One thing that’s very intriguing to me, is that regardless of the large quantity of people involved in realism tattoos, there are actually solely a small handful of collectors who’ve full, *high quality* black and gray protection.
One in every of these few goes by the title of Monte, and though his assortment itself is acknowledged worldwide, most individuals nonetheless don’t know all an excessive amount of about him as a result of he’s fully off the grid and extremely mysterious.
On this article, I received the possibility to speak to the legendary Robert Pho about his prized and totally devoted collector Monte who has one of many absolute biggest bodysuits in the whole recreation in my humble opinion.
Right here we talked about quite a lot of topics, together with the bond between an artist and a devoted consumer, difficulties when designing a full bodysuit, insightful recommendation for people wanting to acquire a top-notch assortment, and different specifics in regards to the mysterious Monte who has taken dwelling a numerous quantity of awards for his physique mural by Robert Pho.
I hope you guys benefit from the learn.
How typically had been you tattooing Monty? What number of hours and what number of periods?
As soon as per week for 2 and a half years straight. I discussed to him that I used to be booked out about 6 months upfront and he didn’t need to wait. He requested to get in sooner. I had solely someday off per week at the moment which was on Sundays. So I defined to him the one option to get in sooner is that if I booked you on my solely time without work. He supplied to make it value my whereas. I talked it over with the wifey and he or she gave me the inexperienced gentle to do it. And from that second on, I booked each sundays of the week for him till we accomplished it. I had no days off for 2 and a half years in addition to holidays, birthdays, and so on…
Why do you assume Monty decides to be so off the grid?
I’m unsure. He’s a busy man. And really non-public. You gotta respect that. Not everybody needs to Share or put their enterprise out to the world like that. Loopy to assume although proper? Folks would die to have a physique swimsuit like his and have the ability to share that with the world.
What challenge would you say you’re most happy with in Monty’s assortment? My private favourite a part of it’s his again piece.
Oh God. There are such a lot of on him it’s arduous to select only one. The gangster leg I’ll all the time get pleasure from probably the most. That leg was all the time a giant hit on social media and at expos.
How a lot of Monty’s bodysuit was free reign? Or did he determine on plenty of the imagery himself?
I’d say majority of his bodysuit was free reign. Once we did his household leg, he gave me 5 pictures to make use of for that leg however that was it. Every part else was primarily based on a theme of what he favored. He needed a gangster theme for his different leg. Then for his arms he needed a clown theme and a Greek mythology theme. And the remainder I got here up with and ran with it. The structure and designing was all as much as me. That’s as free reign as might be for an artist.
Are you able to inform me a bit of about among the most memorable conversations you had with Monty, if something stands out to you? Are you able to speak a bit of bit about who he’s, in the event you really feel snug?
From what I do know of Monte he was a really shy, quiet however personable man. I do know he was very well-to-do man by the way in which he dressed and carried himself. I knew he had served time and had a tough childhood rising up. He had one brother who received killed and one other brother who’s serving life with out parole through which I tattooed each of their portraits on him. I do know he’s a household man. He’s additionally a businessman and had all types of companies.
We turned good associates through the years and did a number of issues collectively. However total he’s a person of some phrases.
On January 2017 I used to be engaged on a consumer at my store. We had visitor artists Kore Flatmo and Ricardo Avila over tattooing as effectively. We had been all having a bbq and grilling at the back of the store and I get a textual content from Monte out of nowhere and he sends me 4 footage of his 4 first place trophies from Golden State Expo in Pasadena Ca. I used to be so shocked. I didn’t even know he had attended trigger I wasnt capable of go. He needed to shock me and he did. However wow it was such a humble feeling that he had gained all first locations within the black and gray classes. That was very memorable for me.
Describe to me what you have got witnessed so far as Monty going to conventions. What individuals have mentioned, the appears he’s gotten, feedback you’ve heard, and so on.
The very first thing I all the time discover is that he’s stopped by each one to see his physique swimsuit. Folks would carry different individuals to come back over and have a look at it. Folks take footage of his work the whole day. Seeing peoples faces once they see it first hand for the primary time in awe and disbelief. In admiration. Makes me really feel very humble. I’ve seen and heard collectors ask if he was going to enter? And if he’s, that they’re not gonna trouble coming into in opposition to him. Lol. I’ve additionally witnessed enormous well-known collectors lose in opposition to him whine and complain to judges simply being sore losers. I’ve seen haters simply hating on him.
In my view Monty has one of many best possible bodysuits the world has ever seen. Do you assume one other collector of yours will obtain a swimsuit near pretty much as good as his? Describe to me a bit of bit about how troublesome it’s to perform what you and Monty have performed collectively.
I respect that a lot and it means quite a bit coming from a collector as your self. I’m engaged on a number of bodysuits proper now. It’s arduous to check as a result of they’re all very completely different. Just like the swimsuit i used to be engaged on on my brother. It’s good too however completely different from Monte’s. It is extremely difficult and troublesome when creating these bodysuits as a result of it takes a imaginative and prescient. In fact discovering the correct references and planing on the way to mesh and mix to make all of it circulate. And the dedication and focus you need to spend. Can’t lose monitor. It’s def not simple. However I’ve plans on engaged on tasks as akin to his bodysuit. It’s within the works now.
High 3 greatest items of recommendation for different collectors/artists hoping to attain a bodysuit as lovely as Monty’s?
- Have a imaginative and prescient by planning all of it out and spend plenty of time researching for the correct references, concepts, and so on…What are you going to do this’s completely different than different artists?
- Focus and Grind. All the time give 100% of your focus and work on it till it’s performed. If someday you slack with design, dimension, placement, or technical, it should present. It’s simple to lose focus. Keep targeted.
- Be Constant. Tools, ink, provides modifications on a regular basis. The longer you wait to work on it, it might not look the identical. So it’s essential to complete as quickly as you are able to do it.
What had been the highest 3 classes you and he discovered alongside the way in which throughout the bodysuit journey?
- Not tattooing at expos. To not say it’s not the factor to do however for me, I can solely be in my zone and focus greatest once I’m on my own in a much less busy atmosphere. I’ve a number of errors when tattooing him at expos. You simply lose focus and the strain is insane.
- Give your self some room. A variety of instances we needed to cease too early or didn’t come to an ideal stopping level as a result of he must go away at sure instances each session to catch his flight on that very same day. So plenty of instances we needed to rush the session. Give your self time. Don’t fly out on the identical day of your tattoo. Final thing we need to do is really feel rushed.
- Get your outdated tattoos eliminated earlier than getting tattooed. When you’ve got outdated tattoos that may should be coated up, be sure to laser take away it first to get it gentle sufficient earlier than getting tattooed and provides it sufficient time to heal. Monte would laser take away different elements of his outdated tattoos proper after each session with me. And each laser session would take about an hour as a result of he had a lot to take away. That’s simply plenty of ache to cope with in a single session. And bear in mind this man’s physique by no means received to heal for 2 and a half years as a result of he got here in as soon as per week.
Are you able to speak a bit of bit in regards to the bond you and Monty established through the years, as artist and consumer…What does that relationship really feel prefer to you, and might you speak in regards to the significance for the artists and collectors sake of constructing that rapport collectively and why that’s useful for the general finish purpose.
For me as an artist it is vitally necessary to have the absolute best relationship with my purchasers. It’s not simply doing a tattoo. We naturally type some kind of bond. The bond that me and Monte established over the course of two and a half years working collectively is unbreakable. The respect and appreciation we’ve for each other is one thing particular. Regardless that we each have our busy schedules we nonetheless be in contact and once we see one another it’s all the time a blast speaking tales and taking a look at his artwork that I created.
What would you say are a number of of probably the most troublesome features of designing a whole physique swimsuit?
Essentially the most troublesome job for me when designing a physique swimsuit is once I cope with coverups. Happily for us we’ve a laser removing machine that helps lighten the outdated tattoos. But it surely was particularly arduous in Monte’s case as a result of I wasn’t capable of design the whole factor suddenly due to the outdated tattoo. Regardless that I knew I used to be going to cowl up all of his older tattoos, I nonetheless needed to watch for him to complete together with his laser removing to ensure that me to see the ultimate canvas earlier than I began designing the coverup. Does that make sense? I needed to design all the pieces in numerous periods each time the canvas was able to go.
While you have a look at different collectors bodysuit, what are a number of of the issues that you simply really feel are most necessary as a way to contemplate it a top-notch assortment like Monty’s?
Once I have a look at a collector’s bodysuit. It’s often a collage of artwork. The tattoo world is used to that. There may be nothing unsuitable with that. It’s your physique and viewers should respect it. But when I needed to say what would make it much more top-notch is the design circulate and mixing of the paintings. But it surely’s virtually unattainable to do that as a result of each artists work is completely different. What I’d counsel for the following stage collector to do, is to select your entire artists that you simply wish to accumulate from. Have all of them be concerned within the designing technique of the bodysuit after which one after the other get your tattoo performed by every of the artists. This fashion it should all be pre-planned, and you should have a physique swimsuit that’s high notch as the tip end result with not solely the technical features from the artists however the design and circulate now have an interesting look and will probably be extra soothing for the viewers eyes.
Thanks to anybody who took the time to learn/view this text, hope you loved.
Additionally an enormous thanks to Robert for his time. Be sure you comply with him on Instagram @robert_pho and @skindesigntattoos.