Recently, I received the book Deviled Art: Sketches and Paintings by Travis Franklin for review. This isn’t a tattoo book like I have reviewed recently but rather contains artwork and sketches by tattoo artist Travis Franklin.
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You won’t find any photos of tattoos within this book, it is strictly a traditional art book but that doesn’t mean the appeal for body modification enthusiasts is non-existent. The artwork is focused mainly on darker images, skulls, skeletons and zombies and much of Travis’ work is the design product that would then be used to create a tattoo.
One thing that sets this book apart and makes it more than a simple sketchbook is the fact that the book includes notes and thoughts by the artist. The font for the text is meant to look like hand writing and the effect is one I really like as it feels like I have been allowed to glimpse deeper into the artist, his method and the things that motivate him.
While the book might have benefited from an editor to eliminate the few grammatical errors, it certainly is not lacking in interesting artwork. This is definitely not a book of flash art but rather a journey through a tattoo artist’s process both on and off the page.
While the paintings certainly speak to the artist’s talent, for me the sketches are even more enjoyable as they show the hesitation, the thought and the process of realizing a piece of art. It seems quite common for people to believe that a tattoo artist merely copies a design from a piece of flash onto someone’s skin. This book reminds us that a tattoo artist is just that, an artist.
As far as I can tell the only current way to purchase this book is directly from the artist through his website, travisfranklin.com. The book retails at $40 and is hardcover printed on high quality paper meaning this book will hold up to repeated viewing.
Travis Franklin has been tattooing professionally for just under 20 years and credits Tattoo Charlie for letting him in the industry at age 17. He works out of his shop, Oddity Tattoo Studio & Art Gallery in Sarasota, Florida.
Editors: Tammy Zeitler Zeitler, Travis Franklin
Illustrated by: Travis Franklin
Contributors: Brittany Helmer, Travis Franklin
Hardcover: 124 pages
Publisher: Poor Mel, 2011