Friday Art Feature – Tyree Patrick


My husband and I just finished a morning of fence repairing and I’m ready to relax!

Let’s kick start our weekend with an interview with artist

Tyree Patrick

Trooper by Tyree Patrick

Your portrait work is amazing.  Would you tell us a little bit about the mediums you work in and why you choose to work with them?

Thank you for the compliment.  I try to be well rounded and experiment with several mediums.  I work primarily as a tattoo artist so that is a medium I work with quite often.  Although I have dabbled with watercolors, acrylics, charcoals, pen and ink and colored pencils, I most often find my way back to pencils and graphites.  This may sound like one of those “artsy” things to say, but I believe the pencil best represents an artists vision.  It’s how we “speak”.

Tiffany Shepis by Tyree Patrick

You have done portraits of many celebrities, including and in some cases, presented the celebrity with their portrait.  I understand “Chewbacca”, Peter Mayhew recently tweeted you, to thank you for his.  How do you choose what to portray in their portraits.. expression, mood, character… etc.?

I usually try to find a pose or angle which they have not been overexposed with as well as find a reference from a role that I enjoyed and that shows artistic dynamic.  One of my recent celebrity giveaways was to Cassandra Peterson, aka “Elvira”.  Although it would have been easy to find a picture of her Elvira persona, I really wanted to use a shot from her small role as “Biker Mama” in Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure.  Not just because it was different but also because that is a movie I am a great fan of.

Dwight Schulz by Tyree Patrick

Would you tell us what people would need to do if they wanted to commission a portrait from you? Also, I understand you do “alterations”.  Would you please explain to my readers what an alteration is.  Also..curious minds want to know, has anyone asked to turn Grandma into a zombie yet?

The best way would probably be to contact me through my facebook pages.

I can also be reached through my emails, tyreepatrick at and undertheguntattoos at, although I don’t check my email as often as facebook.

And yes, at the customers request, I can alter the image in a few ways.  Say if you wanted to give their head a little cartoon body doing some activity like a caricature.  Or if you wanted the subject to be dressed a certain way, add props or lettering to the picture.  In effect, any way that the picture needs customized for a more personal touch.  Alas, no one has asked for a zombiefication of their grandma yet.  But I have zombiefied a couple of kids and a boss.

Tattoo by Tyree Patrick

Your attention to detail is amazing.  It’s so obvious in your portraits and in your tattoos.  Is this something you do naturally and enjoy, or did/do you have to work at it?

I do enjoy it but I have to work very hard at it.  There are many artists out there that are human Xerox machines, able to reproduce something perfectly from just looking at it.  I can only wish I had that kind of ability.  When I work there is a lot of erasing, starting over, rechecking and checking again.  I can accept that I have some natural ability.  But there are times when I envy the visions of those artists that can just pour out perfection on the first try.  I’m not one of them.

Tattoo by Tyree Patrick

What is the funniest tattoo you have ever done?  What is, in your opinion, the most original tattoo you have ever done?

The funniest tattoo I have ever done, to me anyway, was on a young African American man who took pride in being a “black republican”.  He got the republican party elephant on his chest.  Not even sure why, but that tattoo makes me smile.  I also have fun when a client asks for one of my own drawings for a tattoo.  Zombified Ralphie from A Christmas Story was a fun original.  I also drew up a stuffed bunny that has a cutting addiction.  A customer saw the original sketch and wanted the tattoo.

Tattoo by Tyree Patrick

As far as original goes, I think anything that I have to custom create for the client is original.  Most times when they come in and ask for something typical like a cross or tribal I try to draw it special and unique just for them.  When I got tired of doing the same old flat crosses I built one out of Lego’s so I could take dimensional pictures from different angles. This made it easier to create something original with more dynamic.  To also encourage the customers search for an original design, I took down all of the flash art that was on the shop walls and replaced it with original drawings.  This way the customers don’t just choose what they will settle for, but rather take the time to talk to me about how I can best create an original piece just for them.

Belinda Balaski by Tyree Patrick

Who are your favorite artists and which artist(s) do you think have most influenced you in your work?

I would say that my biggest influences would have to be my own Mom and Stan Lee.  My mom, who is also a very talented oil painter, still has the first recognizable object I ever drew, at two years old (it was a frog).  She was always prompt to nuture my abilities as I got older.  One of the ways she did that was by giving me the book How to draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan lee and John Buscema.  As a comic book geek I was always drawing and tracing out of my comics and that book.  I give that book great credit by encouraging me to pre-visualize my art with improved dynamic.  Last spring I got to meet Stan Lee and as he signed my book I thanked him for his influence in my art.  I’m sure he has heard it a hundred times a day.  But how often do you get to thank your most abstract mentors for their effect on your life?

Brody by Tyree Patrick

When I think of the work I most admire and enjoy looking at I go to Norman Rockwell and Frank Frazetta.  I am not a master of oils like them.  But their attention to detail, use of light and the stories they tell and the emotions they convey with their work is very inspiring to me.  It’s more than just great talent but it’s great vision as well.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not creating art?

Time with my family is first.  I miss my kids when I am at work and my wife is my biggest fan.  The most fun I have in my week is the time I get to spend with them.  When I need a couple hours to myself I like going to the movies by myself.  I love movies and a good flick with my own drink and popcorn is fun meditation time for me.

I’d like to thank Tyree, for taking the time to do this interview.  I’ve enjoyed seeing your  fantastic art and getting to know you.

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