One of the biggest names in tattooing is Atlanta's own Brandon Bond. Aside from being the owner and chief artist at the award winning studio, All or Nothing Tattoo, Bond is a filmmaker and owner of the Strangehold Publishing Company - a brand that sells movies, books, clothing, artwork and other tattoo related products. One of Bond's greatest contributions to the tattooing community has been his tattoo instructional DVD series, The Whole Enchilada. More recently, the acclaimed artist has extended his helping hands outside the ink world to save canine lives with the Atlanta Pitbull Rescue organization.
REBEL INK: We recently saw an article in Time Magazine, mentioning you for tattooing 50 Cent, Nas, as well as, various athletes, such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., and other celebrities. What is it like to meet these people and work with them?
Brandon Bond: All or Nothing attracts an extremely diverse client base from all over the world. The artists at the shop are constantly tattooing bands, rappers, sports folks, and various assorted surprises here and there. You never know who you will run into at the shop. Meeting celebrities is no different than meeting anyone else; all people are different, some are amazing and some are terrible. I generally get along with most famous folks, as I understand their need for privacy and discretion. Some want us to film and many do not. Some want to meet the rest of our artists, and some want to just come in and out through the "secret" entrance with no mention of them ever being there. We have worked with many that we have not "admitted" to - as per their request for discretion, which I always honor. I will say some are exactly what you would expect, and by that I mean in a negative way. I did not get along with Kelis [Nas' ex-wife, the "Milkshake Girl"] or Mike Tyson. They, too, can suck it just like my old principal.
You recently won an award for one of the documentaries you created - Vicktory To The Underdog. Do you enjoy making films, and how were you so successful in an area you know nothing about?
I absolutely hated making that film and See You In Hell Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (which is done by the way). In the YouTube video of the AOF awards, you see me addressing a standing ovation of filmmakers, giving me an award for doing what they do. It was weird, and my response was genuine. I don't like making films, shorts are fun, but full-scale, long productions are more insane than you can possibly imagine. Out of everything I have ever done, making Vicktory was the hardest, and I didn't even get paid from that one. So I respect filmmakers, but I don't want to be in their "club." I like tattoo artists, thank you. They are far more genuine by nature.
Your instructional seminar DVD series, The Whole Enchilada, has become a household name in tattooing. Talk to me about the reselling, pirating, transfer of information.
Joshua Carlton, Nate Beavers and I were all working at All or Nothing, and we were getting a lot of the same questions from other artists about the techniques we were executing. Wrong questions like, "What kind of ink makes that so bright," and dumb sh*t like that. I was already touring, teaching seminars live, and I couldn't show the tattoo process up close. Also, I was covering so much material in only two hours that students and young tattooers were having trouble keeping up and retaining all of the information. Enter the "zoom and rewind" buttons. All of a sudden, we could shoot straight to an example, up close with editing, and people could rewind and watch it again and again. It was genius in theory and paid a lot better than traveling, all from the comfort of being in Atlanta. We would supply specific seminars to specific artists only, and it worked. I created an online company and a technical forum, specifically to help those who were participating in our series of videos. For the purpose of not allowing the DVDs to get into the wrong hands, we regulated every single disc that was sent out. I never agreed to allow distributors to get a hold of it, not even Kingpin Tattoo Supply, so that we could control everywhere the disc ended up, but eventually bootleggers came into the equation. We thought that might happen and prepared in advance for it. The discs are digitally imprinted and match each order, so every time something is distributed without our permission, that order is forwarded to the attorneys. People seem to forget that IP addresses, order numbers, eBay, torrent downloads, all of that is digital.
Are we ever going to see a Volume 3?
We get a lot of mail about that, but we probably won't do it. Why should I if sh*theads can't respect the information? [Laughs] I have spoken at length with Nikko, and many of the seminar DVD guys coming out about this exact thing - piracy and redistribution. For now, I'm out of that game. Sales continue, and will until we are out of stock, which will be soon. Once they are gone, they might be gone forever.
Now that you are returning to tattooing, would you ever consider doing some "surprise" convention visits and be available for an appointment or two?
Hell no. I did 14 years of constant touring. Nowadays, to get me off my ranch, you gotta wave an awful lot of money at me. I love my home, my dogs, and my life. I've worked really hard to get here, and I hate leaving.
How can one get work done by you?
Super easy. Email email@example.com and get the ball rolling!
Article by Clive Young
From the March 2011 issue of Rebel Ink