My name is Keef Cross, and I am a father/tattoo artist/painter/graphic novelist. I was born in Gary, Indiana, and moved to Atlanta when I was five. Tattooing pays the bills, but my true passion is painting and illustration.
While I did attend art college, I feel that my art benefited more from life experience, music, and film. I don’t make decidedly “black art.” It just so happens that the subjects of my pieces are black people, but not in the same cultural backdrops that the rest of the world is used to seeing us in.
My pieces rarely have a meaning or purpose until they are completed. Even then, I’d rather not disclose my personal intentions for them, but rather have the viewer tell me what they see. In my opinion, whatever they take from it is what it was always meant to be.
I started tattooing 13 years ago when a friend suggested that I show my drawings to a local shop owner. He liked my work, and I began my apprenticeship. Over the years, tattooing has introduced me to a wide range of people and unique characters, some of which led me to start working on my comic book, DayBlack, which is about a vampire tattoo artist.
A lot of my ideas for the book come from different situations I’ve found myself in over the years that a lot of tattooists and customers can relate too. And in my book, I get to say things that I never could to a customer, so it’s therapy, and also very confessional.
In addition to being published by Rosarium, a short film based on DayBlack is currently in production.