The Art Of David Bollt has been exhibited in museums, displayed in galleries and toured the world with some of the biggest rock bands in history. His artwork has graced magazine covers, CDs, comic books and posters. His images can be found on clothing, jewelry, sports cars, custom motorcycles and electric guitars. David’s signature style has earned a vast following of dedicated collectors and has captured the imaginations of art enthusiasts from around the world.
As a child prodigy, David manifested his precocious talent at the age of seven, when he spontaneously began creating beautifully rendered images conjured from his wildly fertile imagination. While still in his early teens, David’s images began their ever increasing impact on youth culture as he created cover art for rock bands across the globe. He rapidly gained national recognition as his illustrations appeared on the covers of numerous magazines and posters. These exceptionally unique images attracted a loyal fan base that has been growing ever since.
Before it’s mainstream popularity, David began his study and practice of the ancient art of tattooing. His art quickly took the tattoo world by storm. David’s cutting edge style and mastery of technique wowed fans and professionals everywhere. A myriad of magazine articles featuring David’s art proclaimed him to be one of tattooing hottest talents. His published tattoo designs are prominently hung on the walls of thousands of tattoo studios internationally and are tattooed into more peoples skin than any other artist in history.
David Bollt paintings and illustrations have become a main attraction at tattoo conventions worldwide. His artwork is used to promote many of the most prestigious tattoo culture events in both the U.S. and Europe every year.
Today David continues to produce illustrations for CD covers, magazines and posters. His traveling art gallery appears in more than 20 cities every year where thousands of fans gather to get a David Bollt signature and add new images to their collections. Bollt’s original paintings appear in gallery shows fetching prices upwards of $25,000. His prolific talents have earned him a reputation as one of this generations most influential artists.
David’s art has defined Tattoofest since it’s birth almost 16 years ago. David’s imagination and invention are the purest definition of art and we are excited to bring you an exclusive interview with him by Michael McKnight & Carolyn Cadaver (Vicious Angelz Tattoo).
1. You have recently delved into photography as another art medium. Are there any other mediums that inspire you?
I started to publish more photography when I launched ModelSociety.com
. There is something about capturing moments and perspectives through the lens of a camera that helped me see the world in a new way. Everything all around seems like a living work of art. Photography is a way to capture slices of this perspective.
Airbrush, paintbrush or pencil all feel like extensions of my body and mind. And these days, working at the computer feels like putting on a science fiction power suit to fly farther and faster. But at the core, all media feel the same. They all offer the same raw capacity for expression. A work of art that’s done with a crayon can have just as much power as a work of art done with a state-of-the-art digital studio.
2. Which artists are among those who inspire you the most?
Dozens come to mind, but here are a few who had the biggest impact when I was young: Michelangelo, Giger, Simon Bisley, P. Craig Russell, Hans Belmer and Michael Parks. These days, there is an endless array of amazing talent that inspires me. Almost every day I see something new and amazing.
3. When did you know in your heart that art was your calling?
The first time I did a drawing. I don’t know how old I was, but I instantly felt free like I never had before. Entire worlds full of characters and stories started to move through me. It was like a channel opened and there was a place where I could defy gravity and fly.
4. Many great artists such as yourself have touched the world with their work. How would you like to be remembered?
I don’t particularly want to be remembered. Just like a flower eventually breaks down into the soil, I want to contribute to the collective soil that other artists rise from. I look back and so many amazing artists have contributed to my life. The artists who have influenced me live within my work even if they are no longer alive. I want to infect the DNA of the collective imagination (like they did for me) and send ripples of influence into the world for others to evolve into entirely new forms.
5. Your artwork has been the most consistently tattooed in modern history. Knowing that your work inspires so many tattoo artists, which of those artists and their depictions of your work inspire you in return?
I have been constantly blown away seeing my work rendered in skin. The list of people who have made my images come to life in tattoos has hundreds of names and continues to grow.
On a more personal level, there are some tattoo artists who have been there to support me as amazing friends. Guys like Doug Billian, Gene Asheworth, Joey Desormeaux, Matt Rousseau, William Webb, Bob Tyrrell and Bruce Bart have believed in me, supported me and challenged me to be a better artist and a better person. I also feel strangely grateful to haters who have thrown a lot of shit around. Finding my way in an unkind world has strengthened me and helped me clarify my own own sovereign truth.
6. Do you have any tattoos and if so what do you have and what moved you to get it/them done?
Hell yeah… I got each of them during times of big personal change in my life. I’m not heavily tattooed by modern standards, but I have some significant and meaningful work, including a large griffon on my chest from Bob that reminds me that I can only fly when I’m willing to leap into the unknown.
7. You have always had a connection with music. Which artists/bands have been amongst your favorites to work with?
I started doing artwork for bands in high school during the the ’80s. If you looked beyond the popular hair metal of the day, there was a vibrant sub-culture of amazingly technical and aggressive thrash metal, especially down in S. Florida where I grew up. The bands I worked with connected me to cutting edge underground thrash bands from around the world. My favorite cover I ever did was for my buddy Todd Ewing and a band called Brutal Mastication. It’s a shredding CD and one of the most intense mind-bending skulls I have ever done.
8. Much of your subject matter is the human figure. Do you draw from memory or do you use models as a reference?
Both. Sometimes I work with models and use the existing miracle of the human form as a starting point for imagination. Working with models becomes a collaboration. The final art becomes a merging of the model’s spirit with my creative vision.
Other times, the figure is entirely invented in a highly stylized form. Characters come from out of nowhere like they just want to be born. I grew up on comic books and fell in love with the incredibly exciting way that comic book artists can improvise the figure.
and Model Society Magazine are dedicated to human beauty as a work of art.
We live in a world where images of humanity are mostly used to manipulate us (in advertising). When it comes to nudity, the human body is either shamed or it’s stripped of its humanity and served up as pornographic meat.
At Model Society, we are bringing together the very best models, photographers and artists on the planet to show the world that the human form is profoundly beautiful. Through amazing works of art, we are inviting people to experience human beauty and nudity without shame. We are inviting people to see themselves and one another through the eyes of world-class creative talent.
If you want to have a shame-free experience of nudity and humanity as miraculous, natural, beautiful and good, then come to Model Society. Sign up for the email list
and we’ll send you a free issue of Model Society magazine.
10. How has your style evolved over time?
Art used to be a humble struggle for me. I loved making art, but always felt a combination of frustration and passion. Images came close to feeling like magic, but something was eluding me. It was like being in love and longing to feel connected. I got deeper and deeper into art and for a while stopped eating and sleeping.
At some point in my late teens, something just clicked and I made a quantum leap. I started to see and move beyond the blocks, beliefs and patterns that were holding me back. I discovered a creative freedom that I never imagined was even possible. When I make art now (at least when it’s at its best), I don’t even feel like I’m there. It’s like I’m an extension of the intelligent and creative universe that has the creative power to make people, animals and flowers. The “self” disappears and what’s left is the universe … making art … dressed up as me. These days, I see everyone as a colorful brush, dancing around on the ever-changing canvas of life.
11. What defines you and brings you the most pleasure in your art/life?
My pleasure these days comes from the most simple and essential things in my life, things like connections with family and friends, time with my dogs, making art, making music, watching the sky, time in nature. I’m alive … I’m dying … this experience of being alive is a miracle beyond words. I don’t have to work that hard anymore to love my life (even if it’s kicking my ass). Just being here is beautiful beyond measure.
And in addition to my art projects, I’m one of the co-founders of RelationalYoga.life. I teach people how to create more connection and awareness in their lives. Coaching individuals and facilitating groups is some of the most rewarding work I have ever done..
“I want to inspire you, frighten you, enlighten you and above all I want to strike a chord of wonder in your heart. I want to shock you into a state of awe and have you look around and see yourself and the world through a new pair of eyes. I want you to see yourself and everything around you as a wondrous and miraculous opportunity… an opportunity simply to be here and take it all in.” – David BolltMr. WordPress