We sat down with longtime Sullen Artist Series creator Jaime Kerr to talk about everything tattoo-inspired clothing and what got him into the world of tattoos. Jaime is one of the early contributors to Sullen’s collection of tattoo artist shirts, best known for his most popular designs including “Crush” and “Daydream.”
Every week, Sullen Clothing drops a new graphic shirt featuring art created by new and established tattoo artists like Jaime that are part of our Artist Series. Jaime first got pulled into the Sullen Artist Series thanks to his wicked Chicano-style tattoo and airbrush designs. Now, he’s become a regular of our Artist Series.
In this interview, he talks about how he got into tattooing and how he dropped his very first Sullen art tattoo design alongside tattoo legend Jak Connolly.
An Interview with a Sullen Artist Series Staple
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background as an artist?
“I grew up in the Southwest of the UK, and from a young age, I was always drawing. Like many people, I loved art but didn’t know how to make a living out of it. I left school and went to art college, but as soon as I left I went straight into doing normal jobs. I finally ended up working in construction.
It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I had a job that required artistic skills, and from here I went on to start my own business as a mural and airbrush artist. This became a good business but it required me to be abroad a lot, and I needed to be home more to be with my young family.”
What are some themes or concepts that often show up in your work?
“Before tattooing, I already had a big influence of Chicano culture through my airbrushing, so this is naturally where I went with my tattooing and Sullen t-shirt designs.”
How did you first become involved with Sullen and the Artist Series?
“It was around 2014-15 that Sullen reached out to me because of a Sullen badge design I put out on my Instagram page. They were doing an IG artist series with other artists like Chris Herra and Kit King.
I decided to look into tattooing as a possible career and I was lucky enough to get an apprenticeship with the legendary Jak Connolly. He couldn’t believe that I had a Sullen tee coming out as he had one coming out also!
After the first tee came out I would send Ryan a design every now and then, some were good enough to make the cut, some weren’t. Over the last 8-9 years, I’ve been lucky enough to have many Sullen tees come out, and I think that it’s down to having a good working relationship with Ryan.”
Can you describe your design process for the pieces featured in the Sullen Artist Series? What were some of your sources of inspiration for the designs?
“I think that it’s really important to be open to suggestions with art. Sometimes I'll do a design that I know will do well, and sometimes Ryan will add or suggest something that will take it to another level, something I may not have thought of. I think this is one of the most important things when making art as a business.
Sometimes I’ll keep a good tattoo design back if I’ll think it would make a good tee! Usually, something with a mix of good composition and good contrast works well for a t-shirt print.
I design most of my shirts by digitally painting in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet, although I’m now trying to learn to draw on an iPad in Procreate. I really like using pencils if I have time, but digital painting is a much faster process.”
Can you share with us any particular designs or tattoos that you are particularly proud of or that have had a significant impact on your career?
“I think ‘Crush’ and ‘Daydream’ are two of my favorite designs but I’m also really proud of how quickly the ‘Kings Fall’ sold out, I think in one day they’d all gone!
One of the best things about doing the Sullen tees is getting tagged in people's posts and seeing them wearing your design around the world, even as far as places like Thailand. One personal highlight was seeing Eric Bobo of Cypress Hill wearing one of my first tees on stage.”
Lastly, what message do you hope to convey through your work as a tattoo artist and your designs for the Sullen Artist Series?
“When you have a popular tee design it’s cool, it means that you’ve done something which resonates with a lot of people. The challenge afterward is to always improve on the last one, and level up.
I’m hoping to continue creating good designs for Sullen, and that people keep enjoying what I put out there with the help of Ryan. Hopefully one day I'd like to put out a book out, with some of the best designs as well as other artwork.”
Tattoo-Inspired Clothing from Sullen’s Artist Series
Jaime Kerr is a longstanding contributor to our Artist Series, and for a good reason. His blend of Chicano design, strong contrasting details, and bold motifs have made his shirts near-instant bestsellers.
Along with Jaime, dozens of other famous and up-and-coming tattoo artists have their work featured on Sullen’s Artist Series with new releases every Tuesday.
From the Sullen Artist Series came one of our most popular products yet—the Sullen Artist Series Subscription, your key to getting your hands on a stunning variety of different Sullen curated tattoo art shirt designs long before anyone else. Whether you’re looking to get the jump on new releases, or just want to keep your wardrobe fresh and filled with badass clothing, subscribing to the series will guarantee you get a brand-new graphic shirt delivered to your door every month.