Height: Medium.
Age: Old
Years Tattooing: Since ’98.
Years as an artist: This is a silly question.
Favorite Medium: People… Also carpentry & welding.
Style: Tribal, or “culturally based high contrast abstract forms”.
Published in: Television: Tattoo Wars. Books: Black Tattoo Art, Southern California Road Trip.
Magazines: Skin & Ink, Tattoo Life, Tattoo, International Tattoo Art, Tattoo Burst.
Favorite Band: Any toothless old bluesman.
Favorite Food: Sushi. Spuds. Frijoles. Not at the same time…
Favorite Thing Ever: Nap time.

Rory Keating

About Rory Keating

I sometimes think of what I do as culturally-based tattooing. I try to study the many and various tattoo traditions, but it’s also possible to create culturally specific tattoos that are based on designs taken from fabric, pottery, or what-have-you.

I try always to put a contemporary slant on my designs, maintaining the look and feel of the original tradition, but out of respect, not taking the tradition too literally. I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes.

In addition to the culturally-based designs, the tattoo world uses the word Tribal to describe most designs that are black and abstract. The contemporary Tribal style pioneered by Leo Zulueta was a new creation, drawing from Borneo art, Art Nouveau, and American hot rod flames.

It was Leo’s bold, clean work that first caught my eye years ago, looking like something that was sculpted perfectly for the human body, like perhaps the designs had simply grown on the person. In searching for an artist to tattoo me, I also found my teacher, and I apprenticed under Leo in 1997.   You can watch the full episode of Tattoo Wars, featuring Leo and myself, on YouTube.

To Book an Appointment

You can phone or e-mail me any time with questions, but talking face to face is ultimately the best way to deal with visual ideas. To that end, I usually do two stages of consultation. The first consultation can be fairly quick and easy, just going over your basic ideas and making sure that they work as a tattoo. Then, I put you on my waiting list, and when we get close to an actual open tattoo date we sit down and have a real detailed meeting about your project, takes pictures, look at various design references, set up the actual appointment(s) and drop off a deposit.

The first consultation can happen almost any time that I’m at the shop. My schedule varies week to week, so please phone me to figure out a good window for dropping by.

Visitors from out of town should set up an appointment as soon as they know their travel plans, to insure there’s enough time for their tattoo.

Upcoming Conventions and/or Guestspots

Arterial Tatouages – Lyon, France. May 24 through 28


For appointments, people should contact Artribal, and/or e-mail me personally.

Schedule a consultation
with Rory Keating