High Street Tattoo
872 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43215
What year did you start tattooing?
I started my apprenticeship in 1995 and began tattooing in 1997.
How did you get into tattooing?
I was actually getting tattooed by Jerry Issel at Studio Zee and we got to talking. He asked if I had any interest in learning to tattoo. I was in college at the time with no clear direction and thought it might be something I would be interested in doing. I’m really lucky, ’cause it must have been some type of destiny. It really fell into my lap. I had no idea that 15 years later I would be tattooing—moreover, that I’d have had a successful career as a tattoo artist.
Where did you apprentice?
I started my apprenticeship at Studio Zee in New Haven, CT, under Jerry Issel and Zee. Then I went to Papillion’s Turnpike Tattoo in Meriden, CT, where I finished apprenticing under these two guys there, Travis and Brian. That was when I really got into tattooing. They were a little bit more into the type of work I wanted to create, so it was a better fit. It was also a completely different learning style. My first apprenticeship was really old-school, Mr. Miyagi–style. I did a lot of slave labor in trade for the tidbits of information I earned. My second apprenticeship was more of a sink-or-swim scenario. I already had knowledge of machine setup and breakdown, making needles, etc., so my second apprenticeship was application.
Do you have any special training?
No; minus my apprenticeship, I am a self-taught artist. But I guess after 15 years of drawing…if I haven’t figured it out, I probably should be out looking for a new job.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards?
I have done a lot of tattoo conventions at this point—I really enjoy Hell City, Motor City, and Philly and Baltimore. I want to start doing international stuff, but it’s hard for me to get enough time out of the country, having kids and all. I have won some awards in the past, but I am not much of a trophy collector.
How do you describe your style?
My style has been described as cute and creepy. However, I like to believe that I have the ability to do art that is beyond just cute and creepy. I tend to call it illustrative tattoos.
What inspires you as an artist?
Honestly, everything. News, art, people, nature, my kids. I am a very analytical person, so it is in my nature to study and learn from everything around me.
What sets you apart from other artists?
Being confident in what I am doing. Although I am often influenced by the art around me, I am not big on following trends in style. I just do what I do with my own artistic vocabulary. And I try to have a large artistic vocabulary so that I can best tell a story visually, without limiting myself.
What other mediums do you work in?
I paint in acrylic and oil, and I do pencil, plus pen and ink.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Anything that has a unique and creative story behind it. I love illustrating concepts.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
I just want them to be confident in what they are getting. If you’re second guessing it, we shouldn’t be applying it.
Is there a tattoo you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
As a movie buff, I would love to get to illustrate movie scenes in my style. I think that would be really fun.