Artists: Ashley Love
What year did you start tattooing?
I left college in 2002, so I believe probably 2003
How did you get into tattooing?
I’ve always been extremely passionate about art, and once I realized I didn’t want to pursue engineering—which I was studying in college—I dropped out and did everything to prove myself to John Williams, the awesome man who taught me the trade.
Where did you apprentice?
We worked at a handful of different shops in the one and a half or two years I was learning under John. We were always in Charlotte, NC, though.
Do you have any special training?
I had taken art classes from grade school through high school, and continued to study design on the side while at college.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards?
I’ve worked the Greensboro, NC, show; the Richmond, VA, show; and the Philadelphia show here in America. And this past spring I worked at Tattoo World Strasbourg, France. I won first place tattoo of the day, Saturday, at Tattoo World Strasbourg, and then second place on Sunday.
How do you describe your style?
Western traditional, with a folk influence.
What inspires you as an artist?
I don’t think I’ve ever come up with an answer to this question. Everything?
What other media do you work in?
I paint with watercolors. It took me a long time to get the hang of it, but I was determined. And yarn! I knit and crochet nonstop in the winter.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
Geez, lemme see … Sailor Jerry, all the guys at Smith Street (Steve Boltz, Bert Krak, Eli Guinters, Dan Santoro), Dustin Golden, Simon Erl, Joel Madberg, Steve Byrne. And so many more, seriously.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Traditional tattoos, where I get to throw in my own style. I also look forward to choosing colors.
Before someone gets a tattoo, what advice do you give them?
Think about it. Make sure it’s something you’ll like. Don’t try to throw too much meaning into it, and don’t try to cover too much space just to look heavily tattooed.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
Not at the moment. There’s always something new I’d like to do, though. I’m always into the idea of tattooing my paintings.