I always knew i would be heavily tattooed from a very young age.. all throughout high school, i bought every tattoo magazine i could get my hands on. by the time art school came around i had decided tattooing was what i wanted to do with my life.
Q. How long have you been tattooing?
Professionally for about eleven years.
Q. Is the industry like you thought it would be ? What surprised you about it?
The industry isn't very specific about what it is. - a trade, a business, but also art and expression. it's my job, but the uniform doesnt come off when i leave the shop, it's also my lifestyle.. . i was surprised how little people actually knew about it.
Q. How did you learn? Did you do an apprenticeship, learn on friends or pig skins etc?
I was lucky enough to have a lot of friends who trusted me, knew i could draw and let me practice on them before my apprenticeship officially began. I did a couple years of walk ins at a street shop and i upgraded to a much better shop and learned from skilled, advanced artists.
Q. Were you always interested in other types of art or specifically tattoo art?
Q. Did you start off as full-time, or did you start tattooing part-time?
My first shop was about 4 or 5 days a week I believe.. then it became 6 days a week when i started working at my main place of employment which i stayed at for about 6 yrs.
Q. Was it difficult to build a portfolio? and how did you get your name known? did it take long?
Building the porfolio was like anything else. you get out of it what you put into it, i tried very hard at first to get my portfolio to look as professional and well rounded as possible... nowadays my portfolio has a much more specific type of work im trying to show off and attract.. its been 13 years in the making, as far as getting my name known, i've focused more on doing the best pieces i could. Now i try to show off the pieces i like doing best, in hopes of doing more of that same style.
Q. How did you get in touch with clients initially, is it different now?
Initially clients came from walk ins at the shop. nowadays they either find me through word of mouth from friends or through online websites.
Q. Have you ever had to deal with difficult or frightened clients? how do you put people at ease or deal with difficult customers?
Q. Do you prefer tattooing men or women or doesn't it matter - who responds better?
I much prefer working on women, i just like womens' bodies , and aesthetically i like to make them look better. Guys sometimes get cooler pieces, but women definitely respond better as far as pain .
Q. Do you normally use flash or plan custom designs or just improvise when you arrive ? have you ever planned to do one design, and then had a new idea when you met the client?
Depends on the client. i personally prefer never to do any flash, i would customize the drawing somehow, i love to draw on the skin at that moment and make it up as i go along. letting it take shape as i am together with the client.
you developed your own style ?
Nothing about it was easy, but for me, lining came easier at first. but now, i much prefer to shade. i like the looseness and freedom it provides.
Q. How important is using the right equipment, and how did you afford it initially?
It can make your life much easier... some machines make you feel like youre cheating. at first i put all the money i earned into getting better and better equipment and supplies.
Q. How important is hygiene? How did you learn about it?
Extremely important. . . very early on, in books and magazines.
Q. What advice would you give on how to find work as a tattooist?
Draw as much as possible. and do whatever you can to help your clientelle find you.
I've worked with all kinds of artists at every skill level.. it can be competitive, but that depends on the individual... mostly i've seen it to be like a family and supportive.
Q. What's your proudest tattooing achievement so far?
Earning the respect of fellow tattooists who's work i respect.
Q. What are the best & worst things about the industry and tattooing?
It can be the most fun thing in the world. exciting and very fulfilling ... / having to charge people and decide what my time and talent is worth.
Q. Do people treat you differently when they find out you're a tattooist, how did your friends and family see your choice of career?
Some people see the "tattoo guy" and not the real person, so you sorta take on another personality - like having a stage name or a persona.
Q. What would you like to achieve in tattooing in future?
Q. If you had one piece of advice to give people who want to become a tattooist, what would it be?
You better know in your heart that this is what you want to be. . and be sure, without a doubt that this is what you care most about doing with your life, because it becomes your life completely.
People are waiting to help.