Artists: Kurt Fagerland
190A Carroll Street SE
Atlanta, GA 30312
What year did you start tattooing?
I started tattooing in 2004.
How did you get into tattooing?
I filled a few sketchbooks with tattoo designs and whatever else I was interested in drawing. I took those books to every decent shop that I knew of in the area and asked to apprentice. I had a lot of doors shut in my face. I’m glad that I did it that way. I didn’t let rejection keep me from what I wanted to do. I had to keep knocking on that door until someone let me in. I’ll always appreciate where I am today because I had to work for it. An apprenticeship wasn’t just handed to me easily. Knowledge passed from a tattooer to their apprentice is a huge gift. It should be earned through hard work and dedication. Too often it seems aspiring tattooers take that for granted.
Where did you apprentice?
I apprenticed at Corts Royal Ink in Patchogue, NY.
Do you have any special training?
I have a bachelors in fine art from New York Tech.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards? What are some of your best convention memories?
I had a great time at Hell City Phoenix and the Atlanta tattoo convention earlier this year. I did a portrait of John Locke from the TV show Lost. It won first place at the Atlanta convention for most realistic tattoo. Thanks to Matt who drove all the way out here to enter the competition. I’m very lucky to have such dedicated clients/friends.
How do you describe your style?
Illustrative, sometimes bordering on realism.
What inspires you as an artist?
Other artists. I am always drawing inspiration from artists that I work with. I am surrounded by talented, dedicated people. I think there is a little competition that I have with my closest friends. I see them killing it with new art all the time—I do what I can to keep up.
What sets you apart from other artists?
That is a trick question. I would have to generalize all of tattooing and all tattooers if I’m going to try and describe what might set me apart. I only know what I am, and that is a hard worker. I give 110 percent to my art and my clients. I am always working hard to learn, improve, and raise the bar. I think that’s what a lot of artists are doing, though.
What other mediums do you work in?
I paint with watercolor, acrylics, and oil but more often I like to work with graphite when I’m not tattooing.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
I’ve done commissioned art for customers before, and I have a book project that seems to have no completion date in sight. I find it really hard to get away from tattooing. There is only so much time in the day.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
That is a long list. There are so many good tattooers out there. I am constantly impressed by people like Ron Wells and Jason Monroe who are working hard to find new ways to improve their craft, making huge progress in a relatively short period of time. And people like Sean Herman or Myke Chambers, talented tattooers who have already accomplished so much but still manage to remain humble, nice people. These guys have really taught me a lot.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Large custom color tattoos.
Is there anyone that you would like to tattoo?
Anyone and everyone.
Before someone gets a tattoo, what advice do you give them?
Think about your future tattoos—or even just the possibility that this might not be your last one. If you feel like you might get more tattoos someday, avoid getting a small tattoo with the idea that you can just add on or cover later. I feel like people sometimes don’t fully consider the permanence of a tattoo before they go in. Cover-up tattoos and additions are never as successful as the tattoos that were planned carefully from the beginning.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
I want to do a nice-sized tattoo on someone’s head. A big tattoo on the side of a girl’s head would be great. Let’s make that happen.