Artists: Jay Ivaree
What year did you start tattooing: 2017
Tell us about the style of your work: In terms of artwork I am first and foremost a painter, I tend to use very bright colours, and hard outlines on my subjects. I love doing "genre crossovers" mixing traditional subjects with modern colour theory. Almost like Japanese Pop Art. I started to illustrate more seriously in the last couple years as so many tattooers suggested working with a pen over paint to get better fundamentals for tattooing. I am a very new tattooer, and just started getting my name out there, but my ultimate goal is to specialize in Traditional Japanese tattooing. I also love Blackwork and Neo-trad styles where I get to put my own spin on things. I have a shit ton to learn and my style and art will be changing and evolving a lot in the next couple years.
Conventions usually worked: I've attended the Maritime Tattoo Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia and placed Third in the Flash Art Contest. Next I'll be at NIX 2018. Going forward I'd like to attend Hell City, Winnipeg, and the Tattoo Calgary Conventions.
Where did you apprentice?: My apprenticeship began at Electric Lounge Tattoo Studio in Cambridge, ON under tattoo artist/model Sam Mansbridge in 2016.
What tattoo artist do you most admire: Claudia De Sabe!!! Tyler Harrington, Javier Franko, Lynn Akura, Deb Yarian, Horiyoshi III, Hori Kashi, Emily Rose Murray, Tony Hu, Jenn Liles, AlxTattunes, Elliott Wells, Ben Ackerman, Isabella Filouino, it's hard there are so many I look up to and respect
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?: To be honest I don't really give "advice" since I don't feel I have yet deserved to do so hahaha. I just make sure my clients understand I am still learning, make sure they understand the after-care process really. I don't think I'm in a position to tell people what they can or can't get, job-stoppers and all that, I just know what I am willing or not willing to do. There are a shit load of artists who will tattoo anything anywhere, and I'm not like that. I will and have turned down several tattoos that I wasn't comfortable doing and recommended them to someone better suited (like with hands and neck placements for example), so I don't think it's me giving people advice, it's me making sure I can give them what they want, and if not, I send them to the right person.
How did you get into tattooing: I pretty much forced myself into tattooing. I was working counter staff at one of the local lick and stick shops and was seeing how much copy and pasting was going on. At the time I had only been painting and never considered myself like, "an artist," I just really enjoyed painting my friends and family, loved sketching cartoons, just in an activity, stress relieving, fun kind of way. It was just fun. But then as I met with more and more artists in that particular shop- I was watching people who literally didn't give a shit about the clients, the art, the process, the tradition. It just bothered me. I have a lot of heart, I am a singer, a musician, I'm sensitive, sympathetic, and I read, I read like mad. I felt like I had all this knowledge and respect, and in a way wondered how I could make the community a little better. I'd been getting tattoos since I was 16, but it wasn't until I was 22 when I thought maybe I could contribute too. So, I took my portfolio and got rejected by every single shop in the Tri-Cities, haha I definitely cried and cried about it at the time, but now I'm glad I did it the way I did. I never tattooed at home, I never bought an ebay machine, I mean I fully own how new I am, but I respected everyone before me- how hard it was for people to get in for people to start, and I spent months finding a person, a shop, to let me in. I worked very hard, I drew every day, I worked multiple jobs. I didn't fuck anyone for it. I really, really, put everything and everyone I loved in my life on the side to tattoo.
What inspires you to be an artist: I feel like this question will be different for a traditional artist versus a tattooer- especially now that more and more people are calling themselves "tattooists" because they just print off script at home and call it a studio-there's really no art involved, AT ALL. So as a painter, as an illustrator, I draw to relieve stress, I create worlds, I make stories, I mean fuck I have a concept band where all our music represents comic book panels, I do it to escape. To just create something, it's not about good or bad, just make things, maybe someone likes it, maybe someone connects, or- they fucking hate it, but that doesn't matter. I just like making stuff. What inspires me as a tattooer-I wanted to be a part of something, a community, greater than myself. Sometimes people misunderstand my need for trying to be good, or aiming to be "traditional" as like elitism or egotistical, but really it's just so I can radiate what I care about and the values I have so it's easier for me to find people that feel and think the same way. Tradition is important. No matter how new someone is to tattooing I will find out in a second why they started, why they did it, solely based on HOW they did it. Honestly, if I succeed in this career I hope I can pass on a shop and the skill to my children. I feel like there's less and less people that feel the way I do, because to be blunt, there is a serious shortage of artists in tattooing. So like, I draw for me, but I tattoo to try and be apart of the traditional community that I'm desperately trying to reach and be apart of, and hopefully, accepted by. A lot of new shops/studios/whatever are just photocopiers, and that's not why I draw, or why I tattoo, and I really hope that regardless of how much technical work I need to improve, the art and the drive will show how much I care and how much I'm trying.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing: Again I would be very grateful to dive into Japanese Traditional tattooing, if possible I'd love to watch a tebori session, I mean I've learned all I can through books, I would love to actually sit in on a session and watch one, and obviously I would like to receive a full Japanese back piece myself. It's one of those things that of course I want to tattoo it, but I need to be way more versed in the rules and composition before doing anything massive on a person, I want to do it right.
Is there a tattoo that you haven't done yet that you are dying to do: I mean in the immediate future, I would love to do a neo-traditional design on a head, I have the side of mine tattooed and it is one of my favourite tattooing experiences. Down the road, I would like to complete several Japanese back pieces.