Artists: Christopher Kelley
What year did you start tattooing: 2012
Do you have any special training: I graduated with a bachelor in fine art at the same time that I finished my apprenticeship in the first studio I ever worked in, Clarksville Custom Tattooing.
Tell us about the style of your work: It's mostly a mixture of traditional American and Japanese. I have a knack for linework and color. Also I bring a lot of classical drawing techniques from my training in college to create crisp and clean designs.
Conventions usually worked: I have been to several large conventions as an apprentice, but still have never tattooed at any conventions. I am looking to book myself at atleast 3 conventions in this upcoming year.
Where did you apprentice?: Clarksville TN at a shop on the river walk called Clarksville Custom Tattooing. I also worked as an apprentice for about 6 months even after I had a license at another studio called Love Blood Ink. It was on Ft. Campbell Blvd. across from gate 4.
What tattoo artist do you most admire: Jack Rudy was an originator in the tattoo industry with the black and grey technique. I respect the all the ones who came before me and I've always researched tattooing history. I appreciate what he and Good Time Charlie did to pave the way for artists now to learn from their knowledge of tattooing.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?: Its not that simple! J/k I usually try to guide my clients through the whole process of getting a tattoo as comfortably as possible. I try to find out as much as I can about who they are and what kind of design would best fit their ideas. Informing them about what they can expect from me as an artist is extremely important. I never want any clients to leave with any disappointment with their choice.
How did you get into tattooing: I was interested in tattooing since I was atleast 10 years old. I was always at bookstores and in the art sections. I loved to draw things that I saw and tattoo magazines were becoming very popular at that time. I thought the things I would see in them were amazing and as the years passed I just became more and more obsessed.
What inspires you to be an artist: I have a major drive within myself to get better. Inspiration for me comes from artists that I watch do amazing things every day. I love taking inspiration from artists I meet and work with, and especially from my clients, who come to me with some extremely artistic design ideas.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing: more large scale and multi session traditional mixes for sure. I enjoy creative designs with lettering. Id like to do some more intricate, clean lettering pieces.
Is there a tattoo that you haven't done yet that you are dying to do: Every tattoo is a unique experience that I take something from; I just want to continue tattooing and doing as many new designs as possible in this lifetime.