Inside the Studio of Bailey Hunter Robinson

This past Sunday I paid a visit to the Brooklyn studio of artist Bailey Hunter Robinson. You might remember Bailey from one of my Brimfield posts this past summer, when I caught him lying on the grass trying to escape the mid-day flea market heat. Upon arrival in Brooklyn I explained to Bailey that I was the guy who took his photo that hot summer day while he was trying to get some shade. “I’m sorry for taking your picture and putting on my site. I remember at the time you didn’t seem too happy about me taking the picture.” I said as I took off my coat and set my gear on the worn wood floors of Bailey’s new studio. “Oh it was fine. I was really hot that day and I was losing my ass up there, I don’t think I had sold a thing at that point.” he said. Such are the ways at Brimfield on hot summer days I suppose.

Bailey’s interest in furniture, vintage objects and things like Brimfield can be traced back to the influence of his parents while growing up in a small town in Alabama. “My parents were huge collectors of early English stuff, big oil paintings and things like that.” he said. It was this interest and his friendship with Luke Scarola (who co-owns the vintage furniture shop in Brooklyn called Luddite) that has helped shape the aesthetic of Bailey’s studio. “Luke and I used to drive five hours to go to an auction and they drive five hours home in one day. There were times when we were out and so exhausted that we couldn’t keep track of who bought what.”

What’s interesting to me is, for all the great old decor that’s present, the studio isn’t a vintage furniture shop. Bailey’s place is a by appointment tattoo parlor where he often sees two clients a day everyday all week. “I’m pretty much booked everyday for the whole month,” he said. Fittingly, Bailey’s type of tattoo coincides nicely with the room. “I do a very specific style of tattooing; a pre-1930s true Americana or old English style.” he said. “Back then the outlines were a little thinner, there was much more detail. It was clunky, but it wasn’t cartoon looking – there was something a little bit rendered about it. I’m not so much the 1940s New York tough guy tattooer, I’ve always been much more of a 1910s carnival tattooer…this sort of weirdo, not a tough guy.”

Bailey’s colorful framed birds (that he has meticulously hand painted) hang nicely next to the pencil sketches that have gone on to become tattoos. It does a lot to show the different talents of Robinson. Sitting in the studio in a rickety old chair no doubt snapped up off a field in Massachusetts, one can only admire the way Bailey has brought the different world’s together. Though maybe vintage furniture and tattooing aren’t too far apart, much like tattoos everything in the studio has a story and a history.

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Comments on “Inside the Studio of Bailey Hunter Robinson

    Mariah on March 15, 2011 12:09 AM:

    His hands are so beautiful…
    Great shots. You have an excellent sense of composition.

    lexybeast on March 15, 2011 12:33 AM:

    Nice photos and great looking shop. I’m familiar with Americana, but what’s old English style tattooing like? Got any sites or resources to check out about that?

    robbie on March 15, 2011 12:49 AM:

    Did you leave w/ any ink MW?

    Michael Williams on March 15, 2011 12:54 AM:

    I did not. I remain tattoo free…for the moment.

    Jason on March 15, 2011 8:57 AM:

    The assemblage of feathers w/ the blue jars is particularly nice.

    Billy on March 15, 2011 12:17 PM:

    Nice stuff. Looks a bit like my place.

    Sean on March 15, 2011 12:56 PM:

    I am lucky to have almost a full sleeve done by Bailey. He’s a great guy with top notch work.

    Phil From Reason on March 15, 2011 2:28 PM:

    Great photos, what an awesome studio. I see this guy at Brimfield and all over the place constantly.

    Mark on March 15, 2011 3:28 PM:

    Nice space. Nice work. Nice man.

    Ray Hull on March 15, 2011 4:00 PM:

    What are the electrical contact thingies? I thought telegraph at first, but guess not.

    For grins, I attach some very early 20th-Century electrical switch gear that today still operates the NYS Barge Canal Locks at Waterford, NY.

    And this is the control panel above them:

    Mike from Obscura on March 15, 2011 4:15 PM:

    Nice images…always glad to see where our former objects have gone to….

    nick sullivan on March 15, 2011 5:10 PM:

    Oh dear – i gotta get me down to Obscura. Noticed some gaps in my office.

    great zamboni on March 15, 2011 5:27 PM:

    Some wonderful things are still American made… great lookin tattoos and wonderful pictures….

    Rose on March 15, 2011 7:18 PM:

    Thanks for the peak into a place not open to the public. Very nice photos!

    Rose on March 15, 2011 7:19 PM:

    Oh, and I wonder if his bird paintings are for sale?

    Sean on March 15, 2011 9:55 PM:

    Here’s a link to Bailey’s blog:

    And his Tumblr:

    Sometimes he posts work for sale.

    Kinley on March 15, 2011 11:11 PM:

    I keep some Chinese pheasants (both red & gold- told George Washington kept a few too) and a trio of Chukars in my outdoor aviary. I’m glad others find inspiration in the beauty of birds. In the warmer weather I head out there at dusk and watch them choose their roosts for the night. I’m very envious of Bailey Hunter Robinson with his most amazing studio.

    Matt on March 16, 2011 3:03 PM:

    Hey, I know that dude….great post!

    Sailor Tony on March 16, 2011 3:53 PM:

    @ Ray Hull Those are tattoo machines (or “guns” as some common folk like to call them)

    chris brady on March 17, 2011 3:21 PM:

    What have we seen here that we havent seen before–huh?I ask you…..WHAT?!!

    Noah on March 19, 2011 4:10 PM:

    I’ve been lucky enough to have long conversations with Bailey on several occasions. He is one of the most incredible dressers when it comes to his appreciation for vintage clothing and his use of layering. Not to mention his incredible tattoos. And all the while, he is one of the nicest, friendliest, most down to earth people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Great post!

    Michael T. Lipsitz on March 19, 2011 7:24 PM:

    I am Bailey’s uncle in Tennessee and yes we are very proud of Bailey and his work.

Comments are closed.