SketchBook: Russell Kelley |

Silk City Tattoo
7 Garfield Avenue
Hawthorne, NJ, 07506

Tattooing out of one of north Jersey’s most venerable shops, Russell Kelley creates bold but intricate designs with a sure hand and a contrast from light to dark ink. “Black ink makes the colors jump out, and the black outline should be thick enough to also show that contrast,” he says. “If you look at an old WWII vet’s tattoos, they may be faded, but you could still make out what the image is supposed to be. I think quality and longevity are my two aims when I tattoo.” Taking from the old but propelling tattoo art forward, the neo-traditional inker uses his gift as a present to his clients and the world at large: “I feel like when I design a tattoo for someone, that’s my gift to them.” When designing his own final piece—his gravestone—he’s going to go with the Ghostbusters symbol with a banner that reads, “I came, I saw, I kicked some ass.”

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