Jacob Des – Artist


I first saw art by Jacob Des as I was working on a project for the Dayton Visual Arts Center.  As part of the lead-in to their annual art auction they had me visit 10 of Dayton’s leading art collectors.  Each was photographed with one of their favorite pieces which had been purchased through the Dayton Visual Arts Center. 

I was glad to see that two of the people on my list were both artists and art teachers.  Bridgette Bogle teaches painting at Sinclair Community College and Francis Schanberger teaches photography at the University of Dayton.   I asked them if we could do something a little more creative, and we came up with the photo shown below.


Bridgette told me the art she was holding was by Jacob Des, a local artist they didn’t know.  They purchased it at the annual art auction a few years ago.

I decided to track down Jacob Des.  I found him at work at Truth & Triumph Tattoo.


I learned that Jacob grew up in New York in an artistic family.  His father is an architect and an artist and his mother is a writer.  Jacob went to one of the nation’s leading art schools, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

His work as a tattoo artist has taken him as far afield as Australia.  Although Dayton is now his home base, he still hits the road occasionally.  Jacob said he’d be doing tattoos in New York City for 5 days later this month.

One of Jacob’s flash sheets – made to show the artist’s style to potential customers – is shown below.  Some of the tattoo machines Jacob has made are also shown below.

“I think my work turned a corner when I started building my own machines. I learned about that stuff on my own because I wanted that knowledge. I think just like anything you get out what you put in and if you’re not pushing to better yourself everyday you’re not working hard enough.”


Jacob had to get back to work.  A walk-in customer had a special request and Jacob needed to start drawing a tattoo for the customer to review.  I left Jacob at the drawing board and promised to visit his painting studio soon.


Thursday is Jacob’s day off.  I caught him painting in the living room of his home in Kettering.  The easel  was on an platform on wheels so it could be moved out of the way when the space was not needed for painting.


I had seen this particular painting on the internet in an interview Jacob did with swallowsndaggers, an Irish tattoo and clothing company.  In that interview he talked about his paintings as being an extension of his tattooing.  He showed this work (not yet finished) and said it was about the process of distinguishing the genesis of an idea.  He said he planned to call it “a painting about the consecration of a moment in time.”

Looking around the room, I could see some other art made by Jacob.


Jacob took a break and showed me his latest Zine, titled “Self Abuse,”  He said he tries to make one a year.  He sells them at tattoo shows and on his website.


Jacob told me he really loves painting.  He’s been doing it since before he went to art school.  But he tattoos 6 days a week, and sometimes painting doesn’t get the time and attention he would like it to have.

“To keep me motivated, I need some kind of deadline.  My friend Brenden Schindler has started a new gallery called Hive.  I’ve agreed to have an exhibition of my work there in August.  That’s got me painting a lot again.”

I typically ask an artist to pose for a portrait before I leave.  We set something up with nice lighting and a good background, and Jacob gave me some good poses.  But I decided to close with this shot taken while we talked because it does a better job of showing the personality of this interesting young artist



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