Artists: Mel Judkins
What year did you start tattooing? I started tattooing in January 2000.
How did you get into tattooing? I was a college student who moved into a military town and working in the local mall or the strip club didn’t appeal to me so I went looking for employment that would inspire me artistically. I called two shops, the first didn’t take my inquiry seriously. It was clear he was only interested in seeing my “assets” in person. Then I called Steve Mishoe at Skin Art and he invited me by the shop. He took a chance on me and I can only hope he’s proud that I am still thriving in the industry.
Where did you apprentice? Skin Art in Jacksonville, NC, which is owned by Steve Mishoe. My co-workers and partners-in-crime were John Fuller (RIP), Mike Knox, and James Bukauskas. My first tattoo brothers helped me build a thick skin in the industry. Little did I know what a man’s world I was stepping into.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards? I have worked at lots of conventions but never enough of them. Some convention cities I’ve done are Tampa, Orlando, Jackson, Colorado Springs, Greensboro, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Boise, Columbus, Omaha, Kansas City and yes, I have some trophies to match.
How do you describe your style? I like tattoos that will stand the test of time so I am drawn to a more graphic look. Bold outlines, big color, high bangs. What can I say? I grew up in the 80’s.
What inspires you as an artists? 1. The classics: Love, death and beauty – which ever comes first because they are all related. 2. Other artists who blow my mind. 3. The unfortunate.
What other mediums do you work in? I’ve dabbled in painting, illustration, watercolor, photography, graphic design, but I have a new interest in mixed media and jewlery making. My goal is to bring crafting into the tattoo spotlight. I adore those girls that are doing tattoo inspired hand embroidery. God bless Etsy.com.
What tattoo artist’s do you admire most? Any artist that is willing to share knowledge. It’s refreshing to meet other artists that still have some class. Modesty is a rare and admirable quality in this industry.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing? I look forward to doing something without limits. There are clients few and far between that are cool enough to not stick their fingers into your batter when your baking.
Is there anyone that you would like to tattoo? There’s always a guy in the crowd who makes fun of girls with tramp stamps or that guy who complains how tattoos make girls look trashy. That’s the guy I want to tattoo… let me at him.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them? 1. Don’t rush it; you have the rest of your life to decide. 2. Don’t ask me to decide for you.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do? The YouTube’s Dramatic Prairie Dog, of course.