Thomas Pendelton admin June 18, 2023

Thomas Pendelton

Thomas Pendelton didn’t go to a fancy art school. He doesn’t collect his own artwork. In fact, he doesn’t do a lot of the stuff most working artists do, but what he does do, is work 12 hour days, seven days a week to keep the dream of being an artist alive. And it’s this level of hard work and determination that makes him so talented in so many areas of creativity. In his hidden Newport Beach studio called ‘Spikey’s Dive’, you’ll find everything needed to sling a tattoo, paint canvases, paint cars, and fabricate leather. He’s also a high end fashion designer, producing custom threads for celebrities from Rob Zombie to Shaun White to Nikki Sixx. He is as adequate with acrylics as he is with tattoos as he is with custom apparel and painting cars. It’s this Jack of all Finds nature, however, that, according to Thomas himself “may have fu#k!d†him in the long run. “If I was just doing that one thing,†he ponders, “I would’ve mastered it and I would’ve shoved it down people’s throats.â€Â

What a great problem to have, you might say, being so great at so many things, but like everyone else, Thomas still has personal goals he’d like to accomplish, one of which is being able to focus on just that one thing. “I have a specific goal to get my art to the point to where I am painting something continuously and telling a story with that one subject,†he says. “Just like Goddard and just like Wyland. Every painting they make is a new episode with the same characters in a different situation.”

You might think a guy like Thomas Pendelton has called himself an artist his whole life. That’s just what everybody else labeled him. A working artist making ends meet since the age of 17, he started tattooing at 21 but didn’t really consider himself an artist until age 29 when he tattooed his mentor (and legendary ink slinger) Rick “Papa†Walters at Bert Grimm’s Tattoo in Long Beach. “He taught me the right way,†Thomas says of Rick. “He taught me how to make my own machine, my own ink, needles… all that shit.”

When Thomas wasn’t tattooing, he was designing t-shirt graphics and logos for apparel companies like Famous Stars and Straps, Silver Star and various bands. “One day I walked into a Hot Topic and saw that most of the wall was my artwork–and I was flat broke!†He made a couple hundred bucks for designs he did 10 years ago that are still making money today. “I’m stoked because I was put to work at a time when I was nobody, and the fact that my designs still sell proves that my original ideas worked.”

But at the end of the day nothing matters more to Thomas Pendelton than simply being both an artist and a family man who wants nothing more than what he’s already got. “Since I met my wife and had kids, my life is exactly how I always wanted it. I just go to my studio, make art, and then go home and hang out with my family. That’s it.” Knowing Thomas Pendelton a little better now, we can tell you, no, â€Âthat’s not it†and you’ll definitely be seeing a lot more from him in the future.