Guy Aitchison is definitely the biggest hero I have, others include Trent pare, Clint Danroth, Aaron Cain. Just bugged the local tattooist to train me .I bugged him every day for almost a year then one day he finally said yes. So there's definitely something to be said about being persistent.
Q. How long have you been a tattooist?
All said about ten years
It was nothing like I thought it would be. To begin with I thought it was all going to be bikers and hookers and sailors. But you got to remember I started tattooing in like 88' 89' when it was still pretty low key.im surprised about it every day but the biggest thing is the diversity of the client base - all walks of life.
Q. How did you learn? Did you do an apprenticeship, learn on friends or pig skins etc?
I did a formal apprentiship. Although I've forgotten most of the techniques I learned through him as I developed my own style over the years.
Q. Were you always interested in other types of art or specifically tattoo art?
I was always interested in all kinds of art but tattoos really drew me in.
Q. Did you start off as full-time, or did you start tattooing part-time?
I started part time as I was still in high school and didn't want to quit.
Q. Was it difficult to build a portfolio? And how did you get your name known? did it take long?
Q. How did you get in touch with clients initially, is it different now?
At first I worked in a street shop so they came to me. Now I have a private studio and its all word of mouth.
Q. Have you ever had to deal with difficult or frightened clients? How do you put people at ease or deal with difficult customers?
All the time - I usually have a cigarette with them and just talk them through it.
Q. Do you prefer tattooing men or women or doesn't it matter - who responds better?
Women. Better skin and they don't have all the macho attitude that most guys feel like they have to have walking into a tattoo studio.
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?
Q. What was the hardest part technically to learn? e.g., lining, shading, blending colours etc, and have you developed your own style?
I have developed my own style. The hardest part for me to learn was slowing down when coloring. For some reason about halfway through a tattoo I used to start racing with my machine and I don't need to tell you what happens then right?
Q. How important is using the right equipment, and how did you afford it initially?
You are only as good as the tools you use. I sold the family cow (almost bought beans with it lol) no I just scrimped and saved
Q. How important is hygiene? How did you learn about it?
Hygiene is as important as any aspect of tattooing. I took a blood borne pathogens course and am certified in industrial first aid
Q. What advice would you give on how to find work as a tattooist?
Don't, stay in school become a doctor. No, in all seriousness don't give up ... stay at your day job and draw as much as possible. Build up a good sketchbook. Be humble and show that you're willing to learn
It is a competitive industry there's a lot of crap talking where I come from, but the artists that keep their heads down and do good work will be the ones who last. I've worked with a lot of other tattooists, and a lot of the time it didn't go so well. There's a lot of ego out there
Q. What's your proudest tattooing achievement so far?
Just being able to do what I love everyday is the greatest achievement of all
Q. What are the best & worst things about the industry and tattooing?
The best things about tattooing is the permanency of it. Tattoos are the only thing people can't take away from you. The worst thing is definitely the popularity of reality TV shows that show tattoos being done in 5 minutes .and I find a lot of people believe this is the case .
Always. I suddenly find myself with a lot more friends than I had before I told them I was an artist.
Q. What would you like to achieve in tattooing in future?
A regulated supply system so you have to prove you're a tattooist. It's so easy nowadays to buy an eBay kit and start scratching your friends. This is the thing I hate most about where the industry has gone Chinese supply companies who are just in for a quick buck. They don't care that these people that buy their products could seriously harm people.
Q. If you had one piece of advice to give people who want to become a tattooist, what would it be?
Same as above, be humble be honest with yourself and work your ass off. If you've got time to learn, you've got time to draw.
People are waiting to help.