Artists: El-E Mags
What year did you start tattooing?
How did you get into tattooing?
As a teenager, my sister’s boyfriend had this dragon tattoo on his whole torso, and I was fascinated by how it could be done with a tattoo machine with such detail. It was the first time I had seen a tattoo like that in person, and I said to myself that this is what I wanted to do. No one wanted to apprentice a young kid, so I started on my own. Luckily, I met a dude named Calvin Hill who said he would help me out.
What first brought you to work at Bang Bang NYC?
I was looking to work in a shop, so I went to show my portfolio to this shop in the Lower East Side, and the shop girl pretended I wasn’t there. Then Bang came up to me, looked at my book, and said, “Come outside with me for a sec.” He was like, “Listen, I’m digging your work and I’m about to open up a shop in a couple of months and I want you to work for me.” Now here I am.
What conventions have you done recently or are planning to do this year?
The last convention I did was in Gothenburg, Sweden. I’ve been lying low, but next year I plan on doing some conventions in Europe and South America.
How do you describe your style?
I really don’t like to label myself, but I guess you could say neo-traditional. I like to mix things up, and I like to do what I like.
What inspires you as an artist? NYC. There is art everywhere.
What other mediums do you work in?
I like to paint; oil, acrylic, and watercolor. Recently I’ve been doing some silk-screening. I’m working on my own T-shirt line.
How is the tattoo scene in New York different than other shops you’ve worked in?
The tattoo scene in New York is pretty cool. I’m an NYC tattooer. I learned how to tattoo here and have worked in over 15 shops in New York City, so I understand the vibe.
Is there anyone you would like to tattoo?