It all started when I was in third grade. I won my first award for my art, a brightly colored ribbon and it said “Artistic Excellence” on it in fancy gold letters. From that moment on, I knew that art was in my blood. I filled up hundreds of notebooks with drawings. My favorite music served as my inspiration. I graduated high school in 1990 and had no means to get myself into college. Without any familial support for my art interest, I had to make things happen for myself. I began a series of grueling, low-paying, kitchen jobs in hot, dirty restaurants
throughout Southern NJ and Philly. I burned off the knuckles on my hands, and came home smelling of grease and sweat. I truly did “suffer for my art.” I was accepted into The University of The Arts in Philadelphia in 1996 and I moved to Philly. It was there that I met my wife, Hayley. We have been together ever since.
I got my first tattoo while in Philadelphia, and I was hooked. Although I was an Illustration Major, I had a growing interest in the art of Tattoo. I subdued it (if only for a while) in order to graduate with a BFA in Illustration in 2000. Hayley and I moved back to NJ and got married in 2001. I got a job as a toy designer/ painter for McFarlane Toys.
It was quite disheartening to be using my art for someone else’s gain. I was not getting any recognition for my hard work and artistic talent. It hurt me. I started to paint “for myself” in my home studio and began to show my work in galleries throughout Philadelphia, as well as at the Monmouth Museum in NJ. My work was featured in the prestigious book “Spectrum 11, The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art.” Working on my Illustrations made me feel more like myself. They gave me the artistic recognition that I had been longing for while at McFarlane Toys. I work on them religiously to this day.
In Fall 2006, I decided that my love for tattoo had been “subdued” for long enough. I was 34 years old and had been unhappy at my job for too long. I did not want to wake up each morning dreading the day that was to come.
I was accepted as an apprentice and learned quickly. I loved every minute of it. I now work full-time as a tattoo artist, and I have never been happier in my life. I look forward to each day and am grateful that I followed
my heart. I’d like to thank my wife Hayley, who has been telling me for over 10 years that I should be a tattoo artist.
I still have that “Artistic Excellence” ribbon, by the way………..It has certainly been a tough road, but a rewarding one. I would not change a thing and I look forward to what is to come.
Robert Mankowski at Times of Grace is the ONLY artist to go to if you're looking for a tattoo, whether it's your first or if you're looking to add to your collection. You will not be disappointed. Robert is an extremely professional artist specializing in custom work.
Al Coleman on Google Reviews
I have several pieces done by Robert and will not go anywhere else. From original art to elaborate cover ups (that's me) Robert is the consummate professional artist. We are blessed to have him here in New Jersey enriching our lives through art and ink.
Bill Kilcher on Google Reviews
I have to tell you how happy I am with my \"all seeing eye\" spinal tattoo, and how many comments I get from all kinds of folks about it. It is a thing of beauty. I have even been asked if I was a chiropractor! It still looks great and we are really happy with it. You are the man! -- John Lawler
I cannot tell you how many strangers stop me on the street to ask me where I get my work done.
Over the years Robert and Hayley have become friends. I am so proud of him and cheers what is to come in the future. Make no mistake you will not be disappointed.