Josh Duffy comes from a family of artists and painters. He grew up with a focus on music and learned to play several instruments. His love for art followed shortly after. He never thought he would be an artist but started painting and soon after got into tattooing. He moved from California several years later to Peoria, Arizona, and open Black Castle Art. His dark surrealism and combined bio mech designs are admired by many artists in the tattoo community and collected on clients’ skin, around the world.
Black & Grey Dark Surrealism combine with Bio Mech
IT’S BEEN OVER A YEAR SINCE THE GRAND OPENING OF BLACK CASTLE ART CO. WHAT HAS YOUR FIRST YEAR BEEN LIKE?
DEFINE YOUR STYLE OF TATTOOING. WHAT MAKES YOUR STYLE DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE FROM OTHER TATTOO ARTISTS?
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO TRANSITION INTO TATTOOING, COMING FROM A FAMILY OF PAINTERS?
I gravitated more towards tattooing because there was no crazy, messy cleanup. There was no traveling to onsite jobs. Going to and from locations at six in the morning. Destinations that were over an hour away. Then after having to work all day, set up, clean everything up, clean the brushes, scrub the buckets, and all that bullshit. Drive back in traffic to get back home and be too exhausted to do anything else, just to go to sleep. That’s why I tattoo. I get to sit here all day and draw pretty pictures on people.
ARE THERE OTHER FORMS OF MEDIA YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH? SCULPTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY… ETC?
Well, I didn’t ever want to be an artist. I was a musician and that’s what I wanted to do for a living. I have been in and out of bands since I was 15 years old. OH NICE, WHAT INSTRUMENT DID YOU PLAY? Guitar mainly but I started on accordion and then my second instrument was piano. I had my own personal piano teacher for like four years. After learning piano everything comes easy. You learn the treble and the bass. DO YOU READ SHEET MUSIC OR PLAY BY EAR. Hell no I can’t even read children’s books haha.
SPEAKING OF CHILDREN. HOW MANY DO YOU HAVE? I have three kids, a four-year-old, ten-year-old, and twelve year old. DO THEY HAVE AN INTEREST IN ART LIKE THEIR DAD? They show promise but it’s really hard to say what they really want to do and what their interests are right now. It’s like when I was their age I wanted to be a musician but then slowly but surely I came around to the dark side.
HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA HELPED YOU AS AN ARTIST & YOUR BUSINESS.
When I started tattooing, shortly after there was MySpace. MySpace didn’t last that long. I think it only lasted a couple of years. That was like the first break into sharing online and we were finally able to view each others’ work. We were all freaking out about it and it was awesome. That’s how people started finding us. Social media since then has blossomed and now we have Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter and all these crazy ways of sharing. Instagram comes along with photos where people can comment easily, with a feed that shows everyone that you are following. So it’s pretty cool.
DO YOU SEE ANY CONS TO SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE SHARING OF ORIGINAL ARTWORK & COPYING?
How can I put this… It doesn’t really matter. There are going to be those people that complain about it and the people that complain about it aren’t doing a damn thing to change it. You change it on the daily by progressing in your own style so that what people are copying now, is shit that you did a year ago. So don’t sit there and complain… CHANGE! So it’s like you say people are sitting there looking online… You can have a candy dish, you don’t have to eat the candy all the time. It’s the same thing with other people’s artwork, you know it’s going to be on there but I try and NOT to look at other people’s artwork so much because I want to focus on my own work. I’m really not worried about what other people are doing.
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR BLACK CASTLE ART CO. OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
I would like to start teaching art classes here. I want to start having big name artists come here and maybe have like four or five workshops a year. Maybe have my mom teach one, Sergio Sanchez and my buddy Jamie lee Parker. Spice it up and bring some attention and little more awareness to the art community as well as the tattoo community. A lot of people forget that to become better on the skin you need to become better on canvas and paper. You need to be a better artist, it has nothing to with this (points to sleeve he is working on) – this is just a result of what happens over here. (points to one of his paintings hanging on the wall “Mephistopheles”)
I would like to start teaching classes to teach people. You don’t have to be doing coverups, our whole industry can progress forward, where everyone is doing great work. Pushing each other so that the next generation, cause I can’t tattoo forever, you can’t tattoo forever – to pass the torch and make it beautiful for the next journey. It took someone to create the first automobile to get what we have now. Now we have Teslas.