Surreal, Trippy Work by the Indelible David Cote

Surreal, Trippy Work by the Indelible David Cote

Cote is known for his brightly colored tattoos that defy norms and boggle the mind.

David Cote, otherwise known as David Peyote, is known for his genre-breaking tattoos. Inspired by the likes of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte, Cote's tattoos are bold, bright, and incredibly eye-catching. Cote has a tight use of black, utilizing it as an anchor in all of his work. This gives every tattoo a dark quality, but the content isn't always moody. Often, the darker tones give way to glowing iconography and gleaming uses of color, rendering his work with an overall hopeful feel. 


Cote's creations appear if they have sprung right out of our craziest dreams, and it turns out there is a very solid reason for that. "I feel like my creativity is more active just before going to bed, so I either keep a sketchbook next to my bed to sketch it or I just write it down when I'm tired," Cote told Redditors during an AMA. "I am a lucid dreamer so a lot of my ideas come to me when I'm dreaming."

Cote's work looks like the sort of art that Kurt Vonnegut would commission for a reprint of Cat's Cradle. Our eyes have plenty of places to move, as Cote guides us intentionally through each piece. His compositions play with our sense of space and depth, which is a feat for working on skin rather than a huge canvas.


Cote packs color in very heavily, and his use of light and dark creates a glowing effect. His style is incredibly painterly; his tattoos often look like he grabbed a paintbrush and actually applied acrylic to his clients. 

Moons cast shadows, rivers run orange, and stars disappear into fading, rainbow doorways. Even his landscapes have an otherworldly feel to them, but all seem to come from the same world. Cote has his own tattoo language, and the rules of the language apply across the board, even to his more straight-forward imagery.

Cote's Instagram is its own trippy ride. He also has an online store, if you wanted to put his art on your walls as well.

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