From tattooing on bodies to painting on canvases, Cody Steele is multi-talented. When he’s not tattooing at Skin Deep Studio in Roscoe, he’s playing around and experimenting with his own creativity on his many paintings which will be on display at DEVIATE.
Cody recently placed 2nd at a tattoo competition in Milwaukee where he was able to show off his skills and he’s ready to showcase it once again on October 15. Cody will be doing live tattoos at DEVIATE for a one-of-a-kind show that lets guests see what the process is like. He’s sure to entertain and leave you amazed at his designs, style and creativity.
Can you tell us some information about your art? How would you describe it?
I am a professional tattoo artist and body piercer at Skin deep Studio in Roscoe, Il. I honestly love ALMOST all art styles but personally my favorite is black and gray realism, geometric patterns, flowing flowers, I love Lettering. I could go on and on but I truly love and appreciate ALL styles and levels to art. It has no limits.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My customers always come up with the craziest of designs. So It’s up to me to make their idea come to life on their skin for them to have with them for the rest of their lives. When It comes to my personal art. I can get inspired by anything and everything...from a quote, to a candy wrapper. Sometimes I have no control over what my head produces. It will be 3 a.m. and my brain will say “HEY! Get up! We are doing art now! Let’s go!”
Where can we find your work? Examples of galleries, stores, and events you have been involved in. I have participated in a handful of art shows. I was the featured artist at Bagels & More in downtown Beloit during Holidazzle 2019, I have been a part of "ArtScene" in Rockford, IL at Luna Datura's (twice) and The Underground (once), and have been selling prints, stickers, and other swag at Culture Shock in Rockford, IL since 2020.
How long does it take for you to do a piece from start to finish? There is zero consistency with tattoos, some take 15 minutes some can take 15 hours!? The World Wide Web is probably the most used for my references. I sometimes will use as many as 10, maybe even 15 reference pictures, then I rough layout or sketch the tattoo and just go layer by layer. If I’m doing any type of drawing or painting for myself it usually takes me a while. If I had to guess the average, probably around 2/3 months. Only because It’s hard to find the time to be creative for “ME” and the other thing is that It’s exhausting wanting to be this creative all the time. So sometimes I don’t have the energy for my personal art.
Is this your full-time job? If so, where do you work? I am fortunate enough to have this career as a full time job. I work at Skin Deep Studio in Roscoe, Illinois. It’s a great place to work in means of cleanliness and a family friendly environment. We have a really good team with strong artists.
What are your future goals for your pieces? I am pushing myself professionally and artistically by competing in more Tattoo Competitions/Conventions. I just recently competed in the Milwaukee Tattoo Convention and placed 2nd in Large Female Black and gray(not bad for my first try). But I want to really push and see how far I can go. I want to enter into at least 5 different competitions/conventions this next year along with trying to travel and tattoo at some of my friends' tattoo shops across the whole country next year! I know I will be visiting Tennessee, Indiana, Florida(Ocean Side) and possibly Arizona or Nevada(not sure yet which one) but this career is just starting for me and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. As a core artist, painter. truly, It's events like this that continue to push me as a core “Individual” artist.
What do you want us to know about your art, your design, or anything at all?
My Art is literally a piece of me. It’s all the mistakes I have made and the knowledge that has been given to me because of them. Everything goes into my paintings and that goes the same for all my tattoos. (yes, even the feathers & infinity symbols.) My art is who I am, genuinely, how I’m feeling. I even write little notes and stories on the back of all of my canvases. So... If you decide to purchase one of my paintings, you will get to read all the notes and stories I wrote when that particular painting was being created.
What is your background? My mom is at the core root of my artistry. She was always crafty and always had markers and paper around as a kid. She supported me with countless art supplies and notebooks over the years. When I was a freshman I was placed in a junior and senior painting class. My mom met me at Hobby Lobby hours later cause I didn’t have the supplies that they had...she was there. My mom is the reason I have art running through my veins. It’s just one part of our mother son bond but one that we can share even without words. We can look at it, and both see the possibilities
Why should people come to DEVIATE? Why should people come to check out YOUR booth at DEVIATE? My booth is already on your list of booths NOT to miss, you just don’t know it yet. At some point in the night of the show someone you know will come up asking “Did you see the tattoo booth!?” I do not do anything quietly, so maybe I can Tattoo LIVE for you guys!?
If that’s not able to be put together then maybe I will be body painting on LIVE models? Who knows? Maybe there will be a half pipe built but it will be something worth checking out. I will be there all night and if you DON’T want to laugh stay away from my booth. I know people are going to want to talk about tattoos and I will be there all night to talk about them.