Welcome back, boys and girls of all ages! As you may recall, I began a summer project, spotlighting various artists within our local tattoo community. Many of you were delighted to learn a bit about our Erika Jo, and have been oh-so-patient in waiting for the next riveting installment…
Well, let’s be honest. My summer project has, apparently, turned into a more long-range project. What, with the multitudes of topics needing to be addressed and the multitude of deserving artists in our region, I have decided to go with an inside-out approach. It’s always going to be easier to lock down the interviews with our own people, which allows me time to pester a few more individuals out there into interviewing for the Spotlight. That being said, buckle up, kids.
Tony 4-Fingers. His very name conjures images of wise-cracking and dangerous wiseguy types from the height of the Chicago and New York mafia heydays. Nowadays, such a nostalgic reference is cool to have, but I assure you, the man himself is more cool than your imagination can envision. Real-world cool.
Internet, meet Tony 4-Fingers.
Tony Stannard, one of the three co-founding artists at Trinity Art Collective, is a person of rare presence. He’s quick with a smile and a joke, and even quicker with a seemingly endless amount of talent for his craft. He began in a way that many would imagine a tattoo artist really should. From a young age, Tony was drawn to the enigma of Tattoo. Like many of us, he spent much of his time drawing all over himself and others with ball-point pens, to the chagrin of more than a few hopeful parents, to be sure.
Born and raised on the South Side of our lovely desert city, he witnessed our own local legend, Rocket Rick, doing his thing and was hooked. In the earliest days he experimented with more primitive forms of tattooing during high school. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, “Just drawing and doodling around,” in his words. He was persuaded to use his first tax return to purchase the venerable Spaulding and Rogers setup. Brings back memories for a few of us, eh?
Keeping things careful, Tony focused on simple, fundamental designs while serving. It was on the occasion of a tour of duty in Okinawa that he began to gently push his own limits as a tattoo artist, and really set himself to the task of earning those hours and hours of experience. Having sought apprenticeship in tattooing in California and North Carolina, (receiving the usual bullshit excuses and shoot-down tactics those years were known for,) he gave up on waiting for someone to give him a chance to follow his calling.
Spend five minutes with Tony and you will be convinced of one thing, universally. This is a smart, insightful individual. In the face of multiple rejections, he formulated a plan. Being a tactile-minded man, he began getting tattooed. Any artist knows that to watch is to learn, and Tony was on a mission. He dissected and reassembled his machines and equipment, learning the function of every part, taking note of the many ways they could be adjusted and tuned.
One fateful day, Tony’s wife bumped into an old friend from where she attended art school. The friend? Kevin Patrick. After a meeting and demonstration of his ability, Tony began working at a shop alongside Kevin and Jake, and after 6 years of juggling his spot at the shop and his job as a civilian contractor overseas, the three of them put their cards on the table and Trinity Art Collective was born.
“If it was not for my wife running into Kevin Patrick and working with him and Jake Kloos,” Tony says, “I don’t think I would have ever started this tattooing career.
” I truly believe,” he continues, “that running into the right people at the right time is everything in the tattoo industry.” I think we can all agree on that, Tony.
Now home from his overseas adventuring and tattooing full time at his own establishment, it’s a safe bet that our guy Tony is having a blast and stays happy everyday.
Tony is still a bit new to the larger world of tattoo exposure, having spent so many of his years serving the causes of freedom and country for more than half of his time. Don’t let that fool you, folks…it’s a clever ruse. This dude can tattoo like a man possessed! His razor-sharp line work and masterfully smooth color and shadow blending is a thing of beauty to watch, and even better to own. Having such a self-imposed focus on fundamentals in the early years have made a strong suite of tools in his proverbial toolbox. There is no tattoo, of any style, that Tony could not execute.
Having an early fascination for the Asian tattoo subjects and the intense dedication of the Asian masters to their trade, Tony absolutely loves Asian themed tattoos. If you want a big beautiful Asian inspired tattoo, you have just made this man very happy, indeed! Tony has also been influenced by the legendary body of work and almost Yogi-like approach to tattoo of Filip Leu.
When pressed, however, you will find that Tony’s top-shelf influence is the one and only Jeff Gogue. Jeff has spent his energies to inspire people through and with THEIR art. Yes, you read that right. An artist that uses his influence to help and guide other artists…and Mr. 4-Fingers would have no less of himself. You hear me, Jeff Gogue? You need to meet this guy…I think you’d have a lot to talk about.
He cites the crew here at Trinity Art Collective as a positive force, pushing him to expand his art and his tattooing every day. Tony constantly searches out the new and innovative techniques and approaches that other artists, always pushing himself to bigger and better horizons in tattooing. This is an artist, relentless in his craft.
Now that you have read this entire article, I will tell you what I have been holding back. Yes, you’ve been waiting for me to drop this secret…you know the one. You’ve been waiting to read about the reason behind the name Tony 4-Fingers…well, it’s no secret. You just have to shake his hand and ask him. HAH!
This is Tony 4-Fingers.
Tony Stannard aka Tony 4-Fingers
Tony@tac520.com FB: Tony Stannard IG: T4fingers TW:@Tony 4 Fingers