INKED Art Series: JK5
JK5 (REAL NAME: JOSEPH ARI ALOI) is an illustrator, painter, and tattoo artist from Brooklyn who has been making a name for himself designing for Kidrobot and working on books with Rizzoli. After he enters the INKED office, he pulls out a sketchbook and begins poring over a skull he drew that he plans to re-create as a wall-sized graphic. “Everything starts in a sketchbook; everything starts from scratch,” JK5 explains as he turns the radio to a classic rock station and sways to the sounds of Blue Öyster Cult. As the day progresses, a simple outline of a skull turns into a collage of hidden images emphasized with paint markers. The most prominent image is a line of numbers cascading down the skull’s forehead and transforming into a JK5 tag. “I could render this as a realistic skull, but it’s more interesting to keep it open—a fun, graphic, layered approach for some impact,” he says.
JK5 started layering ink on top of his previous tattoos when he ran out of room on his body. Layering is a common theme for him. In fact, the name JK5 was derived from a combination of his family, Luke Skywalker, Buddhist elements, and other parts of his subconscious.
Asked to describe the artwork he’s creating, JK5 turns and laughs. “Well, I just hash tagged it midnight, deep, space, mystical, mathematic, disco,” he says.