Describing the tattoo you are about to see as “nightmare fuel” would be a gross understatement, but that’s exactly what tattooer Mike Attack was going for. It’s hard to imagine anything more terrifying than a skull — reminiscent of skateboard company Powell-Peralta’s iconic mascot — with spider legs, demonic eyes, a serpent’s tongue, and blood splattered teeth chasing you.
Attack’s work has all of the elements of a classic American Traditional tattoo — strong black lines, high legibility — but his other influences are clearly there. “My style of tattooing is American Traditional, with little influences from ‘80s skateboard graphics, that’s where a lot of my bright colors come from,” Attack explains. “[I’m also influenced by] a lot of that Ed Roth, kinda hot rod art, and a little bit of R. Crumb.”
Living and working in New York City exposes a person to the seedier elements of life. Simply put, there is so much weird shit going on all around you at all times, it can often be a little much to take in. But like his predecessors, Attack uses the strange and unusual as a muse. “Sometimes if I’m drawing a demon head, I’ll look at someone I feel is horribly grotesque on the subway, like a crackhead or something,” Attack says. “I’ll take some of their facial features and just warp it, just take it a step further.”
The result is some hilarious, and mildly upsetting, tattoos that are impossible to forget. Of course, if it wasn’t for Attack’s technical proficiency none of his crazy ideas would translate when placed on skin. Inspired by icons like Ed Hardy, and working among some of the most respected tattooers in the country at both Daredevil Tattoo and Tattooing by Richie, Attack’s skills are on point.