The most sought after and successful tattooists will often have a waiting list of anything from one to three years and occasionally even more. When an artist’s waiting list becomes so great that they are forced to stop taking appointments in order to deal with the backlog, you can be sure that artist is responsible for some pretty amazing tattoos. A man who has recently had to do just that after becoming inundated with requests for appointments is renowned tattoo artist Jeff Gogue.
Having been in the business for over 10 years, Jeff has travelled the world creating some spectacular tattoos that have seen him walk away with a whole collection of awards from numerous conventions. Currently at home in Grants Pass, Oregon, he is now concentrating on attending a select number of conventions and appearing as a guest artist at chosen studios.
Jeff has been tattooing full time since August 2000 and has the distinction of being completely self-taught. He found a mentor in the shape of Cory Norris of ‘Classic Tattoo’ in Grass Valley, California, and counts tattooing legends such as Robert Hernandez and Shige among his influences. He has worked at a number of different studios and until recently was operating out of ‘Authentic Art Tattoo’ Grants Pass, Oregon. In 2010 he appeared as a guest artist in renowned studio ‘Yellowblaze Tattoo’ in Yokohama, Japan. Working alongside world famous artist Shige his portfolio features some spectacular tattoos he created during his time in the prestigious studio. His work has also taken him to Europe where he attended the London tattoo convention and appeared as a guest artist in ‘Thou Art Tattoo’ in Sheffield, London.
Jeff’s work has been steadily gaining attention throughout the tattoo industry and many of his peers now regard him as one of the leading artists in the field. Although he has never completed a formal apprenticeship his work is of such a high standard that it is hard to believe that he has reached this level of talent by sheer determination. A talented oil painter, Jeff specialises in realism, bio organic, Japanese and painterly style designs.
Spread throughout his portfolio is a stunning collection of skulls in an array of colors and textures. The darkly beautiful design of two skulls shown in gray and red shades was inked during his time in Japan and is a testament to the high quality of work carried out there. The shading and light in this piece is phenomenal and the eerie blue light shining from the hollowed eye sockets brings the whole design to life. The burnt red shade of the bottom skull is rarely seen so vibrantly on the skin and the shadows surrounding the design give it a macabre quality.
Jeff’s skill with the color palette and incredible talent for lighting effects in shown once again in the abstract design of a grasshopper, house, and tree watched over by a glistening eye. The detail inside the eye and the light glinting off the outside injects the piece with so much life one would expect the eye to actually blink at any moment. The realism in this tattoo is incredible and it’s hard to believe that it is an actual tattoo and not a painting hanging in a gallery.
Jeff’s interest in the Japanese tattoo culture is showcased in his spectacular design featuring the Japanese mask of Hannya surrounded by cherry blossoms and delicate waves. Hannya is said to represent a jealous and vengeful female whose emotions have turned her into a grotesque demon and is one of many different types of mask used by actors in traditional Japanese theatre. Shown running almost the entire length of the left leg this is a truly special tattoo that shows Jeff’s expertise in shading, light, texture, tone, and placement. Intricately detailed, it has turned the client into a living work of art and is an incredibly powerful design that has been beautifully executed.
At the moment Jeff is not taking appointments as demand is currently too great and his website informs us that “the man needs a break”. Despite this he will be attending a number of upcoming festivals and expositions as well as teaching his popular seminar ‘Gut Level Tattooing’. Those wishing to own a piece of Jeff can purchase his original artwork, t shirts, and prints through his website, and stay updated on his itinerary and upcoming appearances.
Despite Jeff’s fame and success he remains a humble and honest artist that is constantly seeking to improve his gift. His work has seen him travel the world and meet some of the greatest artists working today but throughout all of this he remains intensely private and a little anxious of what his fans may think of him as a person. Although art can be an intensely emotional experience and many artists will bare their soul though their art, many wish to keep their private lives a secret. Jeff states on his website “You can't see all of who I am from any one angle, so, in my quest for relevance, I am trying to expose as much as I can bear to”. This honest statement is proof that many artists struggle with their sudden exposure into the public eye, and despite an enviable talent, everyone is just human underneath.