The world of tattooing is growing and changing at an exponential rate with every year. Those trained in the skill of tattooing come from all different walks of life, and they can each claim their own unique connection to art and what inspires them in their craft. Generally, a tattoo artist is versed in several different styles of tattoo art from all over the world- from the beginnings to the current day, and they can also draw something unique for any client request that comes through the door. But just outside the realm of tattooing exists a large and varied sea of fine arts & crafts made by the artists who populate the tattoo industry.
Michael Bellamy, 49, founder & owner of Red Rocket Tattoo has been tattooing for 23 years, and has been producing fine art even longer. Born and spending his formative years in Denver, Colorado, Mike began painting in high school. He found quickly that he didn’t enjoy using the popular medium of acrylic paints for his work and tried his hand at Oil Paints. Oil painting is generally considered a challenging medium but immediately became the sole method for Mike, although he maintains an ongoing learning process with his chosen avenue to this day.
Mike attended community & state schools in Denver studying an array of arts & philosophies before moving to New York city at 23, where he began his Fine Arts degree at Parson’s. After graduating with his BFA in 1992, he worked as a freelance illustrator for several big name brands. Mike began tattooing around 1993, opening his own shop in 1998, but continued his personal artwork all the while. He has traveled all over the world and been featured in many art & tattoo magazines, and curated or participated in over 30 gallery shows.
Nowadays, Mike has a studio space at home where he still paints regularly. He says he’s inspired by other inspired artists, he feels motivated by art that is above the status quo- he’s excited by seeing art that blows him away. Tattooing 4 days a week out of Red Rocket here in Midtown, Manhattan, he’s still creating beautiful paintings in his free time. For quite a while, Mike says he tried to avoid allowing tattoo imagery to influence his personal art. Eventually, he chose to embrace it and has produced a series of paintings inspired by popular tattoo imagery, but in his own painterly style.
A colorful life full of travel, adventure, and knowledge have given Mike a remarkable vision with which he creates stunning pieces of art. Several pieces are on view at Red Rocket, and you can visit his website to see more at www.michaelbellamy.com.
Check back for updates on his upcoming shows, or stop by the shop to speak with him about tattoos.