A Week in Tattoo Art: @__dispencer__

By no means experts in the ancient tradition of tattooage, we have never-the-less selected some of our favorite artists working with the medium at the moment. This week, we highlight a handful of the many talents making work at the intersection of visual art and body modification. Check back daily to see tattoo and flash works from artists turning their untraditional designs into eternal mementos.


Where are you from and what do you do?

My name is Spencer Rhoades, from Chicago IL. I just about graduated from college with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and I give handpoke tattoos.

How did you get into tattoo art?

During some weary times in my life, I started getting tattooed by a bunch of home artists. I was searching for something that had a deeper meaning to me. These artist showed so much passion and love for their work. Being young and uncertain, I learned that no one truly has it all figured out, that we make it up as we go. I wanted to do something different from everything I had previously tried, and tattooing is the one that stuck.  

What was your first tattoo?

My first tattoo was an open window on my thigh. It opens up into a colorful nebula. It was me kinda saying to myself that everything is out there, and stay open to it all.

Do you tattoo your own body? If yes, what tattoos have you given yourself?

Tattooing yourself is one of the most important aspects of being an artist. Putting your designs on yourself for life is an amazing feeling. I have given myself 10 as of now, to name a few: a weird little chair was my first, a wiggly pinwheel, colorful ”tender” with a patch of seaweed, and an abstract, freehand chest piece.

Do you have or have you given any tattoos you regret?

I don’t have any tattoos on myself that I would regret, each tattoo I’ve received came at a point in my life that was documented in those moments and images. Love each and every one of them. As well I don’t regret any tattoos I have given, each design that has been done has been drawn through my own hands and interpretations of various concepts, I love that about this art form.


What is it about tattooing that appeals over other forms of visual art?

Having someone trust me and desire for me to place an image on their body forever is truly incredible. To feel so confident that the tattoo will come out exactly as desired is amazing.

Do you consider your work to be political?

I would not consider my work to be political, most of them can be left up to interpretations from each individual who experiences the piece.

Are there any themes you work with regularly?

Since I have started, a few different themes have come up in my style of drawing. Abstract pieces have always been a big part. Recently I have been working with wonky animals like cranes and fish, as well as realistic interpretations of fish.

Are there any artists or movements now or in the history of tattooing that inspire you?

Many of the reasons I started tattooing comes from the movement that is occurring now. Home artists, getting away from the shop lifestyle and getting inked by talented individuals who draw what they love. They crafted their own style, this art formed from their own hands and imagination and that to me is amazing, teaching yourself a craft and exploring it. Many of these artist include @magictatty, @framacho, @dirtyl00ks, @tenderboy, @bonechance,  and way too many more, this movement of artists is incredible.

What is your most meaningful tattoo?

My most meaningful tattoo is the one I did myself on my chest. It was done on my one year anniversary of tattooing and was the first freehand I have put on myself as well as the largest tattoo I have given myself. Drawn on with Sharpie in the moment, it comes from my sternum and billows out over my chest and nipple. I wanted to do something fun and painful, to remember that it is all out of love, and that I truly love my art and tattooing. Not an easy tattoo to give myself and as well at a little anniversary party, but it was such an incredible time with people I truly cherish.


See our full Week in Tattoo Art here :)