Artists: John Montgomery
Grand Tattoo Lodge
314 W. Colton Avenue
Redlands, CA 92373
What year did you start tattooing?
I began tattooing in 1995.
How did you get into tattooing?
I was a self-taught artist who was a professional comic book illustrator. All my friends either were tattoo artists or hung around in tattoo shops. I always say that tattooing found me. My good friend Garrett Casse gave me an opportunity to do a tattoo on him, and ever since then, I couldn’t imagine doing anything
else besides tattooing.
Where did you apprentice?
I never had a formal apprenticeship. However, I had a few people help me get started, such as Garrett Casse. I actually started tattooing in a state where, at the time, tattooing was illegal— Oklahoma. I began to learn everything and traveling to other states to do guest spots.
Do you have any special training?
As I previously stated, before I became a tattoo artist, I was a professional comic book illustrator. I worked for well-known companies, such as Marvel, DC, and Image, as well as a few other small companies.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards?
That is a hard question. I have been attending typically 10 to 15 tattoo conventions per year consistently for the past 10 years. Some of my favorite conventions where I have won awards are at Hell City, Columbus, OH, and Phoenix. I have also won many awards from the National Tattoo Association, where I have recently been
awarded my 10-year membership certificate, recognizing my good standing. I am proud to say that I am a member of PTAA (Professional Tattooer Association of Australia), where I am the only American member.
How do you describe your style?
I don’t have a “style” per se; instead I try to do everything, whether it be traditional, portraits, black-and-gray, and Japanese, where I often add my own flair so people can recognize that a certain piece is my work.
What inspires you as an artist?
My traveling has to be the most inspirational for me as an artist. I bring home hundreds of pictures of architecture and local art from the cities around the world that I visit. I consider myself to be on a personal journey to find and share everything I can about tattooing, incorporating what I see and learn into the tattoos that I do and the knowledge I can share with other artists.
What other media do you work in?
I rarely have the time to work in other mediums, for I am involved so much in this industry besides actually tattooing. Not only do I own the Grand Tattoo Lodge, I also manufacture ink (Alla Prima Ink, LLC), and am the inventor of Sure Glide Tips.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
Filip Leu. In fact, I just got back from Switzerland last night, where Filip Leu finished my leg piece.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
For 2011, I am looking forward to achieving the goal of completing 10 Japanese style back pieces where I will incorporate new and modern techniques.
Is there anyone that you would like to tattoo?
For me, it is not who I tattoo … on second thought, I would love to tattoo Jared Allen and/or any cast members from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Keep it simple! Develop a concept without getting convoluted so then a great piece of art can be created. Then the details can be added in.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
There are at least a hundred tattoos that I am dying to do but don’t have enough time!