We are excited to debut Brad Wooten’s new . It includes 48 unique brushes built into 270 different iterations. You’ll enjoy Brad’s iconic style incorporated throughout to yield unique tribal and complex patterned designs. If you usually work in Photoshop, you’ll appreciate the included tutorials to help merge your skills into Procreate.
In advance of the launch, we had the opportunity to sit down with Brad to discuss the brush set, his life and career, and his inspirations. He considers himself a messenger, never one to take full credit for the work because the idea is already there, he just has to see it and share his observations. As you’ll see, Brad is a very unique tattooer, one who enjoys oil painting, 3D sculpture, graphic design, and even practicing skills with his non-dominant hand.
Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, Brad’s mother - an artist - encouraged him to explore his creative abilities. He remembers watching her paint, absorbing artistic values and culture from a very young age. His pre-teen days were consumed by video games, as Brad recalls barely getting through school…on purpose. He hated spending long days in the same building, and usually passed class time drawing and zoning out. Though he graduated on time, Brad was not ready to jump headfirst into a career or more schooling. Instead, he took some time off and got a job delivering pizzas. He relished the alone time in his car, windows down and Primus up. It felt good. Free. Therapeutic. When his car broke down, he used it as a chance to get out of Birmingham. At the unruly age of 20, Brad bought a one-way bus ticket to New Orleans, without a backup plan and only $150 to his name.
After a few days of quintessential New Orleans life, he found Aart Accent Tattoos owned by Jacci Gresham. Brad walked in one night and found the piercer who offered a valuable piece of advice: Just come back. Sit there. And draw. That’s exactly what Brad did. He sat in the lobby, stayed out of everyone’s way, and drew flash. Everyday. And eventually, they put him on the front desk with the clear direction to draw every single tattoo request that came in as fast as he could. Brad got good. And fast. He was so fast that he started drawing sleeves on people with markers. He spent an entire year at Aart Accent, drawing on hundreds of people without ever picking up a machine.
At that point, it wasn’t clear to him how to move forward with his tattoo career. Brad realized that no one was going to just hand him a machine and tell him he was ready. He had to go and take it. He left New Orleans and, after a few stops, planted himself in San Francisco at Gotham Tattoo. There, he did his first tattoo on himself with a machine, and that was all he needed to go back to New Orleans. “Hey Jacci. I have a machine. Can I tattoo?” Brad recalls. Jacci said, “Alright. Let me see you do a name.”
Brad’s first name tattoo request was “I build bridges.” He and the client spent time going over the spelling and the design, but somehow the final tattoo read “I build brides”. Tunnel vision - it happens. He was able to fix it with a few loops, and Jacci let him start tattooing at Aart Accent. In the beginning, Brad made $20 a day, somehow finding a way to make it work. It was a slow rise, but eventually he started doing bigger pieces. Making more money. Earning a living. He stayed in New Orleans for a few years, traveling and taking guest spots, until he made the move to Seattle.
The clients were different in Seattle than New Orleans. Brad began wielding his distinctive biomech style, originally in full color. He decided to go all-black biomech after taking lessons in oil painting, allowing painting to be his color outlet and tattooing to be what it always wanted to be with him: black. Finding his own groove, Brad began to study subjects that most interest him. He found inspiration from nature, organic patterns, generative art, and parametric design, allowing tattoos to develop into something much bigger than himself.
Currently at Broken Crow Collective in Maine, Brad continues to uplevel his tattoo designs. He has a practice of working with his clients to discern their visual vocabulary. What exactly does ‘detail’ mean to them? While drawing, Brad holds a character of each client in his mind so that he can have confidence in the design. He never questions, “Will they like this or would that like that?” He takes responsibility for that. He owns it. When asked about his creative process he said,
“ When I create something, it’s kind of like a child. You can’t pick your child. You can help it, but it might be kind of weird. You have to love it for what it is, and do your best toward it.”
We hope you enjoy incorporating Brad’s craft in your tattoos. He has spent years cultivating his style, and we know you’ll love playing in the sandbox of . As usual, we’d love to see your designs, so be sure to tag us on social using #madewithtattoosmart. You can keep up with Brad on Instagram @b.e.wooten or at www.bradwooten.com.