The Tattooed Levi’s Trucker Jacket


A total of nineteen hours of painting and tattooing, plus a couple more to add all the little detailing, this customization project draws inspiration from Malta, particularly St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, and the wonders of art it holds. I wanted to create a jacket with a dramatic and rich sensation, imitating that which one is immersed by when entering St. John’s Co-Cathedral, a burst of red, gold and black tones. I started off by dyeing the jacket darker, to an almost black shade of denim. Then, adding some deep red corduroy details in the collar, cuffs and a small patch placed on the backside. The Co-Cathedral’s interior is largely decorated with intricate carved stonewalls and among this décor are a number of symbols, one of my favorites being the pomegranate, known to represent richness/ immortality, fertility and rebirth. This fruit was the main inspiration for the front of this Levi’s jacket. I worked on depicting a traditional still life, hand painted using acrylic paint on bleached denim patches, then stuck onto the jacket. I went on to add a golden rope border to give more of a baroque feel, together with painting all its buttons gold to continue with this theme. Finally, Caravaggio’s beheading of St. John and the 375 graves one has to stroll over whilst admiring the cathedral is what inspired the backside of the jacket. A sense of time and decay emerge as you delve deeper into the cathedral and a mixture of symbols of birth and glory start to battle those of death and destruction. This is the main reason I chose to actually tattoo Caravaggio’s painting on fake (for sanitary seasons) skin, using actual tattooing needles and inks. As one touches the tattooed piece of the jacket they can feel the difference in texture, almost velvety resembling that of real skin, adding a macabre feel to the whole piece. Some final touches stand at the top backside and on the collar. A set of tattoo shading needles were positioned in the form of an ‘x’, placed in resin and polished, then stitched onto the patch of corduroy as a reference to the tattooed skin placed below. And finally to close off the project, a set of Maltese cross pins was placed on the tips of the collar.