Artists: Angelo Miller
When did you start tattooing and how did that happen?
A little before the winter of 1991 I was building cabinets and hanging out at the tattoo shop when I had spare time. I was about 18-years-old. The economy where I was took a turn down and I lost my job as a cabinetmaker. Since I was hangin’ around the shop all the time I was able to get an apprenticeship at Dynamic Tattoo with Eric Desmond, which, at the time, was a part of Peter Tat2.
How does it feel to take part in carrying on the legacy of someone like Paul Rogers?
It’s difficult to carry the torch of a legacy like that. Mike, the staff, and I try to just build on it. We are always trying to push for a better future of tattooing by passing on the lessons that we have learned from those greats before us.
History is the backbone of every culture, and this is especially true in tattooing. How do you feel this has affected tattooing, particularly now where social media trends have started to overshadow history?
Social media has an incredible power in our society right now. Someone once said, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” This is such a true statement in today’s world. Social media can be a great tool, if used properly. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, it isn’t used this way. Especially since social media sites aren’t owned by tattoo artists and the things that get promoted aren’t always what is best for the tattoo community. Tattoo artists who are oblivious to the history of tattooing are able to get their names out there with really earning it. It makes it difficult for those of us who have put in the time and effort to be able to pass our knowledge on.
I have followed your work for a long time and I think that the solid, bold style that you present stands by itself. Most of the time I can recognize your tattoos by those traits. Can you tell us about your technical approach?
I have tried to base my style on the tattoos that I saw and thought were cool when I was growing up. These were the ones that were on my uncle and my dad. These tattoos were the ones that we unmistakable. I strive to make the ones that you see from across the room, 30 years after you get ‘em, and it’s still distinguishable.
I respect not only your path and impact on the industry, but also how you’ve stayed true to traditional work. What keeps you inspired and true to this side of tattooing?
Love of the craft has kept me passionate about the true art of tattooing. Also, the fact that I was accepted into the industry back when it was a secret. Back when the only way to learn was if it was passed on to you. Tattoo artists that have this mentality will keep going and growing; we will be here once the fad of being a tattoo artist is long gone.
How is it to work side-by-side with so many solid tattooers at Inksmith & Rogers? What’s the atmosphere like?
Working at Inksmith & Rogers is amazing! We have truly captured lightning in a bottle with the crew that we have. Everyone just pushes each other to do better. We all learn and grow from and with each other. We are a giant family.
Are there any tattoos that you wouldn’t do? What would your worst and best clients be like?
I, personally, would never do a tattoo depicting racist imagery or gang symbols. When I’m getting ready to do a tattoo I also try to take into account who I’m tattooing and what they want to get. I mean, if it was someone’s first tattoos, I wouldn’t do it on their face. The worst type of client is the one who doesn’t want to listen to what we have to tell them, or offer them, about what they’re getting. The best is the opposite of that. They will listen to us about their tattoo idea and let us give them the advice needed to produce the best tattoo possible.