Vivid, saturated, and popping with intense psychedelic tones, Robert Wilden, also known as Deathsure, creates pieces that are wonderfully playful, and beautifully nostalgic. From forest sprites and cute indie kids to pop culture icons like Courage the Cowardly Dog and Lisa Simpson, Deathsure's work is like a treasure trove of colorful curiosity.
Not only is his work truly enjoyable in its purity and playfulness, but Deathsure himself is an embodiment of what is so awesome about the tattoo community. Open, supportive, and absolutely authentic, it was a pleasure to hear from the person behind the portfolio.
First, the most obvious question, how did you get into tattooing? What drew you to it, and was it what you always wanted to do?
I did an apprenticeship. I’m from a very small village with not much variety and diversity. So seeing tattoos on occasion was so interesting and poignant to me. I had no idea how or where you could get these creations. The very thought that you could actually do it as a job was completely unimaginable. I had a lot of obstacles in my pathway before I could start but this probably fueled me more than if it had been easy. In all honesty I cannot tell you what I’m so drawn to it, it’s just been ingrained in me since I can remember. I love the look of them, that you can change your body to look how you want, that you have to endure the pain and fear to gain the new addition. I like getting tattooed, I love talking to people......I just love everything about it, and I always have done. I could talk all day about my love of tattooing. Iv always wanted to be the best at something and as I’m older I realize that is a fleeting venture determined on opinion, I do however love that I can always try and be my best and in tattooing it allows me to push on with evolving.
You do pop culture portraits, cartoon characters, hot babes, abstract faces, and more...can you talk about how your style has evolved over the years? Who are your artists heroes, tattooists or not?
It’s a tricky question to answer because I only really feel like I have started to find and become myself in the last two years even though I’m 30. I've never had much self worth, confidence or trust in myself, so trying to express myself has always been wrong in the past. I actually stopped tattooing for a couple of years and I only really feel like since I started back a year and a bit ago is what is the real me. I was so lost before. I've managed to find myself inwardly and now that is what’s coming outwardly from me. My hero’s are the people who helped put me back together in the rehabs, when I was homeless, when I lost my mind. The people who kept in contact even though it looked like I was gone for good. I have too many people to name and they all know who they are because I stay in touch. As in artists I try not to look at too much as I pick things up subconsciously and I want to try n be authentic to me nowadays. I guess a lot of childhood inspiration is coming out in my work now as I have remembered who I am.
Be open minded and non judgmental...Be patient, be kind...
Do you have a philosophy about tattooing? Art? Life in general?
Don’t get attached to things, objects, possessions, people, dreams etc. Nothing is permanent. Think about your motive behind everything you do, is it for your ego? If so, it’s probably the wrong move. I lived life completely wrong for so many years. I've done two rehab stints, been out to Peru to work with a shaman and ayahuasca........ on top of that many painful losses so I see the world very differently now. With tattooing it’s important to put effort in, always put your best into every tattoo you do, put good energy into the tattoo and the appointment. Be grateful for every tattoo you get to do. In life, try and be conscious about how you interact with people, situations, etc. Be open minded and non judgmental. If someone’s being difficult try and put yourself in their position and be mindful of why they are acting like that. Be patient, be kind and have boundaries.
I love that your IG profile proudly proclaims “80’s prince”. Can you explain why you are so attracted to the aesthetics of the 80’s? Why do you think that style has come back into the modern age?
Well, I was born in the 80s. I love the music, culture and art. I've always been attracted to it; I’m drawn to it more than any other time period. To be honest, I just put it up as thought it was funny to be ironic and put such an ego fueled statement. It’s just a bad joke to myself. I imagine it’s come back into the modern age as everything does right? Everything gets recycled. To me it never left 😉
What do you love about the tattoo community, particularly in the UK? Can you imagine doing anything else for the rest of your life?
I don’t know, I wouldn’t say I’m part of it really. I know a few tattooers and I really like talking to them. They are all super talented. I’d like to be more part of it, I’m not long back to tattooing so maybe in the future I’ll get to find out what I love about it. Yes, I can imagine doing lots of different things. My energy is in tattooing, however I’m open to the universe steering me in the right direction when the time is right. I have a lot more to offer and I feel this year if I get willing customers I aim to take my creations up a level.
work hard and don't give up, life throws difficult challenges but the beauty in fighting back is you become stronger within...
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? What is the best advice you can give?
What’s your motive? That’s the best advice I got given, I apply that with most decisions I make now, it helps clarify why I want to do things and potential outcomes. I would say just work hard and don't give up, life throws difficult challenges but the beauty in fighting back is you become stronger within and gain greater understanding. It’s the whole point in life right?
Can you please tell us a bit about your super cute dog, and what you do on your days off/vacations?
Haha, my little baby Haze, she’s who everyone wants to see really. She’s a rescue, she came into my life when I needed her. She’s a huge part of my new life and I love her to bits. Me and her pretty much spend all day everyday together except when I do guest spots, we definitely have a strong bond. She’s quite sassy and independent but she very sweet and kind. She’s very patient and well behaved (nowadays after lots of hard work 🧘🏼 ♂️) She cracks me up everyday because she’s a little weirdo. I got her not too long after starting back tattooing again. I volunteer at a rehab, I got to the gym a lot, I have a few other things I’m starting this year. Basically just exploring who I am and what I enjoy nowadays.
If you could only read one book, listen to one album, and eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be?
That’s so hard to answer. I love so many books. It would have to be ‘Post Office’ by Bukowski. Album would have to be ‘Freaky Styley’ or ‘Mother’s Milk’ by The RHCP. I’d just eat lobster, if that’s the only choice, as it’s my fave. I’d want to have dinner with John Frusciante, he’s a genius.
Do you have any projects, collabs, travel plans, or cool stuff coming up in 2019 that you’d like to share?
At this point in the year I've not made any plans but I will be doing a lot of things so keep your eyes peeled. I’m more of a spontaneous person then a pre planner.