by Don Ed Hardy
deVita Unauthorized is a thin large-format hardcover book featuring Manhattan native Thom deVita, reproducing a loose-leaf art portfolio that was issued in a limited edition in 2002.
Born in 1932, deVita was interested in tattooing from an early age. He began tattooing in the 1960s soon after it was declared illegal in all the boroughs of New York (the ban was finally overturned in 1997). DeVita showed his work at open-air art fairs in Washington Square Park and mingled with famous New York School painters at the Cedar Tavern. Although he pursued that as an underground career for nearly forty years, he continues to work in drawings, ontage, and constructions.
deVita's bootleg tattoo studio apartments were densely-packed installations of found art and objects, assemblages, works on paper, wood, and photographs. This complex and inclusive work/live environment, mixing history and cultures, transcended boundaries of High and Low, Art and Craft. deVita's tattoo customers became moving visual components in the living assemblage of the city. As Willem deKooning, Franz Kline, and Joseph Cornell (all artists he admires) drew sustenance from sights and objects encountered on the streets, deVita brings seeming chaos into a personal and mysterious order.
Hardcover. 48 pages. Meaaures 10 3/4" X 16"