Q & A with Ray “Tattooed Boy” Scarborough
Your style of work is instantly recognizable; talk to us about how you describe it, and what inspires it.
Oh wow, thank you very much!!! I would describe my style as a modern pop-art mixed with traditional American tattoo elements. I’m just a huge fan of all things art and I take inspiration from things that catch my eye – big, bold, and bright are generally the things that grab my attention. Artists like Warhol and Lichtenstein are the ones I first looked to for inspiration when I started out. I love all the clean, sharp lines and how pop culture influenced what they created. I try to use pop culture in my art, but it’s more personalized with things I grew up with like punk rock, obscure movies, and San Antonio Culture.
What’s your personal favorite of all the pieces you’ve done?
I love doing art for organizations that I believe in, such as the San Antonio Aids foundation. They used my art for one of their testing vans. I still freak out when I see it driving on the road! Anytime I get to do art for Texas Democrats like the Castro Brothers or Diego Bernal’s Medals it’s an amazing honor. Those guys always give back to their community and I’m always down to help them with any art project. The Peewee Herman one is probably another one of my favorites that I’ve done. I was able to work with one of my favorite artists, Zane Thomas from Blackmoon Print. He did an amazing job hand screen-printing the Peewee posters. Mr. Herman got word of them being made and wanted one mailed to him, so that was pretty great!
What originally sparked your interest in art and made you pursue it as a career?
I originally started as a photographer in the 90’s. I would hit up DMZ’s and the Showcase to take pictures of local punk bands. While there, I would pick up flyers for upcoming shows. I loved all the creative sharpie flyers the bands would make. I also saw a rise in great hand screen-printed posters. Artists like Coop and Frank Kozik were doing posters for bands that I loved, so I decided I would start creating flyers for my friends’ bands for fun. I never charged them, I just loved making something that helped the band and something that people would collect. Those local punk-rock posters got me thinking of doing art for a career. I’m still creating them and having a lot of fun doing it!
You’ve created some of the most sought-after Fiesta medals for Texas State Representative Diego Bernal. How does it feel to have your art receive that kind of love and support from your city?
It’s the best! I love working with Diego, we’re are always on the same page, and always want to create something unique, fun, and a little nerdy! He’ll come up with a great idea or a theme and I’ll just run with it. As you can see from our last Fiesta media, we’re both huge Star Wars fans! I think people in San Antonio, sense that Diego and I genuinely love our city and know that we’re having fun creating something a lot of people enjoy. And the best thing about it is that Diego uses the medals to give back to the community, getting the San Antonio Food Bank involved. Seeing San Antonio help support the Food Bank just to get a Fiesta medal that I’ve created is so amazing! I’m just glad to be a part of it!
Tell us about a few of your artistic accomplishments that you’re most proud of.
That’s soo tough! I’m truly grateful that I’m able to create something that people like. It blows my mind that people would have my art in their home, or that a business/organization would want to use my art. I never thought I’d be lucky enough to be where I am now. The Fiesta medals, covers for the San Antonio Current, art for bands, they’re all things I never thought I’d be doing. One of the reasons I started making flyers for bands was to get into the shows for free or to get free beer, I never thought it would be an actual career! I’m proud of it all!