The Bold Blackwork Of Ben Volt

Xavier in Tattoo Artists

You're in for some heavy, calculated, and bold blackwork with Ben Volt's solid tattoo designs.

Photo by Ben Volt
Photo by Ben Volt

Abstract and geometric. Conceptual and bold. Electric. Dynamic and kinetic. Angular and futuristic while being influenced by vintage graphic design. Those are the words blackwork tattooist Ben Volt used to describe his work.

And as for his moniker, Ben explains, “I like everything to have a sense of movement and electricity, hence the name Volt.”

Awesome blackwork tattoo
Awesome blackwork tattoo
By Ben Volt
By Ben Volt
Bold blackwork sleeve
Bold blackwork sleeve

Ben currently tattoos at Scholar Tattoo in San Francisco.

Recent from Tattoo Artists

Tattoo artist in action
Tattoo artist in action

“I find inspiration everywhere,” says Ben. “Patterns, archetypes, and symbols. Anything from indigenous tribal tattoos and cultures around the world. Art deco, Modernism, Bauhaus, Dada, the Avant-Garde, etc. Vintage band t-shirts and treasures from dusty thrift stores. Midcentury design aesthetics. Op-Art. Classic one color crust punk graphics. Retro futuristic movies. Anything that is bold and powerful and evokes some sort of movement or emotion. Vibe.”

“I’m interested in making art as timeless as these influences,” he adds.

Timeless backpiece
Timeless backpiece
Dynamic and bold packpiece
Dynamic and bold packpiece
Awesome!
Awesome!

Ben's father was an engineer who made circuit boards and complex electrical structures. Given the nature of his father's work, Ben grew up surrounded by computers, geometric pieces, diodes, and different sorts of random computer parts. He became drawn to anything that has something to do with precision. These were the things that first sparked the young Ben's interest in conceptual designs.

Blackwork by Ben Volt
Blackwork by Ben Volt
Bold blackwork
Bold blackwork

Aside from the contraptions of his old man, Ben was also exposed to sci-fi movies, weird cartoons, and f-cked up humor as a kid. “[They were] a bit dark and esoteric. I guess that has kind of seeped into my style today,” he says.

Blackwork backpiece
Blackwork backpiece
Blackwork by Ben Volt
Blackwork by Ben Volt
By Ben Volt
By Ben Volt

A product of the 1990’s music scene, Ben was heavily influenced by alternative genres of music such as old school hardcore, goth, industrial, shoegaze and heavy guitar-laden stuff. Ben also played and toured with emo bands then, involving him further with the music scene.

“Listening to these kinds of loud, strange, conceptual and noisy records taught me yet another level of abstraction that also strongly translated and informed my art,” he says.

Blackwork sidepiece
Blackwork sidepiece
Hyperrealistic piece
Hyperrealistic piece
Blackwork backpiece
Blackwork backpiece

Conceptual. I see things differently. When I make something I always want to do it in a way that you’ve never seen it done before. I get bored and am not interested in rehashing the same ideas over and over again. It’s not an artistic victory for me to do something that has already been done. I want to always push to a new place, even if it’s not widely received or easy for the viewer.

Ben's signature style was derived from his desire to create things in a way people don't often get to see. He's not one for hyperrealism.

Bold blackwork
Bold blackwork
By Ben Volt
By Ben Volt
Deer blackwork tattoo
Deer blackwork tattoo

“The freedom to do what you want to do. The fact that everything you create or put energy into is purely for yourself. No bosses. Being able to completely call the shots in your life. Making art, leaving your mark and being connected to people forever.” —Ben Volt on the best thing about being a tattoo artist

Blackwork tattoo
Blackwork tattoo
Blackwork tattoo
Blackwork tattoo
Bold backpiece
Bold backpiece
Blackwork tattoo by Ben Volt
Blackwork tattoo by Ben Volt

And finally, we asked him about something other aspiring tattoo artists would like “It's the hardest thing I've ever learned to do. You have to be a strong person to make it through. You have to really love it. Don't worry about fame or making money. Do what you love, and the rest will come. Also, it is a huge responsibility to people; one that should not be taken lightly.”

Simple blackwork backpiece
Simple blackwork backpiece
Blackwork tattoo
Blackwork tattoo

Ben Volt currently tattoos at Scholar Tattoo in San Francisco. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook. Don't forget to check out his website too.

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

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