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Artist Feature: Bob Tyrrell


Bob Tyrrell is an incredibly talented artist specializing in horror imagery, portraiture, and realism.


Bob Tyrrell is an incredibly talented tattoo artist specializing in horror imagery, portraiture, and realism. Having entered the industry at a relatively late stage he has quickly shot to fame under the tutelage of renowned artist Tom Renshaw. His work is heavily influenced by American sci-fi and fantasy artist Frank Franzetta, and his pieces are proudly worn by many well-known musicians including singer Kid Rock.

Known for his horror themed black and grey images, Tyrrell has the enviable talent of creating work that appears to leap off the client’s skin. His portraits are characterized by eyes that can follow a person round the room, an effect which many artists struggle to create. Based in Warren, Michigan, he spends much of his time on the road at various tattoo conventions and has appeared in both LA Ink and London Ink documentaries.

As the son of a painter, Tyrrell dreamed of becoming an artist from a very young age. However, this ambition was eventually put on hold after he became absorbed in making music and spent 15 years as a heavy metal guitarist. Working in a factory in order to make ends meet it was not until he got his first tattoo at the age of 29 that the tattoo bug finally took hold. After attending a number of art classes to brush up on his skills he took his drawings over to Eternal Studios in Detroit and was immediately offered an apprenticeship. After 6 years working alongside owner Terry ‘Tramp’ Welker and Tom Renshaw he eventually left Eternal to open his own tattoo studio called Night Gallery in Detroit.

One piece that is arguably his most famous work is the American eagle on the upper back of musician Kid Rock. A stunning example of Tyrrell’s painstaking attention to detail, the design looks as though it may jump up and take flight at any moment. Each feather has been individually shaded to give an amazingly realistic effect. Depicted in full frontal position the outstretched wings of the eagle follow the natural contours of the shoulders beautifully. The lettering in the ribbons framing the piece appear to reflect the light and give the piece a three dimensional effect and the design has been replicated by a number of Kid Rock fans.

The majority of Tyrrell’s designs are produced in black and grey with the occasional splash of color to add intensity. A self-confessed fan of horror-related art his custom horror pieces reflect his passion for the genre. An example of his love for all things creepy is the demon on the arm of Exodus’s Gary Holt.

Displayed on the lead guitarist’s upper right arm, the detail shown in the design is extremely impressive and was no doubt the result of hours of delicate shading. The texture of the demon’s skin is so realistic you would be forgiven for expecting to feel it under your fingertips. The startling gleam in the eyes of the demon creates depth and brings the whole piece to life.

Tyrrell has been said to possess an incredible amount of patience when it comes to his portraiture work. It is this patience that allows him to create some of the most realistic portraits that can be seen anywhere in the industry. His image of Jimi Hendrix is as clear as a black and white photograph and he has captured the cool demeanor of the artist in its soulful eyes. His dedication to his work is evident in the shading of each individual strand of curly hair that falls onto the forehead and the piece puts many other portraiture artists to shame. Tyrrell has his own portrait of Jimi Hendrix on his leg done by friend and mentor Tom Renshaw.

Anyone wishing to book an appointment with Bob Tyrrell can do so through the request form on his website. He also makes a number of appearances at tattoo festivals, conventions, and expos around the world for those who cannot make the trip to his studio in the US. There is a wide selection of merchandise available to purchase at his studio and through the website including t-shirts, original artwork, and flash designs. For those looking for an incredibly skilled and dedicated artist that can add his own personal touch to any design, whilst at the same time preserving its unique beauty, Bob’s your man. With no less than 15 years’ experience in the industry the sky is the limit for this exceptionally talented artist and his creativity and skill will continue to grow along with his well-deserved fame.


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