Mike DeVries

About Me

My own early recollections as a kid, include memories of constant drawing and sketching; you could always find me with a pencil in hand. Born and raised in Southern California's San Fernando Valley, my journey began in June of 1979. I had a great upbringing and kept busy with many typical childhood activities. I logged thousands of hours playing video games, spent many years participating in Little League Baseball and was always into the skateboarding scene. I also enjoyed collecting baseball cards and comic books and it was the artwork in those comics that sparked an already-evident intrigue that I had with drawing, painting and art in general. Always interested in the creative process, some of my earliest childhood recollections include doodling different images of scary faces on any piece of paper I could find.

Although high school seemed like a vast blur, I do recall always being enrolled in art classes and spent many hours drawing, creating and sketching on any medium available; including the walls of my bedroom. When I was approximately 16 years-old, my best friend, Scott, stopped by to show me his new tattoo. My curiosity sparked, I wasted no time in acquiring one myself the very next day. Surprisingly, my parents gave me their permission and I headed down to the shop, which was a popular place in the neighborhood at the time. I had a colorful sun, complete with an evil face in the middle, tattooed on my upper shoulder blade that day. By doing so, I not only received my first piece of ink, but this event opened the window to a whole new world, that would eventually become my career. This newfound environment captivated my attention and a great degree of my time, as I spent more and more hours in the tattoo chair and hanging out at the shop. When I turned 18, I started spending a lot of time at the local street shop; hanging out and adding to my personal tattoo collection.

During summer vacations and other times I had off from school, I worked with my Dad in construction and residential remodeling. After graduating from high school in 1997, I went to work with him full-time and continued in this profession for many years, figuring it would remain my principal vocation. During these years, my tattoo affinity continued and I always paid close attention to the process and techniques used by the artists I frequently visited. In early 2003, a conversation during a tattoo session with Jim Hayek, lead to an apprenticeship offer. He allowed me to trade some construction work for part of the payment, while I wasted no time gathering together the remainder of the funds to get the instruction underway. I invested in the necessary equipment; which included a Neuma, the air-powered machine that I learned on. Next, I utilized every spare moment practicing my newly-learned skills on my buddies; tattooing at night after work and on the weekends. Within a year, I was able to quit the construction business and my entrance into the tattoo industry had begun. My remodeling skills immediately came in handy, as I built a studio behind my house in Encino and worked from this location for the first four years of my career. In early 2007, when I moved to Art Junkies Tattoo in Hesperia, California, I had built a solid clientele. In the summer of 2008, after a great year and a half in the desert, I decided to open a tattoo studio in the San Fernando Valley. Known as MD Tattoo Studio, I work with a talented crew of artists. The shop atmosphere is positive and we pride ourselves on always pushing great art and making our clients feel comfortable.

I always had a fondness for the realism style and would explore tattoo magazines during my early years, amazed at the portraiture work of Tom Renshaw. Artwork like his, inspired my direction, as my own tattooing skills progressed and I rapidly realized that I had found my niche with color realism. Constantly advancing, refining and polishing this craft keeps me extremely busy and motivated to continue climbing to the next level. A glimpse through my portfolio reveals my preference for "anything realistic;" notably, the array of wildlife, movie stars, rock stars and portraits of clients loved ones presented. While I do enjoy mixing things up and incorporating various aspects of the style I work within, it is certain that my forte will always remain within the realism genre.

While I keep a busy work schedule, I also enjoy painting, when time permits. This medium was also inspired by Jim Hayek, when I first observed some amazing pieces he had completed of famous rock stars. He showed me the ropes and I then painted several of my favorite movie characters and scenes. I am familiar working with acrylic and oil paints and look forward to dedicating more to them in the future. I have taken several formal art classes in subjects like: Figure Drawing, and Head and Hands Drawing. These courses have really helped me to understand the human body better in its relation to art, and by strengthening my grasp on these principals, it has in turn improved my tattoo work. I never feel like I am finished learning. I intend to continue to take more classes and further my education whenever the opportunity arises.

In addition to owning and operating MD Tattoo Studio in Northridge, California, I also run Memento Publishing, where we market, publish and sell books that encompass a passion for the artistic lifestyle. Continuing on that note, I co-own and help operate Reflected Art, which is a website that offers art lifestyle, inspirational and educational art books and materials. I also keep busy as co-owner of Stencil Stuff, which is a company that offers Stencil Stuff and Spray Stuff, products that aid artists in achieving better tattoo results. The solutions are used by thousands of tattoo artists every day and I hope are a positive attribute to the tattoo industry. I am honored to be an award-winning artist, garnering approximately 130 awards in the first seven years that I have been tattooing. And the accomplishment I am most proud of is being happily married to my beautiful wife Serena, and a father to our awesome son, Kyle.

I draw inspiration from artists: M.C. Escher, Salvador Dali, Kunio Hagio and Michael Godard. In addition to these masters, I find further inspiration in the tattoo industry from artists such as: Bob Tyrell, Robert Hernandez, Tom Renshaw, Guy Aitchison, Nick Baxter, and the list goes on and on. There are so many inspiring artists in the field today. I am constantly inspired and motivated by the distinguished work from fellow tattooists.

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