Aries Rhysing on geometric art, his family of artists and his new project
Early on in his career, Aries Rhysing heard many times that his style of art wouldn't transfer well into tattoos. But Rhysing persisted, and he has now mastered creating tattoos that incorporate the hypnotizing art of sacred geometry. Originally from Minneapolis and more recently living in New Mexico, Rhysing has been in Colorado for almost two years. He currently works at Sol Tribe, and is starting a project to donate the proceeds of his art to local charities. Westword caught up with Rhysing, who talked about geometrical art, his family of artists and his new project.
Images courtesy of Aries Rhysing. Aries Rhysing's art incorporates sacred geometry and mandalas.
Westword: How did you end up in Denver?
Aries Rhysing: I moved here most recently from New Mexico. I lived in Taos. I moved here so my sons could get into the better school systems, and that has been really successful. One of them auditioned and got accepted at Denver School of the Arts, so that validates the whole move. It's a huge accomplishment, so we're really proud of him. And we happen to love Denver, too. I've been coming here to work for Alicia and Kevin, who own the shop, for about five years as a guest artist. So I went full-time.
How long have you been in the tattoo industry?
How did you get started?
It's kind of a long story. I tried my hand at tattooing a couple times before I really took it seriously. In my younger years, I guess, I just didn't have the discipline mixed with the opportunities and the other things necessary to really grab hold of this, because it is kind of a multifaceted career. You're an artist, you design tattoos, you do tattoos, and I also build machines. So I wasn't ready for all that when I first started. When my younger son was on the way, I was managing a juice bar, making smoothies and carrot juice and wheatgrass shots for joggers in the community I lived in. I was waking up at 4 a.m. and working until sometimes midnight, when the store would close. My salary was okay, but I wasn't feeling very artistically fulfilled, and I knew that if I didn't have a job and a career path that really showed that I love my life, I would be a bitter dad and I would probably be overworked and stressed, and that wasn't the lesson I wanted to teach my sons. I want to teach them to do what you love, and pursue it as a career if you can. That's why I pursued it this last time around. So I taught myself, at that point.
What do you think sets tattooing apart from other types of art?
First and foremost, the relationship that we have to have with our clients. I mean, our clients are what we work on, on their terms as well as ours, versus a visual artist who works in paint, or a filmmaker or even a musician: They make their music on their own and then share it with people, so to speak. We have to share our art with people as we're working on them, so I think that really sets it apart, beyond anything else. I also think it has expanded my horizons as an artist quite a bit, because I don't get to do just want I want to do. I'm always being pushed in one direction or another for the client, which I love because I have the styles I work in and then I manifest those styles through the ideas of the people I work with. So it's really enriching.
What are those styles that you work in?
I love doing anything that has to do with geometric aspects, sacred geometry, mandalas. Anything inspired from the traditional forms of tribal art that have repetition and geometry in them, I love. I love neo-Japanese. But ultimately, anything somebody comes to me with that they're passionate about, especially if it's something to do with their spiritual beliefs or something they've been able to survive on their life's path, I love to take those ideas and make them into artwork for the person. If tattooing can be transformative, that's what I'm all about.
Continue reading for the rest of the Q&A with Rhysing.