Breaking the Bank

"If You Don't Belong Here, Don't Be Long" by Scott Campbell

Scott Campbell’s 2009 solo exhibition at OHWOW, Miami, was a sell-out. This must have come as something of a relief, given the tattooist-turned-artist’s confessed shyness about entering the gallery space. “In the beginning,” he says, “I had a bit of insecurity, because here I was coming from this blue-collar craft, trying to communicate in the art world.” Despite this initial humility, Campbell soon realized that his decade-plus experience behind the needle—and knack for distilling his clients' emotions into visceral visual symbols—was core to his vision, and that in turn his artworks could feed his tattoo designs. His latest works, which go on show tomorrow at OHWOW’s new Manhattan outpost on Crosby Street, incorporate his favored motifs—elaborately scripted aphorisms, cartoon characters and rock’n’roll imagery—into a range of paintings and sculptures. Most striking is the Dollar Bill series, in which Campbell used a laser cutting machine to carve effigies and slogans into stacks of glued-together banknotes. “Money is a sacred thing,” he says. “People pay attention just because of the medium. To take something that’s so iconic and precious and destroy it for the sake of communicating an idea…that gives that idea a little more weight."

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Conversations (2)

  • O!O
    Scott Campbell is a great inspiration on me! Love his work!
    • Posted By O!O
    • February 16, 2011 at 8:22PM
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  • raimondo
    You carry weight man, you ROCK. You are inspiring, inspired!
    • Posted By raimondo
    • September 09, 2010 at 3:22AM
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