For as long as he can remember, Chris Stucke has always been interested in art.
Stucke, who joined the Mid-States team in Dec. 2017 in our receiving department, won every art show and competition he entered from ages 10 through 17. As a child, Stucke started painting and airbrushing cartoon characters, like Shaggy. He learned how to draw so well by using letters and numbers. He would determine which letter or number an eye, or a nose looked like, and start with that.
“I learned later on in life I was blessed to be able to do this,” Stucke said. “I have a gift.”
Stucke carried his hobby into adulthood. In fact, he volunteers at Haskell School in Rockford every night doing some sort of art project. One project is an airbrush and hand-painted mural based on The 7 Habits of Happy Kids. Basically, Stucke took a book and turned it in to real life. He spent six hours at the school to complete the mural, which students get to pose in front of for a photo once they have achieved the habit. Stucke got involved at Haskell School when his child began attending the school. The next project he’ll be working on for the school is murals for the Steam Academy at Haskell. They will be near every entrance and restroom of the school.
About 11 years ago, a friend asked Stucke to give tattooing a shot, since he was a fan of his art. Stucke got himself licensed and tattoos out of a private studio. He has also become certified in body modifications, like piercings. Stucke has completed more than 1,000 tattoos in 11 years.
“It’s about the art,” Stucke said. “I love the art.”
Tattooing is a hobby for Stucke, and he spends his time accordingly. He focuses on pacing himself when it comes to the tattoo work he does, so he can properly focus and take the time to do the tattoo to his high standards. Two of the keys to his success are being open-minded to suggestions and continuing to learn. With 11 years of experience, Stucke has learned that tattooing is ever-changing, so he also needs to be ever-changing.
Stucke himself is covered head-to-toe in tattoos, many of which he has tattooed himself. His general rule of thumb is if he can contort his body to make it happen, Stucke is tattooing himself. If it is in an area he can’t reach, he really researches other tattoo artists before he allows them to tattoo him.
“My whole body tells a story,” Stucke said, adding all of his tattoos mean something to him. Many represent his trials, tribulations, successes and his faith. The tattoos on his thighs are especially meaningful to him, as his children drew them. He’ll have their childhood handwriting on him forever.
Stucke’s goal is that by age 50, he won’t have an open spot of skin. He will be entirely covered in art.