Robert Johnson tattoo

Towards the end of last year I got an email from someone I had never met, who had never seen any of my plays, but had come across the artwork somewhere on the internet for Cross Road Blues – specifically the poster design used for the production at the Hackney Empire in 2009.

He was looking for the images used in the posters and hoped I could help him. He needed a hi-res version of the picture, because he wanted to get a tattoo done.

The rest is history I suppose. I could easily help him out: the poster image was based on a photo taken for the show by Magnus Arrevad, and featured Chris Clyde Green, who performed in the show. All photoshoppery was done by me, so yeah, no problem, I had the original colour pictures and files for the posters as well.

I’m massively flattered of course. It’s just one guy’s left arm, but it’s a hell of a tribute to some artwork which I always liked but never thought would be around in any form that might last a lifetime. And it’s a tribute to the enduring draw of the blues and its iconography as well, and to Robert Johnson (100 years old this year, by the way).

And as for Chris, who was in the original photo, he’s seen it but I haven’t heard back from him yet. I don’t know how he feels about it but I reckon the word “stoked” has probably never been more appropriate. That and probably a bit bewildered.

Anyway, it’s not Chris, it’s Robert Johnson, and it looks like he’s got some serious walking to do.

Here’s the original poster image alongside the tattoo (which is not quite finished in fact, and I’ll post the finished article up here when I get it):

Original photography by Magnus Arrevad.

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  • N.P

    this is absolutely incredible

  • thanasis tsalikis

    hi….i am a tattoo artist and a client wants the same tattoo it would be very helpful if i can get the original photo….thanx in advance
    thanasis tsalikis
    urban tribe tattoo
    Athens Greece

    • No problem. Just about to email you…

    • I sent you an email a couple of days ago. Just checking – did you receive it okay?