Crammed into the tiniest little sliver of a booth at the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention, Audie Fulfer Jr. was having a little fun with his client as he worked on adding a skull to the man’s neck. “It’s a unicorn cock,” Fulfer laughs. “It’s OK, you’ve got a 30-day money back guarantee.” Even if it was a unicorn’s love parts, the client would be a fool to return a prime example of Fulfer’s cartoonish take on color realism.
This freewheeling attitude towards realism means that he isn’t bound by any rules. Instead of being slavishly devoted to what something looks like to the exact detail in reality, Fulfer’s portraits look more like how we think they should appear. This approach allows him to give a realistic treatment to things that never could exist, like beloved cartoon and comic book characters. “As I grew as a tattooer I found that trying to be be stuck to that ‘oh it’s got to be a tattoo design like an eagle or a rose’ was boring,” Fulfer explains. “Anything can be a tattoo design as long as you know how to execute it as a tattoo.”
Whether it is Leonardo, Wolverine, or Zoidberg, Fulfer has a way of bringing the fantastical into our world without losing the spark that made it so special in the first place. Getting the right mixture of the two worlds is a very tricky task.
If you are looking to get a truly creative piece of realism, Audie Fulfer Jr. works at High Class Tattoo in Fresno, California. Also, make sure to check out his Instagram to keep up with his latest work and whether or not he'll be coming to a town near you soon.