Jesus Pieces has been painting sheets of flash for three years. And entering his home to visit and chat, there was no indication he’s interested in stopping anytime soon. Seriously. Throughout our entire visit, he was poised and focused intently on his work, while we maneuvered around and prodded him with questions.
He sticks to classic designs from tattoo history. Anything from hard-as-nails dragons and panthers to playful pigs and Wile E. Coyotes. “I wanted to be a cartoonist growing up. I fucking loved the Looney Tunes! And that stuff is what I find the most fun to draw.”
Other than Saturday morning cartoons and the anime he grew up on – Bleach, Naruto, and Dragon Ball Z – he draws inspiration from legendary tattooers. Bert Grimm, Rosie Camanga, and Mike Malone were a few names thrown around.
He’s open to sharing tips with other budding painters – what supplies to use, how to achieve a certain look, where to find designs. “I feel that I struggled through learning all this shit and I wanna pay forward by helping those I see who have that same dedication and passion I have. I’m not insecure about competition. Regardless of what I show or teach someone, the time I’ve put in will always outweigh the ‘how’.”
And it’s evident. His three-year old Instagram displays only paintings. No works in progress. No family. No day-to-day shenanigans. Paintings. “Your audience is here to see your work, not your life. Take pride in your brand and display a finished product.”
He has stacks of finished paintings. “My plan is to finish 3 sheets a week for the next few weeks.” His commitment to the craft perpetuates the traditions of iconic tattooers. Banging out dozens of designs daily – he’s proving not only to others, but also to himself – that tattooing is the path for him. Tattooing is not a simple task. Hunched over every day – dealing with stiffs, flakes, and squares – permanently altering their organs to earn your honest keep.
None of his work is hung in his home. “After one to two weeks, I’m sick of looking at it.” He hopes to hone his distinct style over time, and works on custom pieces sporadically, but realizes the difficulty in standing out amongst others.
“With the abundance of tattooers and painters doing [traditional] style, standing out in any way is fairly difficult. So, for me – at least this early in my overall understanding and skill of the art – my style is always changing and developing. Hopefully over time I’ll find my way. Every painting is a learning process, even if I’ve painted that particular design 100 times. It always changes a bit, so I figure the more I paint, the better I’ll get.”
We think he’s killing it. Check for yourself.
You can find him painting sheets at Arizona Classic Tattoo Co. They’ve got him running aux cord duties…and we’ve gotta say…the man’s got eclectic taste. Here’s some of the heat he’s been throwing in the shop: