Tattooing has always been an accepted art form and many artists are making a name for themselves as artist. There are many artists who also dabble in other art mediums or come from artistic backgrounds. So it seems logical studios of today are incorporating galleries and paper filled flash art walls
The trendy boutique studios of Sydney and the inner city have been reaping the rewards for years and are booked out constantly, so it was great to see the ‘’burbs’’ get their own gallery and Penrith now has its own boutique style studio, Crossbones Gallery.
Studio owners Moony and Vinnie worked locally as tattooists and both had the same dream of breaking away from the usual and wanted something more than just a studio and with the changes to the studio ownership laws the opportunity presented itself and the boys grabbed it with both hands and ran with it.
The boys needed a large premises with space for the studio, a gallery and ample room for a graphic design department, sign writing area and even a barber shop. ‘’We didn’t just want to be a studio, we wanted to make it a clubhouse for artists, a place for people to meet and mingle! That is also why we wanted the gallery area and it’s a place where our tattooists from our studio and others and most importantly local artists display their art and that is why we needed such a large premises. There’s plenty of room for a printing press and room for all the other enterprises, a retail area and to create a hub in for artists in the western suburbs and there wasn’t anything like that in western Sydney’’ - Vinnie.
Just like any other central business district throughout Australia the premises in Penrith were overpriced and came with too many trading restrictions and were far too costly for what they wanted. The boys decided to focus their search on an industrial style unit on the fringe of the city and as luck would have it, were able to secure the ideal premises.
The estate is zoned retail/industrial and the unit acquired by the boys is located on the first level above several retail premises, faces the busy York Road at Jamisontown and is a massive 426sqm with ample space for all the boys’ requirements.
When I first arrived I was taken back by the large verandah that is also part of the floor space and my first thought was the verandah serviced several up stair units and it was only when I walked through the doors that lead to the staircase that lead to the vast expansion which is the floor space that I realized the verandah spanned the length of the studio and was all theirs! As for the boutique styling the boys hit the ball out of the park! The boys wanted to create a (to use their words) ‘’a big art club with a street art, graffiti, graphic, lowbrow punk design’’ and I think that covers everything. ‘’There are places in the city that are the smaller boutique, we wanted a mix boutique with a mix of street and there is nothing like this in the west.’’ Vinnie says and I tend to agree.
The boys unofficially opened just before Christmas back in 2014, but didn’t officially open until the following Easter in 2015. Predominately a tattoo studio the boys decided to focus on the studio to start with and went about getting together a crew of artists and whilst being a relatively young crew they all ooze talent and most come from a tattooing background.
Co owner ‘’Moony” former life as a Fitter & Turner is as far removed from an artist as one could imagine. With ten years behind him now as an artist the man is a true maestro when it comes to a needle. Moony’s favourite styles are realism and appropriately, horror and he derives his inspiration from artists such as Jeff Gogue, Claire Reid and Max Chater.
Moony is also the Studio’s own airbrush artist. Partner in crime Vinnie has been tattooing for five years now and started his working career as a Graphic Designer and Freelance Illustrator. Vinnie draws inspiration from Frank La Natra, Justin Hartman, Ralph McQuarrie and Todd McFarlane. Favourite styles, new skool, cartoon and neo traditional style tattoos.
Mick has been tattooing for the past 13 years and says he takes his inspiration from everywhere and gets his job satisfaction from knowing his art will be with someone for a lifetime. Favourite, style new skool.
Ness is one for the books, a tattooist for the past 12 years, Ness lists one of her hobbies as fire spinning and her first tat was a small heart on her mum (cool mum). Ness as with Vinnie, favourite style is New Skool/ Neo Traditional and draws inspiration from Jimi Litwalk.
Coop, one of those old skool cool dudes has no real favourite style and when not tattooing. Plays with cars, PlayStation and the family, not necessarily in that order and has been tattooing for 10 years. Coops is also the shop’s go to man for any fabrication around the shop or commissioned sculptures.
25-year-old Kiwi, Jessekarh has only been tattooing for a year but was an accomplished Graphic Artist like many of today’s tattooists. Jessekarh enjoys laying down Traditional and Neo Traditional and takes her inspiration from Dave Swambo, Angelique Houtkamp, Jeff Gogue and her colleagues from Crossbones Gallery particularly Moony and Vinnie.
Ness, shop piercer started her working life as a veterinary nurse so I guess she is used to being around needles and gets her job satisfaction from ‘’making people look good and shiny’. Weapon of choice ‘’10g needle blade’’.
No studio is a studio without an apprentice and Crossbones’ is skater boy Joshwa.
Josh is not only a talented Graphic Designer, he is also the studio’s signwriter. When it comes to style he to is a Neo Traditionalist and lists his favourite tattooist and inspiration as Emily Rose Murray and Filthy Tattoo’s.
Moony and Vinnie’s vision for the studio was to be a tattoo studio foremost whilst being as versatile as possible and have visions of starting a clothing label and everyone to have their own little sideline explore other artistic avenues.
Bookings are recommended but you can try your luck and walk in or if you just want to come in and check the studio and maybe buy something from the designer clothing lines all are welcome!
Crossbones Gallery is located at shop 18/49-51 York Road, Jamisontown