Artists: Mike Rubendall
Kings Avenue Tattoo
844 North Broadway
Massapequa, NY 11758
What year did you start tattooing?
I started tattooing around 1995, 1996.
How did you get into tattooing?
At the age of 17 I had the pleasure of doing a rather rigorous apprenticeship under a man they call “Foot Long” Frank Romano. He took me under his wing and I tattooed with him for 10 years.
Where did you apprentice?
I apprenticed at Da Vinci Tattoo.
Do you have any special training?
As far as art, no. I do not have any sort of formal art training. Most of my artistic ability has been developed through tattooing. I never felt that I had any natural ability, so it was difficult for me at times to express myself onto the skin of paper. I just worked really hard to be a tattooer, and I think it’s like anything else—you get out what you put in.
What conventions have you worked at?
I’ve been to over a hundred tattoo conventions over the years, national as well as international. I’ve been fortunate to work in places such as Japan, China, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and England.
How do you describe your style?
I’m not really certain how to describe my style. Starting out in a street shop and tattooing anything that walked through the door forced me to explore many different styles. I’ve always been heavily influenced by different types of Asian imagery and feel that it’s strongly present in my work. I think it really lends itself to tattooing. It has been proved to stand the test of time, and it really captures the art of simplicity. I believe that my style is a result of the different art and artists that surround me. I try to take aspects of all different kinds of art and incorporate them into my tattooing to the best of my ability.
What inspires you as an artist?
I would have to say that I am a competitive person in some ways. If I’m inspired by something or someone it will motivate me to, in a strange way, almost analyze the fact of why I was moved in a particular way. This in turn inspires me to try to re-create or capture the same essence and incorporate the same feeling into my work.
What other mediums do you work in?
I also work with markers and watercolors.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
Don Ed Hardy, Greg Irons, Horiyoshi, and Horitomo.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I look more forward to tattooing an interesting and unique person than the actual subject matter. I feel that the tattoo becomes the easy part when it is a pleasure to deal with a great client.
Have you tattooed any celebrities?
Yes, a few. The most notable would have to be Damon Dash and Evan Rachel Wood.
Is there anyone that you would like to tattoo?
I would have liked to have tattooed my dad before he died in 2007.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Basically I explain to people that they should do their homework. Research different artists and images and be sure they are making the right choice for the right reasons. There is no excuse why someone should receive a bad tattoo nowadays with all the information that is available through magazines, books, and the internet. People tend to get the tattoos they deserve.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
I have been fortunate enough to deal with many trusting clients who have given me plenty of artist freedom and allow me to make tattoos that I am really excited about. There are still a few I wish I could do over, though.