Lured by the mystique of the needle, world-renowned tattoo artist Mike Rubendall is certainly the king of his own creation. Owner and artist at King’s Avenue Tattoo in Massapequa, NY, he lived by the mantra that he would become a tattoo artist by “Any Means Necessary.”
The Humble Beginnings
At just seventeen years old Rubendall was curious about the expression of body art. An avid listener of rock bands and heavy metal, the bands were all prominently tattooed and naturally, that made Mike curious about the culture.
His fascination grew, although Rubendall was uncertain the lifestyle of a tattoo artist would ever be a good fit. Mike was nervous, apprehensive, and full of doubt at first- but he still couldn’t resist the magic of his true calling.
The year was 1995, and so he began his first tattoo apprenticeship at Da Vinci Tattoo. It was there he was taught the old school ways of learning and respecting the craft while earning very little and paying his dues, in lieu of the trade secrets that would later make him one of the most sought-out tattoo artists in the world, with a client waiting list booked eighteen months in advance.
Evolution of an Artist
Opting for late nights at the tattoo shop rather than partying with his friends, Rubendall became increasingly interested in honing his talent. He studied technique, styles, and the history of tattooing (certain to carve a little place of his own during the process).
In 2003 Rubendall paired his perfected craft with world-renowned Danish tattoo artist Henning Jorgensen, and the two talents opened an online flash company named Tattoo Elite International. This creative venture helped pave the way for emerging artists and called attention to the positive and exciting changes that were happening within the tattoo industry.
Perhaps it is Rubendall’s ability to communicate with all different types of people or his genuine interest in translating ideas onto living canvas, eventually the time came for Mike to spread his wings and fly.
Despite his ongoing loyalty to Frank Romano, owner of Da Vinci Tattoo, Mike went solo and successfully opened King’s Avenue Tattoo in Massapequa,NY, within just ten years of inking his very first tattoo.
The Art Style of Mike Rubendall
Traveling the world over- from China, Italy, and Spain to Japan, Rubendall is most passionate about Japanese mythology and tattoo designs, mostly because they hold up well and have many different meanings and allure.
While he finds plenty of inspiration for Japanese tattooing in books and on the Internet, actual life experiences such as visiting the temples and the statues and embracing the people and the culture have added an element of realism and truth to all of his Japanese tattoos, making him one of the most talented artists within the genre.
Capturing the Magic of Tattoos
Mike Rubendall has been quoted that he wanted to capture the magic of tattooing. With that he’s carried the torch of his mentors and the artists before him and worked very hard while staying humble. Rubendall spent nearly two decades proving you get out, what you put in. No matter the challenge.
Whether that be trips to Japan, or late nights spent drawing, there’s a certain magic to be had in the moment. (Seize it!)
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Images courtesy Mike Rubendall