Paul Booth: The Art Fusion Experiment
While Rolling Stone dubbed him the “King of Rock Tattoos”, tattooist Paul Booth is about as humble as an artist can get.
Writer:  Kerosene Nov 01 08
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While Rolling Stone dubbed him the “King of Rock Tattoos”, tattooist Paul Booth is about as humble as an artist can get. “I’m grateful that people appreciate my art to the extent that they do, I don’t walk around with a cloak and crown thinking I’m the king of the world,” he says with a chuckle.

Booth, a native of New Jersey, is the man responsible for much of the twisted imagery you see sprawled across the bodies of some of metal’s biggest names – including members of Pantera, Slayer, Slipknot and even WWE’s the Undertaker.

Booth’s ascent as one of metal’s top tattoo artist began after meeting Sepultura drummer Igor Cavelera at a tattoo convention.


Booth’s ascent as one of metal’s top tattoo artist began after meeting Sepultura drummer Igor Cavelera at a tattoo convention. “I was a huge Sepultura fan and though they were awesome. After meeting Igor, we hit it off and he invited me out on the road with them, Biohazard and Pantera. From then on I would just get invited by the band to other tours. Getting the chance to tattoo these guys is a great collaboration because I’m inspired by their music and they’re inspired by my art, so together we sit down and come up with art that we both enjoy.”

A tattoo artist for almost two decades, Booth was originally a repo man who got high off the adrenaline rush he got from stealing cars because it inspired his art. An accomplished artist in his spare time, Booth would airbrush his twisted imagery on everything from cars to motorcycles as a cathartic release. It wasn’t until Booth first got his daughters name inked on his body that he became driven to learn the art of tattooing.

“I’m the kind of artist that needs to know everything there is to know about art and I just had to know how to tattoo. I wasn’t even thinking about making it a career, I just wanted to know how to do it,”


“I’m the kind of artist that needs to know everything there is to know about art and I just had to know how to tattoo. I wasn’t even thinking about making it a career, I just wanted to know how to do it,” Booth says. “I bugged a guy for an apprenticeship, scrapped up the money and just jumped right into it.”

“I was never was good at writing or getting up and talking in front of people, so I would express myself through some crazy image,” he continues. “I’ve always been kind of pissed off, rebellious and questioning why people are so fucked up and stupid, which drives me to draw pictures.”

Paul is currently focusing his efforts on his New York based tattoo studio, Last Rites, which in addition to tattoo stations features an art gallery for dark art, macabre artifacts and a built in home theatre for

horror movies. The studio also provides him with an environment to do Art Fusion performances, a collaborative art form where artists rotate from canvas to canvas every few minutes to fuse their artistic styles together and create one style that lives in the moment.

“Art Fusion is fulfilling as an artist, but it’s cool as a viewer because you get to watch the evolution of a piece,” he says excitedly. “There’s no real direction for the art it just evolves right in front of your eyes. A piece might start out as a bird, but by the end of it it’s an eyeball with tentacles.”

“I don’t go out too much. I’m pretty much a shut in; I stay home and paint, I watch horror movies and I tattoo. I think if I were to pay attention to all those titles and accolades I’d wake up and be the jerk that I hate,” Booth says referencing the Rolling Stone article again. “At the end of the day what does that title really mean, because it’s the art that speaks for itself.”

For more information on Paul Booth, please visit www.darkimages.com





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