Career expressions for alumni artist

By Nicholas Linares |Staff Writer|

CSUSB alumni Grant Sutton, a local Southern California resident is living the creative life with his full-time career as a respected traditional tattoo artist.

In his booth at Empire Tattoo, Sutton has several mediums of art displayed for the public.

One of these pieces is a burnt paper with a scenery weapon from Rob Zombies movie, Halloween.

On the burnt paper is a large cleaver depicting the house that Michael Myers grew up in, the clown mask he wore as a child, a revolver and a pumpkin.

“I was really upset when my wife accidentally knocked over a beer onto the painting right after I had just finished painting the blood,” stated Sutton. “But when it dried I saw the effect the beer had on the red paint and I thought it looked even better.”

A unique mixed media piece that stands tall in Sutton’s booth is an old longboard from his earlier teenage years.

He had repurposed the board as a canvas and painted a cosmic pinup girl, an inspiration from the traditional martini glass girl seen in many American traditional tattoos.

Sutton found himself attracted to the traditional style of tattooing because of the rich history and bold lines displayed on canvas and flesh.

Behind Sutton’s chair on the western wall of his booth lays a wood frame with a large painting of an owl. With accents of red and yellow, the orange and bold black lines give depth to the owl as its wings expand and raise its claws for an attack.

“That is one of my favorite pieces,” said Sutton. “I painted that while I was doing a guest spot at Chapter X Tattoo in Orange County.”

Many new and old school nuances can be seen in Sutton’s work. He respects the methods to the traditional style, yet he has his own creative new school touch to every piece.

The owl painting alone took him approximately five hours to complete and was still not up to his high standards of perfection.

“This was the first time I had ever painted something with water color of this size,” Sutton explained. “It has some hiccups, like most water color paintings do.”

Since graduating in 2013, Sutton has now fully enveloped himself in the tattoo world, making special guest appearances at Premium Tattoo in Oakland and traveling all around the country for tattoo conventions such as the Body Art Expo and Musink.

“I make clothing, merchandise, art and do some design work for other people as well,” Sutton said. “But tattooing is definitely my full time means of living.”

While holding his degree in graphic design, Sutton is able to integrate some of the newest technology and features it into the creation of his art.

As new art and new tattoos are produced daily, there are no signs of stopping for this creative rocker.

Sutton can be found in Southern California at Empire Tattoo in Redlands or King Blaze Tattoo in Calimesa.

Because according to Sutton “If it’s bold, it will hold!”


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