INTERVIEW // Bert Krak


Artist //

Bert Krak

Photography //

Shane Allen

Interviewer //

Shane Allen

Posted //

Janurary 10th, 2021

In celebration of the BEYOND THE STREETS virtual art fair streaming on the NTWRK app December 5th & 6th, 2020. We got together with legendary New York tattooer Bert Krak, from the world famous tattoo shop, Smith St. Tattoo. who is featured in the line-up, to talk about his contribution to the fair.

As you probably know, the world isn't really working right, We're not really able to enjoy ourselves like we used to and the arts and entertainment industries have suffered due to the lack of opportunities to experience the outside world. This festival is a great way to get people excited about something and give them the opportunity to experience the festival and make it happen.

Being that the world is kind of crazy and things like public art isn’t really accessible, how does this festival play into the bright side of things right now?

I thinks its great and people don't really have a lot of things to do right now. It’s a great chance to see all the work and be apart of it. I think what Roger and NTWRK put together seems like its really directed towards keeping people attentions and showing a good story for each artist. I was excited to see all of it myself.

What importance does tattooing have to do with the streets.

Tattooing has everything to do with the streets, that’s where you’d see tattoos. Tattoo shops were originally street shops that relied on foot traffic. Plus the shady characters that were originally getting tattooed were streets dudes. I remember as a kid, I told my grandma that I saw this guy who was covered in tattoos. I told her that I want to do that when I grew up. My grandmother said

"That's for criminals and drug dealers, that's not for you."

Smith St. Crew.

Tell us about the body of work that you're presenting in the festival.

We're really excited about it. We had a little bit of time to work on it. Roger told us pretty early on and gave me a lot of give us a lot of freedoms of just told me to create something that I'd normally create for your own brand and let us showcase it through NTWRK, and Beyond the Streets. Me and my partner Steve, we just spent a few weeks going back and forth with ideas. We were thinking maybe it should vary a little bit. We're a tattoo shop. and people expect tattoo things from us, but when we make stuff for our own brand, we don't always make tattoo things.

We pick elements of things that we like, but it's more about like the imagery, the look of the item and it doesn't necessarily have to look like I drew it or my partner drew it, or look like something we would do as a tattoo. So for this thing, we picked a few different things with that thought process.

"But we like to keep it classic. We're not trying to break out of anything. If anything, we're trying to get away from a lot of modern trends in tattooing. We like tattoos to look like tattoos"

We're always trying to steer people away from the thing they saw on Instagram and look more at the classics. These things that came from the forties, the seventies and have stood the test of time. We keep it pretty classic. You know what I mean?