Today we’d like to introduce you to Rusty Thornhill.
Rusty, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I have always been fascinated by art my entire life. From an early age, it was rare to find me without a pencil and paper drawing away. I naturally gravitated towards realism because I really enjoyed the challenge of it. I drew my first portrait when I was about eight years old and since then, portraits have been something I really love doing. By the end of high school, I knew I wanted to make a career out of doing art, but I didn’t know where to begin. Tattoos were something I knew little about once I started learning about the history and the craft itself, I was hooked.
In high school, I had to leave Los Angeles and live in Minnesota for a few years. I hung around some shops during my senior year in the small town I was living in, but not in any serious capacity. It wasn’t until I moved back to Los Angeles after I graduated that I pursued getting an actual apprenticeship.
A really well-known local shop, Hollywood Stars Tattoo, is where I set my sights. When I walked in, I was greeted by the friendly faces of the owner Erik and the artists that worked there. I spoke with Erik about my goal of landing an apprenticeship and showed him my sketchbook. After seeing my work, we walked around the shop and he showed me fantastic paintings and drawings that had been done by the resident artists there and it was clear the work was leagues ahead of mine. Every person brought something unique to the shop that they didn’t already have, and I needed to bring something unique of my own. I needed to get better. Erik did not discourage me but insisted I keep working at it.
I decided that in order to improve at art, I would need to go to art school. The problem was, I didn’t have money to afford such a thing, and the idea of taking on a lot of debt was not very enticing. I decided that, as a means of achieving my artistic goals, I would join the Army. After serving, I would be able to attend school with the help of the GI Bill and not have to worry about a massive debt looming over me.
I served for five years as a military police officer, doing a tour to Afghanistan in 2013 and a tour to Guantanamo Bay in 2015. Throughout that whole time, I never forgot my goals. I took a sketchbook with me on my deployments should I have the chance to draw at all, and when we were back stateside, I continued to draw in my free time. I may or may not have attempted some tattooing on some of my buddies as well. Needless to say, after a few years of hard work and dedication, the next time I went to Hollywood Stars and showed Erik my work, he was much more excited about taking me on as an apprentice. He assured me that once I get out of the military, I would be able to start an apprenticeship with them.
Erik kept his word and once I finished my contract with the Army, I started my apprenticeship. From 2017 to 2020 I worked tirelessly at Hollywood Stars and I also attended school at Otis College of Art and Design. With art now at the forefront of what I was doing, the work really didn’t seem like work. 12-hour days flew by and so did my classes. When you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life and I truly felt this. I learned a lot in my time with the crew over at Hollywood Stars and I am grateful for the time spent there. That is where I consider my tattoo career beginning. Since then, I’ve traveled and tattooed all around the United States and made many friends along the way. In 2020 I formed my own LLC called Tattlogic and I officially signed a lease to open up my own studio under the same name in April 2022. I graduated from Otis College of Art and Design with a bachelor’s in Digital Media, Game and Entertainment Design in May 2022. In August 2022, the studio will officially open with a group of talented artists and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have been many obstacles along the way. I’ve had sketchbooks stolen, work destroyed, and plenty of administrative issues when dealing with the city of Los Angeles in trying to open a business. Every challenge is just a chance for you to grow though, and that’s how I meet these. I don’t shy away from my aspirations just because there are a few roadblocks, and the reward of overcoming these obstacles is unparalleled.
As you know, we’re big fans of Tattlogic. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Tattlogic was created with the idea that we would bring something new to the tattoo industry. We really aim to change people’s perceptions
about tattooing. It’s not a hole in the wall shop with artists that are late to their own appointments. It’s not a studio that doesn’t follow up clients. Tattlogic is a space clients can feel comfortable in. The space has a mature, classy feel. Our artists will take time to answer clients’ questions and make sure they are receiving professional care during their appointment. We also support the community in which we are a part of. We offer art classes and life drawing sessions and we will be launching a YouTube channel soon that will talk a lot about different aspects of tattooing and art in general. We want to see artists grow, we want artists to share ideas and we want people to feel comfortable walking through our doors any time.
Any big plans?
The shop will open at the end of August which I am really excited for. After that, some big milestones will be the release of our YouTube channel, our first in-studio drawing and painting sessions, as well as our first community outreach endeavor. I would love it if Tattlogic
could sponsor some sort of school team or art club. Maybe we can buy all the art supplies for a local school or something. Within the next
year, we will be involved in some sort of scholastic partnership, charity, or scholarship program. Tattlogic will attend a few tattoo conventions throughout the year as well.
- Website: tattlogic.com
- Instagram: rusty_hst