Fear, inked

Monkey Bones’ Mike Guidone brings darkness to light

By Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

Photo: Visual and tattoo artist Mike Guidone shows off a few of his latest pieces at Clash Consignment Co. in the Oregon District

Once you’ve made the decision to get a tattoo, you’d better make damn sure the design you’ve chosen is something you want on you for a lifetime. If you’ve opted to have a disquietingly beautiful piece of art use your body as a canvas, you’ll want to see Mike Guidone, artist and owner of Beavercreek’s Monkey Bones Tattoos and Piercing, which opened in 2004. Guidone’s work tends toward vintage creepy – images of Nosferatu and stylized clowns adorn his canvasses and clients. Guidone recently sat down with the Dayton City Paper to discuss inspirational art, fads and apprentice horror stories.

When did you begin your career as a tattoo artist and what was your training like?

I started my apprenticeship at Glenn Scott Tattoos around 20 to 22 years ago. It was a more old-school type of apprenticeship where you had to prove that this is what you wanted, which I fully agree on. A lot of people think that this is an easy job where you can come and go as you please, but you learn quick that, yes, this is what you want to do, but you do have to work for it. – Mike Guidone

Your work has a distinctly haunting style to it – sometimes almost creepy, always beautiful. How has your style developed or evolved over time?

I’ve been an artist since I was a young lad and had huge support from my mother. She saw something in me, I guess. Anyway, I painted quite a bit when I was young, and then there was a bit that I didn’t paint for quite some time. I started picking it back up about six years into my tattooing days, doing a few art shows here and there. It wasn’t until I found this little place called C2 Gallery and got to know Jeffie Richards (who ran it) that I really started getting back into it and, eventually, became part of C2, which later on became known as 4frnt [Studio] run by Jeffie, Jason Goad and myself. Being a part of that is when my style really started coming out. It was kind of like a positive, silent competition with those guys. It helped me step up my game and try harder and to really continue learning, and I still continue to learn to this day. It was an amazing, positive time. We had a lot of great shows with great local artists and met a buttload of artists that I’m good friends with to this day. I really miss those days! – MG

Who would you consider among your artistic inspirations?

Hmmm, that’s a tough question. The easy answer would be horror movies – hence my subject matter. One movie, in particular, called “Suspiria” has had an influence with the colors, and you can see that in some of my paintings. Of course, there are tons more. As for artists or styles, 18th century paintings have always had a hold on me. As you can see, I tend to lean toward the darker side of art, but, starting through the years, M.C. Escher, Bosch and, of course, Picasso, then onto Pushead, Robert Williams, H.R. Giger and, more recently, Chet Zar and Michael Hussar, etc., etc. But I can’t leave out all my local friends who have a HUGE inspiration on me, and you know who you are! – MG

What are some of the more popular requests you receive at Monkey Bones?

Every year there is a new “fad” tattoo. It’s just how it is. When I started it was the “Taz,” of course, butterflies, then to tribal, Kanji, nautical stars. Your typical type tattoos. As of late, it’s lettering on the ribs or feathers – trees turning into flying birds. In no means am I trying to dig at these designs. Like I said, it just happens every year we have ones that get done a lot. I do tell my customers this beforehand, just so they know that this is the big thing of the year. Some change their idea and some still want that type of design. – MG

Do you have any exceptional stories from your years as a tattoo artist that you would be comfortable sharing?

One in particular (and I shall not say his name due to the horror he went through and he’s a good friend of mine) … When you are an apprentice, it’s a while before you can do any “private part” tattoos. I’m not sure if that is really a rule, but it was at this establishment. Another rule is, as an apprentice, you do whatever everyone else does not want to do. Sometimes, the first rule is broken. In this case, it was. So, there was this little place in Dayton called the Dayton Swim Club – interesting place. This married couple walks in with their “sex slave” wanting the sex slave to get a tattoo of the secret password that allows you to stay after hours at this club. Long story short, the apprentice got to get his private part tattoo sooner than expected and one letter was tattooed around the, beg your pardon, B-hole. He didn’t stay much longer after this, and, thinking back, I probably wouldn’t have either. But I still giggle to myself thinking of this story, and it’s one of my favorites to tell. I’m sure you’re probably wondering what the password is. Sorry, but what happens at the Swim Club stays in the Swim Club … – MG

Your wife, Tabitha, owns Decoy Art Studio in Beavercreek. Do you think it’s unusual to have two such artistic, business-savvy people under the same roof?

Me, personally, I think it’s great to be in a relationship with the same likes. Art and music are huge for me, and we both love the same things. Our businesses are alike in some ways but completely different in a lot of ways. I’d say mine is a tad bit easier to run than hers. Decoy is a wonderful place for kids, families and for date nights. And every time I walk in there, it amazes me how cool it is. I’m super proud of her and being part of watching it grow from where it started to what it is today. – MG

Artist Mike Guidone owns Monkey Bones Tattoos and Piercing located at 3361 Dayton Xenia Rd. in Beavercreek, open Monday through Saturday from 1-9 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, call 937.458.2663. To see samples of Guidone’s work, check out facebook.com/pages/Monkey-Bones-Tattoos-and-Piercing/162372080457554.

Reach DCP freelance writer Page Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin at Page JenniferHanauerLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com. To read more from Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin, visit her website at jennerlumpkin.com.

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About Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

View all posts by Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin
Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin is a writer and amateur cartographer living in Dayton, Ohio. She has been a member of PUSH (Professionals United for Sexual Health) since 2012 and is currently serving as Chair. She can be reached at JenniferHanauerLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com or through her website at jennerlumpkin.com.

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