Jeff Ensminger is one of a wave of new school artists who are currently taking the tattoo industry by storm.
Creating some of the most spectacular bio mechanic and organic designs ever seen these artists are changing the face of tattooing as we know it. By traveling the length and breadth of the country giving seminars on their new vision and techniques, they are educating a whole new generation of artists who will continue to push the boundaries of tattooing.
Jeff has been in the tattoo business since 2002 and has already earned the respect and admiration of many of his fellow artists and had his work published in a number of industry magazines. His impressive portfolio consists of bio mechanical, realism, new school, and Americano designs that will stun even the most seasoned tattoo enthusiast.
Although there is a copious amount of Jeff’s work available to view online, there is little to no information on the man himself. What is known is that he hails from Norman, Oklahoma, is a huge animal lover, and enjoys long walks on the beach. He has also featured as a guest artist at renowned tattoo studio ‘Off the Map Tattoo’ in Easthampton, Massachusetts. According to his website, he has opened a private studio with good friend and fellow artist Nick Baxter, located to Austin. At the time of this writing, Jeff is currently living on the road, literally. He is travelling the United States, doing guest apperances in studios across the country. He says he plans on doing this for next year or two, at which point he plans to settle.
Jeff’s work has already earned him more than a few admirers and a quick look through his portfolio will immediately tell you why. Beautifully rendered, colourful pieces dominate his gallery such as this stunning bio design (above) which looks as though it has been carved into the flesh of the client. The incredible use of tone and texture in the tattoo gives it a 3 dimensional appearance and you can almost expect to feel the bones under your fingertips. The colors have been expertly blended throughout the piece to give a seamless impression that the tattoo is part of the client. Jeff’s softer side is shown in an incredibly vibrant tattoo of an iris flower in full bloom (below). His skill with the color pallet enables him to create designs that leap off the skin and the deep purples and greens in this piece contrast each other beautifully.
His portfolio features a number of tattoos which are the result of a collaborative effort with friend and renowned artist Nate Beavers. When two artists work together on the same design something truly special is born that can only come from the combined talents of two minds. Generally the artists will take turns working on the same design for short periods of time so no single artist can work exclusively in his style alone.
An incredible design that came out of this union is the broken and bleeding skull shown lying awkwardly on the floor (above). This extraordinary tattoo exhibits unbelievable use of light, shading, texture, and tone and is an astonishing example of just what can be achieved through collaborative tattooing. The shadows within the eyes and nose of the skull are so gently shading they look as though they will move if you change your perspective and the old and cracked texture of the skull itself is incredibly realistic.
The majority of Jeff’s work deals with bio, new school and realism designs but he will occasionally tackle a color portrait, with amazing results. His portrait of Herbert West, the mad scientist from the cult film Re-Animator, is stunningly realistic and captured in a dramatic and lifelike pose. Just why Jeff does not create more portraiture work remains a mystery as he is more than capable of inking picture perfect designs. The use of light in this tattoo is truly mind blowing and the details within the design, right down to the shadow of the glasses falling across the face, is astonishing.
Jeff is not currently working out of a listed studio but anyone wishing to contact him can do so through his website. His artwork is available for purchase in the form of prints, posters, and sketchbooks that feature unique tattoo drawings and are a must for any hardcore fans of his art. He is also a regular at tattoo conventions and expos and gives a number of popular seminars on color blending techniques. Jeff has chosen not to highly publicize himself and keeps a low profile in regards to his private life. By working out of a private studio he has given himself the opportunity to pick and choose the projects he would like to focus on. When confronted with his work it is easy to see why he has made this decision as his designs obviously require a huge amount of time and patience. His tattoos speak for themselves and if shunning the showbiz side of the industry allows him the freedom to create such jaw dropping designs, then let’s hope Jeff remains a relatively low profile for years to come.