Who could forget the “Bohemian Rhapsody” sing-along in Wayne’s World or when Scar threw Mufasa off that cliff? Just like a tattoo, a good scene can stick with you for a lifetime. Tattooer and avid pop culture connoisseur, Lucas Reubelt recognized this similarity between body art and popular entertainment and fused the two together, creating what he calls “pop culture collages.”
In these pieces, Reubelt combines memorable imagery and cultural touchstones to capture the spirit of films, TV series, cartoons, comic books, and more. His designs have an electric glow, giving them a retro aesthetic reminiscent of graphics from/skateboard decks of the ‘80s and ‘90s. His work is concentrated neon nostalgia with a daring attitude.
Like most tattooists, Reubelt cut his teeth on traditional flash designs after landing an apprenticeship when he was shortly out of high school, but his passion for pop culture inevitably spilled over into his work. “I love pop culture, and I think other people do, too, they just don't want to admit it sometimes,” Reubelt says. “There are so many movies or shows that you'll watch to the point you have every line memorized.So in my mind that seems like it might make for a great tattoo. It’s not like you're going to wake up one day and no longer be all about it."
The energy of Reubelt’s Warholesque compositions reflect his frenetic creative process. “I go through scenes and movie posters and grab a handful of ideas, and then just overlay and resize and put something together,” explains Reubelt. “My work area at home looks like a disaster afterwards: I still hand draw everything so I end up with tons of scribbles and rough drafts.” His portfolio looks like a tornado ripped through the pop-cultural lexicon, leaving a jumbled assortment of celebrities and iconic imagery in its path. Because of the way he goes about creating them, his tattoos are almost like assemblage art — distilled remixes of cult classics and other fan favorites.
You can catch hints of contemporary art such as Patrick Nagel’s pop portraits, Jim Phillips’ rock and roll drawings, and Sam Kieth’s comic book illustrations in Reubelt’s style, but his collages are also inspired by another one of his greatest passions. “Skateboarding is a huge part of my life, and it's another huge influence in my art, especially when I was younger, but as I got into tattooing maybe not so much,” says Reubelt. “Then again maybe some of those ‘80s and ‘90s graphics, with the bold line work and bright colors, crept in.” Each of Reubelt’s pieces — with their Alien Workshop meets Toy Machine vibe — look as if they could be riding on the bottom of a deck. He’s even recently branched out into doing some designs for Assault Skateboards.
To put it in a nutshell, Reubelt has taken the montage and turned it into a still image through his use of collage. By boiling down films, cartoons, comics, etc. into their most iconic components and then reassembling them in such a striking way, he creates tattoo tributes that would make Wayne and Garth say, “Schwing!"
To see more of Reubelt’s pop culture collages, hit up his Instagram. Should you want a shoutout to your favorite movie, show, or whatever else your fanatical heart desires, have him create a homage for you.