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(Blog post by Jeff Owens)

Phoenix tattoo artist applies his craft to a pair of Fender Sonoran SCE guitars

Jason Anthony is usually busy creating artwork on people as the proprietor of Golden Rule Tattoo in downtown Phoenix, or creating it onstage as the singer for indie hardcore quintet Red Son.

So when Fender knocked on his shop’s door in late 2009 and asked him to do custom paintwork on a pair of guitars, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Anthony to combine his love of visual art with his love for sonic art.

At the behest of Fender artist relations department, Anthony was given a pair of unstrung and unfinished Sonoran SCE acoustic guitars, a couple of weeks and complete artistic freedom to adorn as he pleased. Painting people was one thing—he was already good at that, having been in the tattoo biz for six years after a yearlong apprenticeship. But painting a guitar was an entirely different prospect, and he proceeded cautiously.

In one day, and with steady hand, he stenciled the first guitar in black with several designs of the kind normally seen on biceps or the small of the back. Confident after that first effort, he envisioned an elegantly colorful acrylic paint design for the second guitar. A few days later, he had a Sonoran with a beautiful yellow and pale blue rose below the bridge, dark ribbons snaking up both sides of the top and an elaborate star pattern on the upper bout.

Fender applied clear topcoats, strung the guitars, and then brought them back to Anthony in mid-January 2010 so he could see the end result of his artistry. He was knocked out.

“It’s pretty awesome,” he said, cradling the Sonoran with the rose, ribbons and star. “They’re all cleaned up and the topcoat is on and everything; they’re all shiny. It really brings them out. These are beautiful.”

And the differences between inking a person and painting a guitar?

“Not even anywhere close,” he said, laughing. “Wood doesn’t move; it doesn’t cuss at you; it doesn’t shake around. It doesn’t gain a lot of weight, lose a lot of weight and get stretchy. It was fun.”

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