From left: Two of Scott Campbell's sculptures based on NASA photographs and made from thick foam and resin.
One might think that Campbell’s fascination with contour and depth in his art—his infamous skulls carved into stacked sheets of dollar bills have the intricate striations and topography of canyons—would stem from the relative dearth of such layers available to him when he was making his name as a tattoo artist to the stars. On the contrary, Campbell argues that it’s actually an extension of his work with ink. “I think of tattoos as carvings,” he says. “It wraps around the body, and there’s a tactile sort of depth you have to consider.” The aphoristic texts his clients have had inscribed (“May all your pain be champagne”) also make an appearance in the form of childlike scat across the lunar surfaces (again, only visible up close). “These pieces initially seemed really pristine to me,” Campbell says. “So I needed to mess them up a little, I needed to make it human again—it has to be flawed.”