Inked Art Series: Blind Barber
Located on New York City’s Lower East Side, Blind Barber is many things: a barbershop by day, a full-service bar by night, and a home for Eric Holmes and Ryan Joseph, two barbers/artists whose opposing aesthetics help them create eye-popping imagery, like this piece commissioned for our office.
Holmes begins by sketching out a figure that looks a lot like INKED’s editor. “I’ve always been into portraits,” he says from his perch on a ladder.
Joseph, who is watching Holmes’s black-and-gray figure come to life, explains the duo’s creative process: “I wait for [Eric] to go first, basically, then I just try to wrap these crazy beings around his objects.”
Soon, Holmes’s gentleman is entangled by Joseph’s creation, a vibrant green and pink monster dripping turquoise ooze from its wart-covered tongue.
Later, after lunch, several coats of paint, and a beer or two, Holmes and Joseph begin to outline their work in bold black, a technique reminiscent of the line work in American traditional tattooing. “All tattoos just read better if they are big, bold, and solid, so [with murals] every now and then I’ll have a nice, thick outline and really just pop it,” says Holmes.
And for this mural, pop is the key word. The outline turns into a clever splattering that runs throughout the piece and across the office wall, which was stark white just hours earlier. As the warts and splatters come together, Holmes turns to Joseph and laughs. “We’re definitely not desk-type guys,” he says.