Artists: Kevin Stewart
What year did you start tattooing: 2006-01-01
Do you have any special training: I am CPR, First Aid, & AED certified with a background including search and rescue training. Also, I believe self-education is the single most important investment an artist can make. Spending a few hours each week doing research has helped me grow as an artist and keeps me up to date with current standards. I'm always blogging articles on how to practice body-modification safely or about new techniques, etc.
Conventions usually worked: I sometimes attend conventions as a visitor. I don't like the idea of working them because I feel more focused at home. However, I always learn something when I do make it to one.
Where did you apprentice?: I apprenticed under Kelli Tipton-Graham at Second Skin Tattoo, Inc. in 2005 as a piercer and in 2006 as a tattooist. Later, I followed the works of artists like Steve Haworth, and through research and experience, learned how to perform heavier modifications.
What tattoo artist do you most admire: I watched Joshua Carlton take home a few awards from the Knoxville convention some years back. After he won, I checked out his portfolio and was an instant fan. Of course, I must pay respect to Norman Collins, Mark Mahoney, and other pioneers in our industry
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?: I always tell my clients to just relax and take their time. I think too many people get the "tattoo fever" and want it all right then and there. While doing the occasional flash piece doesn't bother me, I like knowing my client has thought through the concept. Building a custom work of art is something that I can enjoy with my clients, making them part of the entire process. That's what it's really all about anyway, right?
How did you get into tattooing: I kinda fell into tattooing by accident. Kelli had done a few tattoos and piercings for me before she owned her own studio. One day i get a random phone call from her asking if I wanted to learn how to pierce. She opened Second Skin, and I was her first employee. from there I just kept trying to learn new things, including tattooing.
What inspires you to be an artist: My inspiration comes from my clients. It's never been about what I want to do or how I feel. It's about them. How they feel, what they are going through, how they see themselves. I'm just the guy who's lucky enough to help them transform themselves into who they truly believe they are. I like hearing peoples stories, learning how they ended up in my chair. I like the feeling I get when someone is satisfied with something I helped create. I also enjoy teaching people about body-art. How it works, and why it works the way it does. I like learning new things. To me there is nothing better than seeing the relief on someones face when you complete a procedure that others had told them was impossible.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing: My favorite pieces come from other forms of media. I like doing superheroes the most, because my oldest son gets excited too. I'm a sucker for anything related to aviation. Really, I'm kind of a big dork, ha. I also like designs that make you think. Clever little spins on reality, or even just wise words can be fun.
Is there a tattoo that you haven't done yet that you are dying to do: Every month I run a special of some kind. It usually involves a trivia question about whatever subject I'm in the mood to tattoo. I'll post the question on facebook and the first to answer correctly gets a free or discounted tattoo. Back in May I gave away a $500 tattoo for a blue-ray copy of the Star Wars trilogy. It cost my client about $40, so everybody won! I'm still working on it, so i don't have pics yet.I gave away the Iron Man tattoo in my portfolio free of charge. People could bring in their ticket stubs, and enter them into a drawing. The winner got the tattoo, and I got to have some fun. I think it's good to work for free sometimes too. I think it helps me appreciate my work and my clients more, and it balances my other philosophy. So, if I want to do something, I just ask around.