Artists: Karl Berringer
What year did you start tattooing?
I was probably 13 or so when I found out about the hand poke method of tattooing, so I started doing those on my friends. I later graduated to a homemade. In hindsight, I realize I was doing everything wrong, but at the time, being young and uneducated about it, I thought it was great. Fast-forward to 1998, Justin Wright was tattooing the right way in a shop. The shop he was at needed another artist, so he suggested me and the rest is history.
How would you describe your style?
I guess it might fall into the category of color realism. Working so many years in a walk-in street shop made me a lot more versatile than if I’d started off in a custom shop, because you never knew what was going to walk in the door. On a typical day I might have done some old Cherry Creek flash followed by lettering and a custom drawn piece. As much as it annoyed me at the time, I think it gave me a strong technical foundation and the ability to be versatile. Today my favorite type of tattoos to do would definitely be horror-themed, followed by any type of color realism.
I think your black-and-gray work is pretty good. But I do not see many black-and-gray tattoos coming from you. Is there a reason for that?
I really like doing black-and-gray work but most people don’t ask for that from me. It’s like a vicious circle. They don’t see me doing it so they don’t ask me to do it. Overall, I think color tattoos are more difficult simply for the fact that you have to think more about your color choices and how they work with each other.
Do you practice any other medium besides tattoo art?
I do draw and paint as well. I recently started oil painting and it’s been very humbling. It definitely seems to require a different way of thinking. I’m used to tattooing, which to me is like painting with paint that dries immediately, and the super long drying times of oils are tough for me to get used to. I’ve painted with acrylics in the past and they seemed a little easier for me to use.
Whenever you are searching for a new idea, where do you find inspiration?
There’s inspiration to be found everywhere if you can slow down and see it. I’m always so busy rushing to get here or there that I miss out on things. There are so many artists out there that inspire me to push harder through their work ethics as well as their skills, like Cecil Porter, Dave Tevenal, and Victor Chil.
Do you have any hobbies or any other talents?
Well, when I’m not working or taking care of my son, Evan, I love motorcycles. I recently redid mine and love going out riding when it’s warm enough, but being in northeast Ohio, that’s not very much. I’ve always been mechanically inclined and even went
to college for a while with the major of mechanical engineering.
How many conventions do you work?
I usually only get to do about three to four shows a year because of my son, but I’d love to do more. They’re always a good time. I think my favorites to work at so far have been TattooLaPalooza in Miami and the newer NEPA Tattoo Arts Fest that Ron Russo started putting together. Hell City is always great, but I still haven’t worked at one.