Journey to Camelot with Houston Patton

Journey to Camelot with Houston Patton

This artist's blackwork tattoos of castles will transport you to a fantasy world.

Houston Patton, aka Thieves of Tower, is a prolific artist who makes astounding pen and ink illustrations, blackwork tattoos, and other visual art. One thing is true for all of his work: it is clearly heavily influenced by European medieval and Renaissance art. Though all of his illustrations are awesome, one motif in particular sticks out — his castles. 

His depictions of these ancient strongholds are absolutely magical. Looking at them is like stepping into a fairy tale or a story about King Arthur and his knights. So, with haste, have your squire ready your faithful steed and don your suit of shining armor, for we are about lower the drawbridge and set forth on a epic quest through the mythical world of Patton's exquisite and elaborate tattoos.

Patton's tattoos resemble medieval woodcuts and engravings with their bold linework and gothic subject matter. This signature aesthetic makes his work standout from the crowd of other practitioners of ornate and intricate illustrative blackwork. They way he uses hatching to give his castles and their surrounding landscapes such definitive shape is amazing. 

It's simply mind-blowing how he can create such rich imagery with only lines and a few silhouettes. The way that these structure's spires bloom out of incredibly detailed foundations — rising above their dark passageways and striated buttresses — fills them with a sense of grandeur as well as majesty. Simply put, each one of his castles are fit for a king or queen for that matter.

Patton's skill as a blackwork tattooist calls out like a trumpet from the high walls of these architectural pieces of body art. When working in such a solid style of tattooing, precision is everything, and the fact that his castles are so elaborate yet flawless attests to the level of attention that he devotes to each of them. Every single one has such a multitude of tiny lines that they must be painstaking to illustrate. Thus, their overall exquisiteness exemplifies his stamina as well as rigor as a tattooist. 

Patton's perfectionism comes across most clearly in his castles that are split between some of his client's extremities like the undersides of their forearms or the backs of their calves. The symmetry of these tattoos is brought into sharp focus because of their division, and as you can see, the reflections are virtually perfect.

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A beautiful castle on one of Houston Patton's client's thighs (IG—ttowerempire). #blackwork #crescent moon #castle #HoustonPatton

If you want to be enchanted by more of Patton's blackwork masterpieces, journey over to his Instagram, which is filled with tons of beautiful castle-themed artwork. He works out of 2Spirit Tattoo, a private studio in the Santa Monica Mountains, and can be reached via email at Lastly, he has a website where you can purchase some of his designer clothing as well, so check it out and maybe get some of his Renaissance inspired swag.  

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