Illustrators with Ink

Illustrators with Ink: Daniel Fishel


daniel fishel

So, it’s been a while, but I have for you anoth­er install­ment of Illus­tra­tors with Ink! Queens, New York-based illus­tra­tor Daniel Fishel was gra­cious enough to share his tat­toos with me.

Daniel grew up near Har­ris­burg, PA but moved to New York and pur­sued his MFA in Illus­tra­tion as Visu­al Essay from SVA. His clients include an impres­sive list: the New York Times, McSweeneys, The Globe & Mail, GQ Mag­a­zine, Wash­ing­ton Post, Baron Fig, Lands End Can­vas and Nation­al Pub­lic Radio (yay, NPR!). If you don’t fol­low him on Insta­gram, please do. He has an adorable cat named Avo­ca­do and likes piz­za.

How many tat­toos do you have? 9 (8 patched, 1 unfin­ished sock)

How old were you when you got your first tat­too? I was 19 years old. I was going to get one at 18 but I was super broke just start­ing art school. I’m kind of glad I wait­ed because I prob­a­bly would have got­ten some­thing real­ly dumb but I was smart enough to avoid get­ting a nau­ti­cal star or spar­rows.

My first tat­too is a pirate ship on the Susque­han­na riv­er with the Har­ris­burg cap­i­tal build­ing and Three Mile Island on the oth­er side. It’s framed with a ban­ner with 717, my area code, and two straight razors on the sides. It’s a com­mem­o­ra­tion of where I was from and what I believe in. Also, every­one who lis­tened to hard­core and was apart of the scene had got­ten a 717 area code tat­too.

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Did you design any your­self? If not, would you ever? For some of the cus­tom work I roughed it out but had them draw it. It’s their job to draw it in the way they typ­i­cal­ly do. My Bud­dy Hol­ly tat­too is ref­er­enced based on a Chris­t­ian Clay­ton illus­tra­tion and obvi­ous­ly all of my punk rock band logos are just that.

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Do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why? Prob­a­bly the tat­too on the back of my arm. It’s of a T-Bone steak with a halo at the top that has a ban­ner around it say­ing “For­ev­er Ten­der.” I got it out of spite at 21 when most of my friends were aggres­sive hard­core veg­ans. I mean they had veg­an writ­ten on their knuck­les and “xVE­G­ANx” up their shin. At the time I ate meat and it was all out of fun. Now I’m veg­e­tar­i­an and it’s kind of has a whole new mean­ing to me.

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Where did you get your work done? Most of the artists who have done the work on me have moved onto oth­er shops. In no order, Black Thorn Gallery (Mechan­ics­burg, PA), Machine Heads Tat­too (Ley­mone, PA), 717 Tat­too (Mechan­ics­burg, PA), Atom Age Tat­too (Mechan­ics­burg, PA). Ryan Spahr did my awe­some Bud­dy Hol­ly tat­too and he should get a bunch of atten­tion. I’ve nev­er got­ten a tat­too in NYC yet but it’s on my list of things to do. I’ve lived here for 6+ years so I should get on that.

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Is there any mean­ing behind any of your tat­toos? All of my tat­toos are mean­ing­ful and some­times poet­ic. I have a tree fort, sub­urb and kids play­ing on my leg which plays as a loose nar­ra­tive of grow­ing up in cen­tral PA. Just run­ning out and about and you came home at dusk to eat din­ner. I guess a call for sim­pler times that I kind of miss before computers/cell phones took over our lives. Before that it was just TVs.

Do you see a con­nec­tion between the type of tat­toos you have and your illus­tra­tive work? Tat­toos have been apart of my life and apart of my visu­al lan­guage. When­ev­er I can I try to add tattoo’s on the char­ac­ters I draw.

Here’s a selec­tion of Daniel’s illus­tra­tions:

daniel-fishel-illo-1 daniel fishel daniel-fishel-illo-2 daniel-fishel-illo-3 daniel-fishel-illo-4