Typically figures without pupils, bats, wolves, crows and of course skulls, all in black and grey. The unique works of Róbert Borbás aka Grindesign are the modern interpretations of the illustrations of Gustave Doré and the etchings of Albrecht Dürer, in the form of tattoos on top. And since August, they can also be admired in an album: the “10 years of Grindesign” – as it is also given away by the title – encompasses the past ten years of the internationally renowned tattoo artist. One thing that makes this volume particularly outstanding is, amongst others, that no similar publications have been published before about the oeuvre of a Hungarian tattooist.
The „10 years of Grindesign” album showcasing the works of Róbert Borbás was published by Tattoo Life, as part of the „The Great Books on The Art of Tattooing” series. The volume presenting three hundred works of artists inspiring several foreign tattooists is a true curiosity. “No books have been published about Hungarian tattooists yet, and I don’t know of any publishers that would have published an album on the works of a Hungarian tattoo artist. It’s also an immense honor as practically until now, they only published the volumes of legendary tattooists and trendsetters, who are role models for me, too, including Filip Leu, Horiyoshi III., Thomas Hooper and Joao Bosco. These are must-have pieces on my shelf, and now I can put my album next to them…” – Róbert told us.
Miki Vialetto, the head of publishing company Tattoo Life contacted Borbás during the quarantine and invited him to participate in a virtual exhibition organized by him – the idea of the album came up during a long conversation related to the exhibition. Even though Tattoo Life plans to publish only a few books in 2020, Robi’s book was published as the second one, right after Mike Dorsey’s.
„What strikes me most about him is that on skin he manages to recreate exactly the same imagery and technique that he uses in his illustrations, the same power, elegance and profusion of details which make each of his images such endless source of delight. Robert has been an innovator in Black and Grey, not just in terms of this visual aspect of the subjects he uses so redolent of the Middle Ages embellished with Renaissance details, but also because of his technique which blends the fine black line, typical of the etchings of Albrecht Dürer and Gustave Doré, with the purest dotwork which originated in and is solely used in tattoo for shading.” – wrote Miki Vialetto about Róbert in the preface of the book.
The work between Róbert and the publisher went very smoothly: they agreed on the length and form of the special album promptly, and then after selecting the nearly six hundred works, sketches and concepts made over the past ten years and following three weeks of intensive work, the book made it to the printing house. The „10 years of Grindesign” consisting of five chapters and mainly showcasing illustrations became the most wanted publication of Tattoo Life within a short time – there are only a few copies left.
For the occasion of the book launch in August, Borbás also organized a jubilee exhibition in Footshop in Budapest, which is open until the end of September. In the meantime, Róbert is working on multiple illustration projects simultaneously, including ones expected to be displayed on skateboards. He plans to limit his tattoo work to four days a week, so that he can draw in his creative corner on the rest of the days.
“The past ten years passed by as it was a series of moments. It was an extremely busy and edifying period – showing a beautiful curve. Even though the book published recently may seem as a closure of some kind, it does not mark the end of something, on the contrary: it ends with a period that can set another marvelous ten years in motion” – Róbert told us.
You can order the remaining copies of the album titled „10 years of Grindesign” here. Hurry, there’s only a few left!
Photos: Dávid Bodnár