Artists: Mike Brummett
What year did you start tattooing: I arrived at Tattoo Seen in early 2007 and started my apprenticeship. I officially did my first paid tattoo in May of 2009 so I guess that’s when I officially started.
Do you have any special training: My “training” started during my apprenticeship. I served a somewhat old-school apprenticeship under Pon from Queens, NY. He has been tattooing for over 13 years now and is one of the best, and most well rounded artists I’ve ever met. Having him teach me the essential core values and techniques is still the most important piece of knowledge I have today. Other than the years I spent learning to keep my head low and work hard I try to continue my art and tattoo education every chance I get. I constantly take seminars and travel to learn as much as I can from artists all over the world. Continued thirst for education is the most important quality a man could have
Tell us about the style of your work:
I do not like to say I have a style. I truly believe if you are a true tattooer, you should be able to make any customer that walks through the door happy. I always use black outlines, along with black shading and color blending due to my “classical” training. I just want a customer to leave with a tattoo they are happy to wear and that looks like a tattoo.
Conventions usually worked: I try not to work many conventions. There are so many that it is hard to choose from. I am usually pretty swamped with handling shop life, so when I get a chance to travel I try to hit shows like Hell City or the Paradise Gathering. Other than that I enjoy doing guest spots. I feel like they are more intimate and I feel I could learn more from them.
Where did you apprentice?: I apprenticed at Tattoo Seen in the Bronx, NY under the artist Pon. I attribute my well roundedness to apprenticing in the Bronx. It’s such a crazy melting pot that you really didn’t know what to expect day to day. I learned a lot from being there and working with those guys. If you didn’t keep up you got swept under the rug.
What tattoo artist do you most admire: Ahh..This list could go on forever. To keep it short I love Gogue and James Tex for their incredible layout techniques and mind blowing abilities. I really enjoy Seth Wood and Jim Sylvias, their work is flawless and clean. Those guys kill it. I deeply admire Aaron Della Vedova and the whole Guru crew for being incredibly talented and having one of the best shops in the whole world. Last but not least, Russ Abbott. I have the utmost respect for his dedication to the craft. Besides his technical perfect tattoos, he has the most diligent approach, preparation and understanding of tattooing I have ever seen. He also tries hard to constantly better the industry with education and development. I have learned so much from him and continues to try and do so any chance I get.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?: They really need to think and prepare. Listen to your artists suggestions and see why they a suggesting certain things for you. We really do want to give you the best tattoo possible.
How did you get into tattooing: I basically walked into a tattoo shop for my first time and I never left. I was making art for as long as I can remember but I never thought I would do it as a profession. I remember growing up and dreaming to be an animator for Disney, but that never worked out. I was in my second year of college as a forensics science major when I found tattooing. It’s been a fully focused and intense relationship ever since. I honestly could not see myself doing anything else.
What inspires you to be an artist: Mostly books. I try to read with any free time I get. I like having my brain put images to words to get a story along. Besides loving to read I think it is a very practical practice for tattooers. Usually a client comes in and tells us with words how they want their tattoo and it is our job to visualize it and conceptualize it. What better way to practice then read stories and practice getting imagery for the provided information.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing: Anything I can have some artistic freedom on. I love collaborating with a client. Taking their ideas and adding my take on it. Those are my favorite tattoos.
Is there a tattoo that you haven't done yet that you are dying to do: I’d like to do more large scale work; sleeves, backs, torsos to exercise more layout and flow techniques. But other than that I’m down to do anything that walks through the door.