. seeing flash art of a design could just solidify that meaning for you. finally, damn. their flash is fucking amazing. definitely want to get something done by them.

  20. OK the dude spelled "Wierd Pig" I would fucking slap him silly if he ever spelled something wrong on me & I dont ant to hear it's spelled rong on purpose because that is BULLSHIT WEIRD is spelled W E I R D , dont ink that on some poor fool .

  21. Whats people opinion on having multiple styles of tattoos eg the classic American style tattoos and then the Japanese styles on another part of the body. Does that normally look strange or what? Cheers for any input

  22. This is video is a bullshit tactic to keep a dying rt style alive in a growing industry… give it up people…"original designs are the worst"? LMFAO

  23. I love how one dude was like ''yeah we just copy it out of the book but because we hand copied it its new'' weak excuse for tattoo artists. They just do whatever they want too much ego in that shop

  24. ''Every teenage girl comes in to get that tattoo'' and the scene before ''the tattoo you've seen a thousand times is gonna be good its got strength''

  25. steve boltz is so damn right, toy customers everywhere, they don't know shit about tattoo they just fucking download a picture and take that to tattoo artist and say: hey, change this a little bit and make it different. Shut the fuck up and get out here suckers.

  26. The educational stuff they talk about is brilliant. "Sometimes you have to save a client from themselves." Very very very true.

  27. I really don't see the talent here its like a shop from the 80s.and they're justifications suck balls. 4 guys doing the same shitty tatts day in day out!

  28. Also they're hygiene leaves a lot to the imagination and the no comfort folding chairs. They've invested fuck all in customer comfort!

  29. Apparently everyone in the comments are professional art critics. You all probably have shit tattoos or No tattoos

  30. Short story time.
    When you were talking about talking to your customers about why designs won't work, my artist (and mentor) is so good about talking to people about that. He let me know why my original chest piece idea wouldn't work the way I wanted it to, I went home and thought up something new. Came back to him with it, and man, his eyes lit the fuck up. I knew immediately he was excited to do this tattoo. That's one of the best moments of my life, seeing him look that excited.
    We started it yesterday.
    See it on Instagram @jessicasdumbtart if you'd like.

  31. i appreciate these guys art and skills, its definitely its own style and the colors are beautifully done, but i feel when they are saying they have to stop someone from getting a custom tattoo, its really because thats not their strong point and the tattoo will only come out bad not so much because its not a good tattoo idea, but because of their inability to properly execute it…so they want to stick with the style and lines they know they are capable of doing…

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