Words and photos by Jeremy Dunn
To celebrate our collaboration with Tosh Clements on SRAMnation, we went straight to the source. Santa Barbara, California is home to lots of things—the legendary cycling climb Gibraltar, fantastic coffee named after said climb, a cadre of surfers and climbers, runners and cyclists along with artists and bakers and makers. And at the center of them, with an eye on it all is Tosh Clements.
8:00 PM - Montecito
Montecito feels like a different country than the quaint streets (they’re anything but quaint) of Santa Barbara below. House sitting here provides that necessary stop-gap between moving back from Mexico and finding a permanent situation back in California. This is the way to do it, on a hill overlooking the ocean, with an airstream or two to pass the time. Except for the fact that it’s hot. Like, the kind where it doesn’t matter if the windows are open or not. Here, in the darkness the stories seem to flow much easier.
12:30 PM - Toshy’s Tattoo Parlor
Ok, so maybe it’s not really a parlor per se, just a shack on the beach, and he hasn’t been there more than three weeks at this point, but it is immediately apparent that this is where he feels the most at home currently. The shop is situated behind some warehouses, including a legendary surfboard shaper, and one of the locals pops out to say hello and Tosh offers to tattoo him at some point. Something I’ve seen him do a few times already. But they never feel like a push or a plug, more like a friend offering to share his artwork with a ready and willing participant.
It is a quick and relatively painless affair with all three of his neighbors checking in to see how it’s going. A ceramasist, commercial musician, and a textile distributor all offer hellos and make for a pretty great little spot to sit and get tattooed. We talk a little bit about other tattoo artists that have inspired him and how this version of him feels like the best way to combine all his talents into something he calls pull of himself. A little bit entrepreneur, shop owner, artist and community leader all rolled into one.
2:00 PM - The Good Plow Ice Cream Window
If you’re thinking that ice cream seems like the best thing to have after getting a tattoo, you’re right. It’s overcast now, but the heat still lingers and the frozen milk treat does its job. We’re saying our goodbyes, and just like that the 24 hours experiencing Tosh Clements' version of Santa Barbara, California is coming to a close. What have we learned here? If nothing else, that there’s a lot going on with Tosh Clements.