Artists: Matt Ahn
mattahntattoo.com | handofglorytattoo.com
The End Is Near
465 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
FRESHLY INKED: What year did you start tattooing?
MATT AHN: I started tattooing professionally in 2003.
FRESHLY INKED: How did you get into tattooing?
MATT AHN: I started getting tattooed by my friend Mike Page in 1993, when I was 16 years old. It was in Massachusetts and at that time tattooing was still illegal in the state. A year later he gave me a set of Spaulding machines and a power sup- ply. I really wanted to learn.
FRESHLY INKED: Where did you apprentice?
MATT AHN: I first apprenticed under Brendan Kennedy at Holy Oak Tattoo in Holyoke, MA. I had been getting tattooed from Brendan since 1995, and he started teaching me the basics back then. It wasn’t until 2002 that I got a good ground-up shop apprenticeship.
FRESHLY INKED: Do you have any special training?
MATT AHN: Living and tattooing in Japan was an invaluable experience for my study of the Japanese tat- too. It was important for me to see where the images come from, and to immerse myself in the culture and society. We never took days off, and we worked late into the night every night. It was a new kind of discipline for me.
FRESHLY INKED: What conventions have you worked at?
MATT AHN: Some conventions I have worked at are The Second Coming in Tokyo, Musink, Ink-N-Iron, and a few more. A favorite was Permanent Mark’s Tattoo Masters Invitational; I worked with friends who came from Tokyo and Naha, Japan, and it was the first time in America for some of them. Seeing friends from all over the world is always a big motivation for doing shows for me.
FRESHLY INKED: How do you describe your style?
MATT AHN: I try to keep my style diverse. My focus is Asian-style imagery, which is often large-scale and very dynamic. You never know what tattoo is going to come through the door, so studying all styles is important.
FRESHLY INKED: What inspires you as an artist?
MATT AHN: I draw inspiration from many sources—classic Edo prints, any books I find on art or cultures from around the world. Traveling is important, and
working with great tattooers. I try to take in as much as possible. You learn something new every day.
FRESHLY INKED: What sets you apart from other artists?
MATT AHN: People are always commenting on the Japanese sewing needles I use to make my mags with. They still work the best, I think.
FRESHLY INKED: What other mediums do you work in?
MATT AHN: Some other mediums I work in are painting and metalworking. I also have a degree in audio engineering.
FRESHLY INKED: What tattoo artists do you admire most?
MATT AHN: Horiyasu, Horiyoshi 3, Bill Canales, Satoru Koizumi, Rob Benavides, Eddie Deutsche.
FRESHLY INKED: What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
MATT AHN: I look forward to doing tattoos that have meaning for the client. Tattooing is always a humbling experience.
FRESHLY INKED: Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
MATT AHN: Before getting a tattoo, do your research. Find the right tattooer for you, research your imagery. It’s an investment, and it’s for life.
FRESHLY INKED: Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
MATT AHN: A full body- suit. That would be on top of the list.