Ross Collab wears his roots on his sleeve—or rather, his thigh. Among his many tattoos —which also include a snowflake on his chest and playing-card suits on either side of his ribcage— is the word “SOTA,” scrawled in bold caps down his right thigh, a tribute to his home state of Minnesota.
Born Eli Schwartzman, Collab had ambitions to break well beyond where he came from, and thanks to his 17,000-plus Instagram followers, he’s doing just that. “I want to collaborate with all types of artists,” Collab says, adding that he had to overcome a lot of self-image issues from his youth before chasing his creative dreams, which led him to work with agencies and do print ads for the likes of Best Buy and Ragstock.
“I wanted to create connections and friendships with people I knew nothing about, and Instagram has been one of my biggest allies in this journey," he explains. "It's allowed me to meet and sometimes work with heroes of mine... I've been really lucky so far.” To see more images of Collab, as well as his own photography, follow him on Instagram @rosscollab and visit his website RossCollab.com