These are two Tattooed Leather Coats I created a while back. One was for a client in NYC and the other for a client in Malibu.
a glossy goatskin appliqué
Czech Glass with
Iridescent Purple edges
rendered in Suede on Leather
They had both fallen in love with my original “Dark City” Coat, which I created using several sample skins from an Artisan Tannery in Spain. That coat can be seen in my “Trinity” Collection. The Tiger patterned leather that made up the back panels was a beautifully embossed and hand-painted super fine lamb skin of which my vendor had only 2 small skins. Which I utilized it to the max. But after that, those skins were never to be seen again – no way, no how….
The shape of the coat’s collar was inspired by the coat worn by the character played by Richard O’Brien in the movie “Dark City”. I found the silhouette of that coat so foreboding, formidable, mysterious, powerful, and super evocative. (The imagery in this film is all around incredible and it has a pretty amazing cast as well. I highly recommend it.)
So, the first client who wanted a variation on the coat, works in radio and is very involved in rock n’ roll – generally. She loved the black and white motif I used in a hand-painted jacket from my “Carapace” collection (She ordered one of those too!) And she loved the Dark City Coat. Here, I felt I could really create a classic, by expanding on my “tattoo’ technique in a big way. So for her I created the Spinal tattooed leather coat.
My second client, a couple of years later, having seen the “Spinal Tattoo” coat, requested her own custom variation on the theme. She wanted a Celtic Heart with Wings. Years before, when I first started working in leather I’d done a very, very intricate Celtic Knot or shield appliqué on a man’s vest – I wish I could find a photo. It was a real challenge, and it came out beautifully. So I was all in for this one!
For the Celtic Heart version, instead of a shine/matte contrast between the leathers, I used a deep velvety black suede. This added really wonderful depth and contrasted really nicely with the purple metallic thread I used.
These tattooed leather coats are two of my earlier pieces (these are real archive pieces) that I am most proud of and really loved creating.
The appliqué work involved in these tattooed leather coats is quite intensive. This is true for every large tattooed piece. Because every design is individually created for each garment and completely had drawn, patterned to fit the garment and completely hand-cut. Soft leather like I’ve used in these coats – has to be carefully prepped to prevent any distortion while being worked under the machine. Once cut and precisely placed, all of the stitching is hand guided under the machine. Nothing is computerized.
Not the artwork, not the patterns, not the cutting, not the stitching.
People call me crazy, but I like doing this kind of work. Sadly, while even small production is a way to scale up – and which I would love to do again, one day- it has its attraction to me. But, at this moment, repetitiveness kinda kills me.
Super intricate work like I’ve done on these tattooed leather coats, can all be done with computer aided techniques and on computerized machines but to me, there is a very definite loss of soul and feeling along the way. It’s one thing if you are producing multiples, (mass or not quite mass whichever, it’s not going to happen with these tattooed leather coats!) but it’s an entirely different realm when a piece is individually made for one person only. There is an ineffable, intangible energy that’s inherent in a piece when it is conceived and created for an individual. By an individual- even more so.
Vinyl vs. Digital…