Artists: Chad Miskimon
What year did you start tattooing?
I’ve been tattooing a little over f ve years now.
What was your first shop experience like?
I apprenticed at a street shop that focused on cheap tattoos at high volume. The shop was near a military base and survived by tattooing all the soldiers. I look back and cringe at some of the practices that went on there, but I learned a lot in that first year, even if some of it was what not to do.
What is the tattoo scene like in Maryland?”
It’s a mixed bag. We’ve got a lot of talent in our area, and that can be really inspiring. Halo (of Ink Master fame,) and Casey Anderson are both phenomenal artists and they are both in pretty close proximity. Unfortunately, Maryland has some pretty lax regulations regarding tattooing, so you see some stuff that makes you cringe for quality and safety reasons. Being near Baltimore, we see the whole spectrum of clients at my studio and I think that’s really important. Obviously, everyone loves the large format work and the clients that sign on for a 15-hour masterpiece, but having a healthy amount of walk-ins for script and jammers keeps you sharp and keeps you humble.
What led you to work primarily in color?
I just like all the options that color gives you. Different palettes can really change the mood of a piece and you can do so much with texture.
When do you find yourself working in black and grey?
I’m always down to do a black and grey piece. It’s all about what the client wants and what serves the piece best. Black and grey can be a lot less forgiving and forces you to really focus on the strength of your image and your light values.
What are some of the major subject matters you like to tattoo?
I’m mostly known for realism and abstract work. I love tattooing dark and horror related stuff. I really enjoy doing animal portraits and I’m very into bioorganic.
What inspires you as an artist?
Other artists inspire me a lot. The boundaries of what is possible in tattooing are being broken and redefined all the time. Starting out, I really looked up to Joshua Carlton; his work had a definite influence on my own style. I also admire the work of Paul Booth and Guy Aitchison. Inspiration comes from outside the industry all of the time from a variety of places.
What sets you apart from other artists?
I could give some touchy-feely answer about the nature of my art, but really the main thing that starts to set an artist apart is their work ethic. I’m not afraid to say that I bust my ass doing what I do. If I’m not tattooing, I’m drawing or doing research; I’m painting; I’m taking a class. I, personally, don’t think that there is any substitute for a good work ethic if you’re looking to excel.
What other media do you work in?
I love to paint and work mostly in oil media, but occasionally will use acrylics. I’ve started to get into digital painting as well.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
Not far beyond my painting and owning a studio. However, I have a lot of things that I want to do and will as the time becomes right. I think it’s important to think big and go for the gold.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
It’s important to do research and find the best artist for what they want. Most of all, speak up! It’s going to be on you for a long, long time and I wouldn’t rely on the artist reading your mind.