Key Largo resident Robert Greene got his first tattoo in July 2013. The red, white and blue symbol originated from a Japanese anime called Naruto, but compared to the massive collection of ink covering his body, Greene’s first “piece” is quite simple.

“If I could go back in time, instead of just getting the symbol, I would have just gotten the character. That’s how you evolve,” said Greene.

His assortment of tats includes fighters like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Muhammad Ali and both Klitschko brothers; famous stars like the Weeknd; figures from Japanese anime, “Game of Thrones” and European history; Vikings battling knights; a couple of World War II planes; marine life; and a space leaf – to name a few.

Most were done by Key Largo’s South of Heaven Tattoo father-son duo, Brandon and Anthony Bennett.

At a young age, shop owner Brandon Bennett showed passion for art. Constantly coloring and drawing, Brandon created storyboards for his Atari video games, and by his high school years, found interest in graffiti art and later painting. With no formal art training, other than four years of art class in school, most of his ability is raw talent.

After the untimely passing of a sibling, Brandon contemplated life and his purpose.

“I knew I wanted to tattoo and do something with my art. I had a few buddies who were tattooing that took me under their wing, and I hit the ground running,” said Brandon. “My parents owned a leather apparel store in Chicago, so I started tattooing out of there, until we went down to Miami, and eventually opened our current shop here in 2009.”

At the time the shop opened, Brandon’s son, Anthony, was only a freshman. But by his senior year, Anthony began apprenticing for his father, and quickly realized tattooing was his future, especially with his ability to create photo-realistic pieces.

“I never knew I could do it; I started drawing while I was apprenticing and it came naturally,” said Anthony. “To me the realism is easier than some of the other things people would expect, but at the end of the day you have to do anything that comes through, and do it well.”

On this day, Anthony is adding Game of Thrones’ antagonist, the Night King, to Greene’s chest. One of the first tattoos Anthony did was a crab on Greene’s knee. Compared to the Night King piece, four years’ time reveals a substantial evolution in his ability.

“You should listen to them. You are going to bring in a picture and they may suggest altering it a little,” said Greene of artist recommendations. “They have way more experience and if you have no tattoos, you’re not going to know what looks good. They do.”

For a preview of the artists’ catalog, visit the shop’s Instagram account, southofheaventattoo. For booking or inquires call 305-451-1200, or visit their Key Largo location in the Pink Plaza at MM 103.

 

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