Tag Archives: Lowbrow Art

MASTERS OF INK & NEEDLE: ROTOR FINERATS

It’s been long time since I don’t write about tattoo artists and now that I feel a bit cold turkey and Summertime is definitely the worse season for tattoo artists due to warm weather, I’m in the mood to talk about Rotor Finerats, a 200% artist, not just talented with the ink and the needle. Beyond the tattoos, this guy has an immense talent and creativity reflected on his illustrations, very inspired in the lowbrow art movement.

rotor viking skulls

Some people have asked me why I never talk about Spanish artists, wondering whether I’m not interested in the national product. I’ve been thinking about it and I can only reply that I never got the chance or perhaps foreign artists came first to my mind. At this point I’m so into this world, I reckon there’s an impressive community of Spanish artists spread throughout the peninsula, and especially settled in Barcelona. I’m very lucky on this regard.

Thus today I’m talking about Rotor, my first Spanish tattoo artist I haven’t had yet the pleasure of visiting myself for my piece. But I’m pretty sure eventually that day will arrive and I’ll get one of his post-nuclear tattoos.

Rotor works at Aloha Tattoos studio in Barcelona, at this point I’d say it’s the most established and popular studio in town, ousting the classic LTW studio in Tallers st. It used to be the place of reference, but since it’s always been very expensive and the rotation of artists is too frequent, Aloha eventually won the crown, thanks to Rotor, El Carlo, El Javi, El Monga, Tai Iglesias…too much talent at that studio.

I think it was a year ago when I saw  a tattoo of Rotor’s for the first time and it really blew my mind. I can’t be 100% sure, but I’d say it was this one.

rotor mechanical whale

I felt fascinated with this mechanical whale, as I like to name it, and the combination of the industrial element with one of the most amazing creatures on Earth. Nature corrupted by industrialization? Replicant animals in the future to replace extinct breed? Who knows, only Rotor, there might be lots of symbols or perhaps none, but these post-nuclear tattoos are his trademark, making his designs very unique.

post nuclear tattoos by Rotor

Rotor’s style is closer to old school than Miss Arianna, for instance. Even though both artists prefer thick lines, Arianna enhances details through shading while Rotor prefers this style of  lining, in order to provide his pieces of this classic roughness. No doubt he can also stick to a more complex or detailed style too, but to be honest I’m not as interested in that part.

His universe also includes weird creatures, vampires, or aliens, quite vintage looking, keeping this childish and reckless halo.

Rotor Creatures

And I love everything he does involving skulls.

skulls rotor

Rotor, together with Ibie, is co-editor of Fine Rats illustration magazine, recovering the works of many independent artists who unfortunately cannot expose their work in public so in this way these compilations can achieve more audience. I had the chance to purchase the first five issues, printed in very good quality and offering a different kind of art, much more trashier and rude. I will write about this publishing in a near future, on a separate post.

Here you can watch this video introducing Rotor who explains a bit about his work and influences. It was recorded to support him in a contest held by Jägermeister. Unfortunately he didn’t win, but it was a good promo for him.

Rotor is on my list of artists I would like to get tattooed by. All this sci-fi, vintage future designs are terrific, and his post-nuclear creatures are simply awesome. His style might look very simple, but it’s the imagery, all the complements added to the main figure, which enhance the effect of them. His work is very special.

RÓBT WILLIAMS & HIS APPETITE FOR LOWBROW ART

Robert Williams is an artist I have maximum respect for, since I discovered that he was responsible for the name and the cover artwork of one of the most iconic albums  not only in rock and music history. Do you have any clue which one I’m referring to?

What about this? Does this look familiar to you?

Yes, Appetite For Destruction was painted by the hot rod artist, and Axl Rose, not only had such a crush on the artwork, but also the name of the piece made such impact on him, he decided, well, better said, suggested, that should be the name for the debut album of the most dangerous band in the album, Guns N’Roses, and my personal favorite as you might already know. I reckon he nailed it. Surely you know this cover was censored due to the explicit content on it. Absolutely insane, yet super hypnotic. I’m sure I already told you about my own replica at the Hellhouse, what can I say?

Williams conceives his prolific work as Conceptual Realism, and also the term Lowbrow is frequently related. Not sure about what that means, you know artistic terms are not my strength, but yeah, it’s true he deals with realistic elements, of course translated into his personal universe. Knowing already my taste for the extreme and sometimes vulgar, you can imagine, illustrations dealing with underground culture imagery, it’s my kind of thing.

Hot Rod, easy women, sex, violence, past-present-future, all kind of icons, comic culture, countless elements to reflect dissatisfaction and disappointment with American society in essence.

If you dig a bit into this artist’s career and personal life, you come to the conclusion he’s a kind of art outlaw, a rebel. Involved in the car culture since very young, seems that his only way to stay out of trouble, and avoid the can, was to focus into his painting skills and passion. And he succeeded, as many publications and Juxtapoz magazine he founded in 1994, are the proof.

I remember seeing all these billboards and ads of Vans Vault Icons,  featuring him some years ago in Manhattan. I had a crush on some of his designs.

Williams, a revolutionary with a paintbrush, able to shock the world with his powerful stories, reflecting the lowest and darkest side of the mean society, with corruption, vice, greediness, we’re part of.

Most likely many of you dislike his pieces so color saturated and overloaded. On his credit, so much meaning implicit in every stroke, as to get hooked observing and noticing millions of details impossible to assimilate at just a glance. Personally, I find his work fascinating.