Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Scott Campbell at OHWOW opening Thursday 5/23


Left to right: Paperma, 2013 / 409, 2013 / Woodscraps, 2013 | All images courtesy of the artist and OHWOW, Los Angeles

Scott Campbell, fine artist and tattoo artist extraordinaire, returns to Los Angeles next Thursday (May 23rd) with a new body of work collectively titled Things Get Better at OHWOW on N. La Cienega Blvd. The exhibition will present a series of monochromatic watercolors depicting curious makeshift tattooing devices.

Campbell’s inspiration for the series was spurred by time he spent documenting prison tattoo culture in Mexico City several years back. Denied access to professional tattooing guns (and obviously wishing to surpass the old prick-yourself-repeatedly-with-a-sharp-object-and-rub-ashes-into-the-cuts method), the inmates there utilized accessible objects such as toothbrushes, guitar strings, and electric razors with ingenuity to create makeshift yet functional tattoo guns.


Campbell considered that creativity is often manifested out of limiting parameters; that resourcefulness is born out of restriction. He decided to create an homage to the inmates’ dexterity by creating his own makeshift apparatuses on paper using the limiting, permanent technique of monochrome watercolor. The official press release from OHWOW reminds us of the dedication of his choice of craft:

“This laborious and unforgiving artistic practice requires focus – once a stroke is painted, it cannot not be changed, hidden, or erased.”

Campbell’s devices are painted not only with tip-of-the-needle-sharp detail and clarity, but with an elegant restraint. His work has acted as a vanguard to a more academic, elevated generation of fine artist / tattoo artist hybrids (a notable example is L.A.’s own Shay Bredimus, whose delicate monochrome work shows up at both Koplin Del Rio gallery and Outer Limits tattoo). Things Get Better is a contemplative show with a subtle sense of joy in creation and a jarringly exquisite appreciation of technique.

Things Get Better
May 23, 2013 – June 22, 2013
Opening reception: May 23rd, 2013 | 7 – 9pm
Visit for details.

Above image: Love Letter | 2013 | Watercolor on paper | 40″ x 60″ | Image courtesy of the artist and OHWOW, Los Angeles

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