T.U.K. x Justin Wilson
To continue celebrating our local creatives we asked Justin Wilson to put his personal style on a pair of our creeper boots. Justin works out of King's Head Tattoo in San Diego, CA. For his custom creepers he painted an octopus on our Black TUKskin™ 3-Buckle Boots. He painted an octopus on the boots to show his love for the ocean and the creatures that reside inside of it.
To check out more of his work head to his Instagram
How long have you been tattooing for?
Justin Wilson: 12 years. I did a loose apprenticeship at a shop called Traditions Tattoo in Imperial Beach. Unfortunately, the shop has since closed down.
What made you want to become a tattoo artist?
There wasn’t one thing in particular that made me want to be a tattoo artist. I’m not really sure how it happened actually. I was in the Navy when I started getting tattooed and next thing I know, I’m tattooing. It was all I thought about and all I wanted to do from the very first time I picked up a machine.
Why did you decide to paint an octopus on the boots?
I love the sea. I’ve spent my entire adult life in, on and around the ocean. I also really enjoy sea monster stories and the mysteries of the dark, depths of the ocean. So, as I thought about this project, and what to paint on the shoes; I knew I wanted something that would match the brand and myself. I came up with my version of a Cthulhu-esk Kraken. I wanted the design to flow with the shoe and become one with it. Not too overbearing visually, but you know it’s there. A lot like how an octopus acts.
How was working on this project for you?
It was rad! I had to break out some creative tools I haven’t used in a while. The challenge of painting on a surface like a shoe was fun. I had to imagine what it would look like when they are worn. What will you see? What will be hidden? How is the best way to hold the shoe while I paint? Etc. All these little questions, helped me get lost in this project for a while and forget about the current global situation we are dealing with.
Are you currently working on any other projects?
I am. I’ve got a book of stories with illustrations called, New Mythologies from the Sea, that is almost complete. It’s dark. It’s not happy go lucky tales of Lisa Frank mermaids and dolphins. This book will make you understand why sailors are so superstitious.
How long have you been an artist for?
My whole life. I’ve always liked art in some way shape of form. Once I got out of the Navy, I went to a private Art school in LA; Otis College of Art and Design. I did both my BFA and MFA there, all the while tattooing.
What’s your favorite tattoo that you have & why?
All of them! Each one is a story. Each one is a time and place across the globe. Even the ones that I had covered with new tattoos! I have to take the easy way out of this question! Not to mention I have been tattooed by a lot of my friends and I don’t choose between them. They can be sensitive.
Are you from San Diego? If not, why did you move here?
No, I’m from Palm Desert, CA. This is my second time living here in San Diego. I first time I lived here was from 1999-2004 and then I moved back in 2018. I came back to work full time with an offshore sailboat race team. I’d work on the water during the day and tattoo at night. But that didn’t pan out for a few different reasons. Now, I’m back tattooing full time at The King’s Head Tattoo in Pacific Beach.
How have you been keeping busy during quarantine?
Those that have either been in the military on deployment or in prison, know that a routine is key. The days are long, but the weeks fly by. I tried my best to come up with my “perfect day” and repeat it as much as possible. Wake up, coffee, read a book, workout and create. Create by either writing or drawing or painting. But I had to try and make something. Oh, and I try to not drink before noon, but if you sleep in ‘til 2pm then that goes out the window and a breakfast beer is totally acceptable.