ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Wood Carving Artist Otto Long Makes "Creatures of the Night" for Tattooed People

Updated on November 14, 2014

Who is Otto Long?

Since I was a freshman college kid, I'd always wanted to talk with Greensboro, North Carolina artist Otto Long. I'd seen him, and his artwork at Carolina Tattoo in 1994 when I was getting my first tattoos. To a kid new to the tattoo scene, a guy that carves skulls out of wood all day doesn't seem like someone you just approach without an invitation.

Later, when Otto began having his face tattooed, it only made him look more intimidating. Almost 20 years later, while covering the 17th Annual North Carolina Tattoo Convention, I got to sit down with Otto Long for a discussion of his life and art. I learned that he is not the grim figure that his artwork suggests. You'll you'll rarely meet a nicer person than Otto.

Practical Art

Otto Long began wood carving in 1993 while recuperating from a severe injury. He had suffered serious breaks to both legs, so he started carving wooden canes to occupy his mind, and to produce something he could make use of when he recovered. It didn't take long for Otto's attractive, hand-made skull canes to become popular with people who need a little help getting around.

Although he eventually lost part of one leg, Otto's artistic hobby thrived and grew into "Creatures of the Night", his brand name for his wood carving and artwork. Skulls and skeletons are a common design in tattoo art. It didn't take long for Otto's attractive, hand-made skull art to become popular among people with an interest in tattoos.

A Legacy of Friendship

Otto got involved with the Greensboro and North Carolina tattoo community through his friendship with John "Little John" Bury. After his accident, Otto had spent about $1500 on tattoo work in two consecutive days, at John's original shop, Carolina Tattoo. John offered Otto a place at the shop to display his artwork. Their friendship evolved into a full-time job for Otto at Carolina Tattoo.

When John left behind Carolina Tattoo and opened Little John's Tattoo, Otto continued with him. Otto eventually moved in with John, living with him 15 years, cementing their friendship and artistic and professional collaboration. Otto doesn't spend as much time at Little John's Tattoo since John passed away in 2008, but pieces of Otto's art are always on display in the shop.

Skull Art for Tattooed People

Otto's wood carvings range in price from $100 for a small piece, to $500 or more, for a large totem. A cane or a small piece takes Otto one or two days to produce; a large totem can take an entire week. "The time doesn't matter, though", Otto tells me. "An hour, a day, or a week doesn't matter. I'm still doing the same thing; trying to stay ahead of the cracks and splits as the wood expands."

Otto is well known in the North Carolina Triad region's artistic community. He's had several body cast sculptures on display at the Witherspoon Art Gallery in Greensboro. One of the casted figures holds one of Otto's carved canes. He has had art exhibitions in Greensboro, Winston Salem, and throughout the Triad area. Although he has achieved critical success in the mainstream art community, Otto wants tattooed people to buy his work. That's who he makes it for. "When I die, I want to be known for skull art", he says, "that's my goal."

Throughout the tattoo convention, Otto's daughter was never far away, bringing him food and drinks, making sure he was comfortable, and helping him sell his Creatures of the Night. Together they sold raffle tickets for several of his pieces, to benefit a local charity cause.

Otto is easy going and quite friendly; He offers a philosophy that anyone with tattoos or body modifications should take to heart. "I have to be extra nice to people, looking the way I look. I have my whole face tattooed. If I make a bad impression on somebody, I'm ruining it for all of us that have tattoos."

There's No Stopping Otto Long

In 2013, Otto's workshop was destroyed by a fire. With a little help from friends in the tattoo community, and the typical hard work that has gotten him artistic recognition, Creatures of the Night recovered. Otto continues to display and sell his sculptures at many of the annual tattoo conventions.

If you want to own one of Otto Long's Creatures of the Night, you can find him at the Annual Cape Fear or Asheville Tattoo Conventions in North Carolina. He can also be contacted through Little John's Tattoo and his Facebook Page.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)