Artists: Austin Spencer
Studio 21 Tattoo Gallery
6020 West Flamingo Road Unit B-2
Las Vegas, Nevada 89103
FRESHLY INKED: What year did you start tattooing?
AUSTIN SPENCER: 2000.
FRESHLY INKED: How did you get into tattooing?
AUSTIN SPENCER: I was first exposed to tattooing while watching my dad get illustrations tattooed on him that I had been drawing around the time of junior high, early high school.
FRESHLY INKED: Where did you apprentice?
AUSTIN SPENCER: I apprenticed under Dave Logue in Las Vegas.
FRESHLY INKED: Do you have any special training?
AUSTIN SPENCER: I don’t know karate or anything, but I can drink a lotta gin and still make it home okay.
FRESHLY INKED: What conventions have you worked at? What are some of your best convention memories?
AUSTIN SPENCER: I’ve been tattooing for a good 12 years in the shop and just workin’ on building up the store with my family, and I just haven’t taken the time to do conventions ’til this past year. I was havin’ a conversation with Jime Litwalk one day and he told me it was a shame that I wasn’t out there sharing my work with people. Thought that was a really nice thing to say and it made a lot of sense, so I got on it and made it happen. Thanks, Jime. I had a great time working the Calgary show and the San Diego show last year, and this year have done shows in Miami (Tattoopalooza), Austin, TX (Live Fast), and Philadelphia, and am currently on my way to the Vancouver, WA, show (Ink Travelers). I’ll be working as many as I can get into over the next couple years. I just have fun doin’ the shows and meeting people. I just trip out being around all these amazing tattooers and getting to watch ’em work. Having beers with guys like Dave Tevenal or getting to watch people like Steve Moore tattoo—so much talent out there it’s often discouraging, ha ha. As long as I’m out there meeting people and seeking inspiration I’ll be happy.
FRESHLY INKED: How do you describe your style?
AUSTIN SPENCER: I get asked that all time and don’t really know what to say. I guess I kinda just describe it as fun, flowy, and colorful!? Ha ha. I’d like to say I’m pretty diverse, but I’m looking to start sticking with more of the cartoony, simple illustrations. I dunno, I change my direction once a week.
FRESHLY INKED: What inspires you as an artist?
AUSTIN SPENCER: Everything, ha ha. I seem to find something every day that I wanna get into and start to learn about, and I try to start new hobbies every week. I’m really trying to focus on just my tattooing. Instagram will be the death of me! Ha ha. I use that for inspiration the most lately. Hit me up [@onmydong].
FRESHLY INKED: What sets you apart from other artists?
AUSTIN SPENCER: That’s really hard to say. Lately I’ve been working around a lot of traditional artists, and I’m defiantly not that. I love and respect it; it just doesn’t come out of me.
FRESHLY INKED: What other mediums do you work in?
AUSTIN SPENCER: I’ve been mainly working with acrylics lately.
FRESHLY INKED: How have you branched out from tattooing?
AUSTIN SPENCER: Opening our own studio in 2003 with my family has opened a lot of doors to new challenges: learning to manage people and build up a group of amazing and super talented artists along with the development of an amazing website, online store, our small retail area in our lobby, and building a worldwide following as far as our clientele and being in Las Vegas allows us to. I’m very lucky to have my family to help each other out as far as following through on our individual additions to the store’s culture and brand.
FRESHLY INKED: What tattoo artists do you admire most?
AUSTIN SPENCER: Right now I’m real stoked on James Tex, Dave Tevenal, Adam Hathorn and Steve Byrne … and many, many others!
FRESHLY INKED: What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
AUSTIN SPENCER: I love tattooing and am looking real forward to meeting new people with new ideas and challenging projects, along with those little fun jammers.
FRESHLY INKED: Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
AUSTIN SPENCER: Eat some food, drink a beer, and get ready to tell me some fucked up stories about whatever you’re into or do for a living! I love tattooing cops and firefighters along with paramedics—they always have fuckin’ weird stories.
FRESHLY INKED: Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
AUSTIN SPENCER: Eah, I dunno. I have a pretty kick-ass clientele that generally lets me do what I want, so I do. I’ve got some fun projects in the works!