What year did you start tattooing?
Right, well I think it was two years or so ago because I remember never being so broke in my life. It soon changed, though, when I started working seven days a week. It was a slow start.
How did you get into tattooing?
I began attending a university to do photography in Cardiff, Wales. I had no control over my own money at that time so when my student loan came through I pissed it up against the wall, bought clothes and got my first tattoo. It was a pair of eagle wings on either side of my neck. I thought I was so cool at the time and I knew I never wanted a normal job to begin with. After my first experience I pondered at the thought that tattooing could be the way to go, but never gave it further thought. I didn’t even enjoy photography either. I think I was just stuck in a rut and was not sure what I wanted to do. I quit university, scrounged off mother for another year, completed a foundation course in art and was stuck again. I thought, “Yeah, why not?” and handed my first portfolio to a studio. I was accepted and that’s how it all started.
What was your first shop experience like?
Really bad. My first three shop experiences were pretty lame to be honest. The first one had just opened up on a side street in Cardiff and offered me an apprenticeship for a thousand pounds. They only recieved half of it before I left. There was only one artist there that I shall not name who got wasted more than he worked. I beleive his motto was “work hard, party harder.” It did not end well and I did not learn anything.
What brought you to 72 Street Tattoo?
Pure chance. I was out of a job at the time after being let go from my previous employer. A month went by and I had no money again. I began scouting the internet and Facebook messaging studios around the country and one got back to me straight away. They invited me for an informal interview and took me in. I wanted to move away from home anyway so this was the icing on the cake for me.
You work in a variety of styles ranging from realism to traditional. Which do you prefer to work in?
Traditional is so much fun and easier than realistic work. I find you can play around and have so much more fun with it rather than sticking to strict colour schemes and replicating an image, but I find realism much more rewarding after the challenge. The more I work on realistic work, the more it in turn helps with the quality of my traditional pieces.
How do you describe your style?
What inspires you as an artist?
Many things: photographs, long walks, television, magazines, everything that surrounds me on a day-today basis.
What sets you apart from other artists?
I am not sure. I think all artists rub ideas off of each other and all have individual approaches to their work.
What other media do you work in?
I began drawing in graphite pencil and painting in acrylics before I started tattooing, which really helped me get started. I have experimented in oils and touch markers more recently. I am working on a book at the moment on drawing techniques, so I have a lot of pieces to be getting on with alongside my tattooing.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
Nick Baxter, Jeff Gogue and many more. The list is endless. Most of my inspiration comes from paintings from the likes of Jeremy Geddes and old Renaissance works.
What has been one of your favorite pieces to tattoo?
I did enjoy working on a follow colleague. I did a representaion of his dog in a traditional style, but working from a photograph. It was so much fun.