“If I wasn’t at work, I was at home with head phones on just drawing”. Matt Skelton has always loved creating art. He was mostly inspired by comic books and enjoyed drawing comic characters. Then one day it donned on him that someone actually gets paid to draw those comics. That realization set him on a course that would change his life.
In his earlier adult years, he would hustle any commercial freelance work that he could find, such as billboards and advertisements, “whatever paid the bills”. That is, until he and his wife at the time found out that a baby was on the way and the bills would soon increase. He had never considered tattooing as a viable option for him until one day, as he passed Southern Star Tattoo on Kemp, he saw the nice vehicles parked outside. He wondered to himself, “how do they afford those cars?” He had a friend that was a piercer for the shop that suggested Matt show the owner his drawing portfolio. It was an expansive display of work, and more than enough to land Skelton a new career.
Matt spent the next two years tattooing at Southern Star. His stay at the Star ended when he received a call from A Different Drummer tattoo shop offering him a much better deal. This was in the late 1990’s, and Matt describes the tattoo scene much different than it is today. “Back then there were only 3 shops in town, with 3 artists in each shop. There were less than a dozen artists in town from about 1998 to 2008. We were all busy, all day, every day,” he recalls.
It was about that time when more shops and artists began popping up around town. Don Eaker and his son, Kerry, split ways at A Different Drummer and Kerry opened Altered Images. Matt says he always enjoyed working with the Eakers, and when that split happened, he went with Kerry to work at Altered Images for about four years. “The Eakers always took good care of their artists and I feel like I shared some of the same values as they did,” Matt explains.
In recent years, Skelton has worked from Human Canvas and Firme Copias. And this month Matt is beginning a new venture. A new shop is opening at 3205 Kemp and Matt will be managing it. World Class Tattoo celebrated its grand opening on March 1st and aims to create an atmosphere that provides a more pleasant tattoo experience for patrons.
In step with his visual art, Matt has created music since his youth. He has donned the bass guitar for 30 years. Although he has always put his art career first, he has made a hard run with his music. Along with James Nelms, Barry Faulkner, John Ray Jr., and Jack Teague, Matt and his band Bishop’s Window played regular gigs all over north Texas in the mid 90’s and captured the attention of Sony records. Things were looking good for the group, but nature called. Lead singer Jack Teague found out that his wife was pregnant and decided to set music aside and focus on his family. The band was unable to find a suitable replacement and Sony lost interest.
Matt hung up his guitar and buried himself in his tattooing career. For well over a decade he kept his music behind closed doors while he built a solid tattoo clientele. Once he felt comfortable with his artistic career, he began playing music again. It started out just strumming at home until the opportunity came along to team up with PVT Wilhelm.
PVT Wilhelm is a hard rock five piece that has been spending much of the last year building their set list. They have been strategic in their planning and will be hitting north Texas stages with new intensity and aggression throughout 2019.
Matt’s rig consists primarily of a 5 string ESP, Hartke 4×10” cabinet on top of a 15” bottom cabinet with an 1100 watt head. He is taking his music serious again, but still keeping his art first. March marks the opening of World Class Tattoo and PVT Wilhelm will headline an all day, 10 band show to celebrate.
Follow the band and the tattoo shop on Facebook to stay abreast with all the great things happening with Matt in 2019.