David Gluck Artist Transitions to Tattooing

by Christina Diaz

Medium: Oil

“Trained Classical Realist Artist turned Tattooist”
Meet David Gluck, a trained classical realist artist to transition into tattooing. Before tattooing, David had shown in galleries internationally and the World Art Museum in Bejing. He’s made appearances in American Art Collector Magazine, Artist’s Magazine, American Artist Magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur, ARC, etc.

Because of David’s painting background, he was quickly approached by Joshua Carlton for a tattoo apprenticeship.  David says, “I noticed a trend starting in the fine art community with more people being attracted to the art of tattooing.  The fine art world is a difficult one, and entails a lot of fame without a lot of financial reward.  It’s simply the economy.  I think the attraction from artists like me has been how far tattooing as developed as an art form.  I also have found an enormous amount of crossover from the traditional way in which I draw over to tattooing. I also had a top notch teacher in Joshua Carlton, which didn’t hurt.”

David has been tattooing now for about 1 year.

David will be doing a “Step by Step” painting in Issue #5 of {E} till then keep reading to learn a little bit more about a man “who just likes to paint cool stuff.”

{E}: Were you artistic as a child?
DG: I always showed talent in art, mostly because I sucked at sports and had to make up for it.  As a child I was a pathological perfectionist.  I was that spastic kid who would rip his construction paper duck up if he thought it wasn’t good enough.

{E}: Are you self-taught or did you attend a trade school?
DG: I credit a lot of my beginning to Kevin Gorges, but I am predominately self-taught.  Being married to another artist who nags me to fix my ellipses like most wives nag you take out the trash has allowed me to continue to evolve.

{E}:  Tell me about your art.
DG: If I wanted to sound artsy, I would say my work is a study of stoicism of character.  The men, women, and objects in my paintings exist in a balance with the elements and are carved in the likeness of the austere environments in which they live.  I like to think that if most beautiful paintings are like gems, then mine are like weathered rocks…Bottom line is I just like to paint cool stuff.

{E}: How long have you been interested in the tattoo culture?
DG: It is very recent.  I was approached by Joshua Carlton for some painting tips which eventually evolved into an apprenticeship.  Before that, I had no idea the capabilities that the medium had and its potential.  Since then I have been exposed to new and exciting subject matter that is intrinsic to tattoo culture.  I will also the say music is way better in tattoo culture than the annoying classical music everyone loves so much in the realist art world.

{E}: What inspires you?
DG: My recent move to the countryside of Vancouver Island has inspired my most recent subject matter of hunters, trappers, aged objects, vanitas, etc.  Being away from the city has enabled me access to new subjects that were otherwise unavailable a year ago.  Although sometimes I just paint to kill time until “Family Guy” comes on.

{E}:  Whom are some of your favorite artists and why?
DG:  Annigoni and Rembrandt are my two favorite artists.  They focus heavily on the emotional content of their sitters, more than just a likeness.  As far as tattoo artists, Joshua Carlton and Mike Gariepy, who mentored me, are both influential in my tattoo work.

{E}:  What do you enjoy most about this profession? Least?
DG: I love painting whatever the heck I want and the credit I receive for it from the art community, but I do hate having to explain to the average person that I’m a fine artist, not a house painter, and yes, I do sell my paintings to earn money and make a living like a grown up.  Now, I simply introduce myself as a tattoo artist and everyone thinks I’m cool for some reason.

{E}: What are your favorite mediums and why?
DG: I love oil paint, but elbow macaroni and glitter have certain visual capabilities that can’t be matched by any other medium.

{E}: What are some of your favorite art tools/supplies and why?
DG: I work very closely with Natural Pigments in California.  They offer genuine traditional mediums, from their line of Rublev oils to oils and mediums.  Their products aren’t for the faint of heart, however.  It takes some know-how to use them right.

{E}: Tell me the first tattoo you performed.
DG: The first tattoo I did was a terrifying experience.  It was an American Traditional Abraham Lincoln I drew up for a very understanding volunteer. I took 3 beta blockers just to hold my hand still.  After some time went by, I was actually able to utilize some of my artistic background when tattooing.

View more of David’s work at www.davidgluckart.com!

David Gluck Artist Transitions to Tattooing