Artists: Aric Taylor
Art Junkies Tattoo
14757 Bear Valley Road
Hesperia, CA 92345
What year did you start tattooing?
Since about 1996.
How did you get into tattooing?
My parents, mostly. They had some tattoos and I would go to the tattoo shop with my mom and was just so stoked and excited to be there that from that day on I knew that I wanted to be a tattooist. I have a lot of respect for my parents—if it was not for them encouraging and giving me the freedom to do what I wanted to do, I would not be where I am today, even though the rest of myfamily and other people frowned upon it.
Where did you apprentice?
I did not have a really good apprenticeship. I started taking it at a shop in Ridgecrest, CA, at a shop called Permanent Illusions, and they taught the basics—you know, mopping floors and scrubbing tubes, how to use an autoclave. Also a lot of drawing flash and how to make stencils. But eventually the shop closed the doors and moved to a different city. At that time that was the only shop in town, not like now how there is one everywhere. I eventually hooked up with this guy Quannah Driver, who was tattooing out of his house and
already making great tattoos. He taught me how to make needles and tune machines—he really taught me so much, and I have very much respect for him.
Do you have any special training?
No, not really. I took some art classes in college but most of my knowledge is from my peers and friends. I try to learn from as many people as possible. The shop I am at now, Art Junkies, has really pushed me to try my hardest every day, and I get to watch all my friends do badass tattoos all day long. It’s really great!
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards?
I have worked a bunch of shows all over the world and want to keep doing that. It really keeps me inspired by
watching all these badass tattooers out there. I really like the Hell City show and the Evian show in France. As far as awards, I have some but it’s not too important to me, and I just never really enter a lot of tattoos in them. As long as my customer is happy, that’s all that matters. How do you describe your style? I am really versatile, so I like doing all kinds of tattoos. I really like doing portraits and realism, and putting my own twist on things.
What inspires you as an artist?
Staying around positive people who are just as motivated as I am. I like the fact that I can go into work and we can all sit down together and talk about what tattoos we are doing and give each other ideas on how we can make them better. I am very fortunate to be able to work around such awesome artists.
What other media do you work in?
I paint mostly in oils; sometimes I do little watercolor paintings, and also marker sketches and pastels I like very much.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
Probably all the guys I work with—they are just such hard workers, and it shows in the tattoos that they produce. There are also many others outside of our shop, but that list could go on
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I like doing bigger tattoos and would like to do more. I also have done some collaboration tattoos with some of the guys, and that was really cool. Right now I will just keep on trucking and do tattoos for the pleasure of my customers’ request.
Is there anyone that you would like to tattoo?
I would like to tattoo everyone who wants to get tattooed by me—does not matter. That’s my favorite part of tattooing, that I meet so many cool people and kind of build a friendship between us.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Wear deodorant, ’cause that’s the worst, when you have to tattoo on someone for five to eight hours and they
reek of B.O.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
I actually used to have a set of flash that just had off-the-wall stuff on it—like, we drew a vagina spider and all kinds of weird shit, but no one would ever go for it. I would really like to do some full back piece portrait work, and I have started some, but I am just waiting to finish them. It’s frustrating.