Tattooing from the Heart

Todd Showdown is an accomplished artist, musician and Illinois native. He earned both his BFA and MFA in oil painting from Southern Illinois University and actively showcases his work domestically and abroad. Most recently, his work has been exhibited in Shanghai, China, Chicago, New York, L.A. and St. Louis.

Todd is a former college educator, having taught art classes at John A. Logan College and Southern Illinois University. He is also the former director of fine art for the Morthland College Conservatory of Art and Music. Todd has been the instructor of record for multiple dry media classes at Mok Yeong Art Institute in Seoul, South Korea, The Stephen Jota Children Centre in Kampala, Uganda, Life Line Children’s International in Port Au Prince, Haiti, and was a guest lecturer at NYUST in Douliou, Taiwan.

How did you get involved in the tattooing trade?

I was in my second year of grad school when an owner of a tattoo shop approached me after seeing some paintings I had done online. He asked me to come in to talk to him. He quickly said, “I think I’m going to teach you how to tattoo.” I agreed and came in on weekends to help clean the shop and observe.

What has contributed to your success the most?

There are many factors that have contributed to my success. Number one was my experience in graduate school. My thesis professor, Xuhong Shang, was instrumental in helping me understand what art does. Also, my time in other countries has broadened my vision considerably. I am a firm believer that travel makes you smarter. In addition, friendships with artists that are way better than me provided just the right amount of motivation to keep me striving to be better.

What are your specialties?

I specialize in neo-traditional tattooing and oil painting, though my styles in each are completely different.

Why do you love what you do?

More than anything, I love to work. There’s nothing better than a one-on-one conversation with your client while simultaneously practicing your art.