Landing an appointment with famed New York City tattooer Seth Wood is tough. Finding him is the really hard part. Although he works a booked-solid schedule at Daredevil Tattoo and his own home studio, Wood spends more time traveling to conventions and guest spots at shops around the world, such as Invictus Custom Tattooing in Oslo and LTW in Barcelona. The past year alone has taken Wood to London, Milan, Montreal, and Moscow.
“I’m winding that down a bit, considering that there was one point that I was on the road for 13 months straight,” Wood explains. “My favorite conventions to work are London and Milan, mostly because they’re organized and promoted so well. There’s also an unusually high percentage of good tattooers who attend and a lot of the visitors want high-quality, cool work.”
As a kid in South Jersey, Wood was always drawing but didn’t consider becoming a tattoo artist until a friend suggested that it would be an interesting way to make a living. “I didn’t pick it up easily,” he admits. “I spent a long time doing some pretty poor work on friends while I was still learning. And then, after a lot of practice and a degree in sociology, I was lucky enough to get a legit job in a shop.”
Now with more than nine years of steady tattooing behind him, Wood’s work is fi lled with vibrant colors and modern lines. He tackles the straightforward and the abstract (a zombie drinking coffee?) but he’s reluctant to put a specifi c label on his style. “I get ideas from lots of places, it’s not like I’m a go-to guy for traditional fl ash or Japanese woodblock work. But I do try to take an illustrative approach to design and keep the end result as simple and readable as possible.”
To commemorate his frequent quest spots and convention appearances, Wood began creating limited-edition prints to sell based off his watercolor paintings. He also recently contributed his art and set-design skills to Seul Contre Tous: Art for Cure, a pinup calendar sold to benefi t the American Breast Cancer Foundation.
Wood won’t take full credit for his success. “At the most, I’ll accept partial credit,” he concedes. “Because I do a lot of tattooing out of a private studio in addition to working at Daredevil, most people I see come to me with ideas that just need some fleshing out. If someone knows what they want, it’s usually not too much of a problem to come up with what makes them happy.”