Deerjerk: Bridging the Gap Between Fine Art and Tattoos

Deerjerk: Bridging the Gap Between Fine Art and Tattoos

We spoke with Bryn Perrott, the artist behind the wildly popular woodcuts, about her creative process and what inspires her.

Jane Doe
A series of woodcuts with one foot firmly rooted in fine art and the other in the tattoo community, Deerjerk is the brainchild of artist Bryn Perrott @deerjerk, who perfectly combines the iconography of tattooing with the artistry and craftsmanship of woodworking. Creating dark, hand carved images of rabbits, mermaids, and other whimsical creatures, Perrott’s work is proof that fine art and tattoos really aren’t so different after all. During her eight years of working in tattoo shops as counter help, Perrot was gaining constant inspiration from the artists that surrounded her on a daily basis.

The imagery overlaps because of basic rules of simplified images.

Bryn Perrott

Deerjerk: Bridging the Gap Between Fine Art and Tattoos
Cat and the Moon

Deerjerk: Bridging the Gap Between Fine Art and Tattoos
Perrot teaching a workshop

Perrott has been an artist for over fifteen years, initially beginning her career as a print maker, a skill that has served her well during that time. While she no longer considers herself a print maker, her woodcuts are incredibly similar to the art of printmaking. “The process I use is a reduction woodblock that I don't print,” says Perrott. “The block stands alone as the piece.”

Deerjerk: Bridging the Gap Between Fine Art and Tattoos
Mother and Son

Deerjerk: Bridging the Gap Between Fine Art and Tattoos
Ghoulish figures

Using a labor intensive process that takes hours upon hours to complete, the first step in creating her woodcuts starts out remarkably simply — with a sketch. “I draw my images first, then enlarge them to make a stencil for the wood. I then cut my shapes out of the wood and paint it black,” explains Perrott. “Then I use the stencil to lay the image on the block. From that point I carve in a reduction method. A lot of the image detail comes as I carve, meaning I have a plan, but it isn't physically visible — just the stencil structure is.”

Deerjerk: Bridging the Gap Between Fine Art and Tattoos
Prayer

Deerjerk: Bridging the Gap Between Fine Art and Tattoos
Bryn Perrott

But when all's said and done, and the last relief is finally cut out, its edges sanded and scraped into submission, what’s left is an unbelievably thoughtful piece of art. With each twist and turn of her woodworking tools, Perrott creates imaginative takes on classic tattoo imagery, that leaves you wishing that her website wasn’t completely sold out. But fear not, as she also does commissioned carvings, and frequently makes the rounds at tattoo conventions, always bringing her latest creations with her.
Perrott’s work is proof that beauty can be found in everything, even in a nondescript hunk of wood, if you only look hard enough.