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Industry Ink: Ryan Sutherland



Sailor Jerry artwork from the WWII era is Devil’s Advocate bartender Ryan Sutherland’s ink of choice—even though he was never in the Navy. The notorious tattoo artist learned his craft from Japanese masters and then added his own bold Yankee ingenuity to the designs of ships and nautical themes. His stylized, and easily recognized  designs, are inked in a deep purple-blue with touches of red. 

Sutherland shrugs when asked why Sailor Jerry. Sometimes art is just personal taste, and doesn’t need a theory. He sports a pirate ship, a nautical star and compass, and perched on his shoulder are an anchor and rose. The words “Loose lips sink ships” intertwine with images and more words. When asked if he has had personal experience with that saying, he just smiles.

The lucky number 13 and batwings that serve as a permanent version of a choker necklace took four-and-a-half straight hours in the tattoo artist’s chair, he says. And yes, it hurt. 

Does being a bartender, especially at Devil’s Advocate (note the tribal cuff and red-eyed skull on his right hand), require a certain look? Not at all, Sutherland replies. “I just like being tattooed,” he says. “It’s like therapy.” He contends that while other people rely on massages or a psychiatrist, for him, therapy is lying down on a couch while a needle applies ink. He only has two therapy sessions left, however, because only two viable empty spots remain. 

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