How did a 32-year-old college dropout from the bayou of Louisiana, with no formal training in art — well, to be frank, no training at all — end up with a one-man show in a New York gallery and a client list that includes Robert Downey Jr. and Orlando Bloom?
For Scott Campbell, it all started at a tattoo studio in the Lower Haight district of San Francisco. “I’m just the dirty kid who snuck in the back door,” said Mr. Campbell, who said that he got the bulk of his art education tattooing teenage gang members in San Francisco in the 1990s.
Last April, Mr. Campbell’s solo show at OHWOW, a gallery in Miami, sold out, said Al Moran, its director. It was evidence that Mr. Campbell had the stature needed to carry a solo show on April 29 at the gallery’s new space in Manhattan, on Crosby Street — its first since moving to the city. “All sorts of people were coming” to the Miami show, Mr. Moran said. “Tattoo kids were coming in, and museums were coming in.”
Mr. Campbell said he is nervous to show in New York. But added, philosophically, “If the art world shuns me, I can still do tattoos.”