Ninja and Yolandi Visser of Die Antwoord patch
Somewhere in the desert just outside of Reno Nevada lives a man named Cody McElroy. McElroy looks like he set off from LA on a vision quest, made his way to Reno, and never looked back. He looks famous, a little bit like Johnny Thunders. He plays the harmonica and his tattooed arms match each of his hands. Speaking of McElroy’s hands, they spend most of their time breathing life back into the lost art of creating hand-made patches.
Tongue and lip patch
Known as Dirty Needle Embroidery, McElroy’s work possess a distinct vintage vibe, and are made with the same kind of attention to detail as their old school predecessors. According to McElroy, he sews each patch himself using a single-needle sewing machine employing a process that he calls “reverse tattooing.” Or in layman’s terms, coloring in your design first, not starting with the outline as you would with a tattoo. McElroy says each piece he makes can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than 20 hours to finish, depending on size or its intricacies.
Noel Fielding of “The Might Boosh” as the “The Hitcher” patch
In an interview last year, McElroy spoke about his obsession with vintage patches and clothing, which started back when he was just 16. A few years later one of his friends (a guy friend for that matter) taught him how to tailor his own clothes. It was around then that McElroy started experimenting with patch making. His designs celebrate all things counter-culture and the good old-fashioned pursuit of vice. So understandably, many of McElroy’s admirers reside within the vast motorcycle community, outlaw and otherwise, in Nevada and the Pacific North West. The young artist has become a fixture at motorcycle events around the west coast since starting Dirty Needle in 2013.
Drug researcher patch
I can’t lie. I’ve been pretty obsessed with patches for most of my life. And McElroy’s unique patches bring me right back to the moment I started collecting in my early teens. If you also share my obsession, you can pick up a few of McElroy’s iron-on patches online, or request a custom order. Many images of his one-of-a-kind patches that I suddenly can’t imagine living without, follow.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Embroidery of Iggy Pop, Hunter S. Thompson, Freddie Mercury, and more