It’s all or noting for tattoo artist Brandon Bond.
Not only is All or Nothing the name of his studio in Smyrna , Georgia , a suburb of Atlanta , it’s also the way he sees his life and his art.
“Everything in my life is based around tattooing and I love it,” says Brandon , 32, “All tattoo artists should be that way; we look like tattoo artists, we act like tattoo artists, we breathe like tattoo artists, and that’s who we are.”
There’s no use wasting words noting Bond’s achievements. Google “Brandon Bond Tattoo” and you’ll 217,000 results �" everything from interviews to merchandise to tattoo pictures to listings of his umpteen awards. I’ve got Brandon on the phone on a Sunday morning. I tell him I’ve got to keep the article to 1000 words; I mean, I’m mot writing a book. He says that’s cool, he’s already got that format covered with Whore, his insane outburst of photos, drawing, and verbiage he’s described as “extremely personal, powerful, motivating, artistic, and f**ked up…and uncomfortable window into an extremely disturbing and blunt reality.”
Brandon opened All or Nothing Tattoo in 2004. At first it was Brandon on his lonesome. It wasn’t long before Dave Tedder (“an all-around bad muther f**ker”), now shop manager, and tattooer Albie Rock made their appearance. “That’s when everything started to explode into something greater that I could’ve ever anticipated,” Brandon says.
The simple townsfolk of Smyrna weren’t quite ready for Brandon and his gang. There’d never been a tattoo shop in town, but Brandon was determined to make this his home. “It was an insane pain in the ass. They were rebuilding the city and making it all yuppified. I had to show them we weren’t trying to build some f**khead biker drug shop and that we were just good artists.”
Where some businesses sponsor little league baseball teams to show goodwill in the community, All or Nothing supports the city’s police SWAT team. “We pay for their outfits and they let us be the bad guys during their training exercises,” Brandon says. “One time there were snipers on the roof and they ended up tear gassing us and breaching the house, killing us. I shot five of them before we went down. It was awesome.”
Having an art gallery in the shop also helped spin peoples preconceived negative notions about tattooing. “The mayor even came to our first gallery reception. Now it’s cool and the community has accepted us really well.”
All or Nothing Tattoo has become one of the busiest studios in the state, if not the country. They were recently named Best Tattoo Parlor and Best Piercing Studio in Atlanta . Brandon was even honored as Best Friend of the Arts and Tedder was picked as Best Emerging Visual Artist.
“The crew that’s involved is amazing, ”Brandon says of All or Nothings family of artists, including Sean Herman, Joe Waulken, Josh Woods, Tim Orth, Tim McGrath, Chris Vennekamp, Matt Dunlap, John Lloyd, Jeff Paetzold, Bryan Reynolds, and piercer Max Brand. “They all have such diverse styles, yet they all work together on every image and bust each others balls and make each piece different.”
Brandon has feigned retirement a number of times, but he’ll be the first to admit he’s busier than he’s ever been. His bold style he describes as “realism with illustrative execution techniques. Images that have life, color, vibrancy, and intensity…images that jump off the skin and b*tch slap you.”
“More than anything, I’m influenced by my staff. We’re constantly inundated by our own stuff and that makes us grow and develop our own unique niche.”
If you want to know Brandon and the crew’ bag of tricks, you can by their new instructional DVD. Currently there’re all about H2Ocean aftercare products and they predominately run Pulse Tattoo Machines. One of the most asked questions is which brand of ink they prefer. To that Brandon says,”If there was a magic type of ink, then everyone would buy it and their shit would look the same. If I had to tattoo with just on set of inks from some random company, I’m sure the tattoos would still look good, but they wouldn’t be near as intense or bright or crazy.”
When the master self-promoter/entrepreneur isn’t busy developing videos, signing limited edition flash sets, or selling his wares through StrangleholdMerch.com
, he can be found at A.N.T.I. Art Elite Galleries, his own private tattoo sanctuary.
“It’s everything I could ever want in a tattoo studio with absolutely no distractions or interruptions. There’s no telephone, no walk-ins, no sign,” Brandon says of the 6,000-square-foot space that houses two movie screens, two koi fish ponds, two galleries, wireless video games in every room, a luxurious Jacuzzi, and a bathroom worth $40K with decorative, hand-laid, Brazilian flooring and sandblasted and etched glass.
A.N.T.I. Art Elite is for serious clients willing to throw down a couple of grand on a session. To Brandon ’s thinking, that’s a deal, not only for the experience and the serenity, but also for the chance to be worked on by some of the best in the business.
“I didn’t want to open another public studio. Quality tends to suffer when you own more than one public studio. We had all this money and I figured we should spend it on what made us that money, and make an environment for our artists and clients. Because there are no distractions, the work reveals that focus.”
“The sky’s the limit and there’s nothing that can’t be done,” Says Brandon , adding that the ultimate goal is to share the love. “I want to be able to give something back because tattooing has given so much to me.”
And that’s 1000 words. What more is there to say?