We spent a hot minute with Scott Campbell before WHOLE GLORY at Art Basel.



A Hot Minute With Scott Campbell

Though Scott Campbell’s WHOLE GLORY concept involves a wall separating him from each of his subjects, the intimacy of the art of the tattoo is not lost; if anything, it’s amplified. It goes without saying that we’re stoked to host Scott and his installation at the Juxtapoz Clubhouse for Art Basel 2K16 next week…so if you’re there, be sure to add your name to the lottery for a chance to stick your arm through a hole and get a free (albeit blind) tat from the master.

For Scott, it’s all about the pure connection of a tattooer and his canvas, free from distraction and the awkwardness that sometimes comes with being vocal about our feelings in a face-to-face format. He’s all visual, all the time. Read our interview below to get a feel for what makes this artist tick, and what’s in store for WHOLE GLORY round 4.

Round 4 of WHOLE GLORY! You feel warmed up already?

I’ve been tattooing since 1998, if I’m not warmed up yet I never will be.

How has your WHOLE GLORY experience varied from city to city?

Because the dynamic cuts off communication, my experience has been pretty similar in each city. I might hear different accents and languages being mumbled on the other side of the wall, but from where I’m sitting, it’s pretty similar in each town.

From a design standpoint, is there a thread in the tattoos from each city?

I’ve been working with the same vocabulary of images for most of my career: skulls, roses, patterns, etc. We all go through similar highs and lows in our lifetime, and tattoos serve a visceral need to document those experiences and acknowledge them. When people die or fall in love in one city, it doesn’t feel any different than when they die and fall in love in another city; geography is obsolete.

Do you remember every tattoo you’ve given in each city?

I’ve been a visual artist for most of my life, and I think all the other parts of my brain have become pretty atrophied at this point. I remember every drawing I do, but I can’t tell you what I ate for breakfast.

Tattooing seems like a very intimate experience–how is the WHOLE GLORY intimacy different than the intimacy experienced with your clients?

There is still a connection because I am putting my hands on someone, but I think it’s a pure connection because neither one of us has to go through the awkward process of putting our feelings into words.

If you had to take WHOLE GLORY to another city, which would be next?

I miss my family, I want to go home.

Photo by Zlatko Batistich.

Stay tuned to Milk for more Art Basel news.

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