Artists: Rick Chirdon
What year did you start tattooing: 2011
Do you have any special training: CPR, First Aid, Bloodborne Pathogens, I am also a Certified Artist by "True Artists"
Tell us about the style of your work: I love to do photo realism and black n grey. The creepier the better. I LOVE horror themed tattoos, however I feel to be a well rounded artist you have to be able to tattoo anything that comes in the door.
Conventions usually worked: I plan on working the Niagara Falls Tattoo Expo this year and hopefully the Meeting of the Marked for sure. I would like to do the Steel City Tattoo Convention as well if my schedule allows me to do so this year.
Where did you apprentice?: I am mostly self taught. Once I started tattooing I've never looked back. I guess you can say that I went about it the unconventional way, but I wanted to make sure that I was going to be able to get the hang of it before I inquired about an apprenticeship. Once I started tattooing myself and my friends I never looked back. I walked into a few shops to talk to them about setting up in a chair. I had a few places to choose from, however one stood out the most to me. The owner, Blayne Williams made be bust my ass and work to get into his shop and made me prove myself. I immediately felt at home when I walked into the shop with all the weapons hanging on the walls. Being that he made me earn the spot in his shop by tattooing someone in front of him to prove I can actually tattoo and know what I'm talking about made me appreciate being there that much more. I research everything thoroughly before I just jump into it so I took the CPR courses and Bloodborne Pathogens training before I even picked up a machine. I wanted to make sure I was educated on cross contamination and cleanliness before I did anything. I didn't want to contaminate anyone that I tattooed, especially because I tattooed myself with the same equipment I used on everyone else. Disposables are definitely the way to go.
What tattoo artist do you most admire: There are so many to choose from but I have looked up to Bob Tyrrell since I started researching tattooing. I absolutely LOVE his work and respect the hell out of him! I hope to be at his level one day and will always respect him and his work.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?: Advice is always different depending on the person getting the tattoo. I always make sure to take extra time to educate my clients on the step by step process especially when it's their first tattoo. Depending on what they want tattooed I always try to explain to everyone the best placement and size they need to do with the design to give them the best tattoo they can enjoy for years to come. There's always the ever so popular name tattoos that you try to talk them out of doing but if they are dead set on getting them done I'll do them. I just remind them once they are done that if it doesn't work out I also do cover ups!
How did you get into tattooing: I have always been into art. When I was in high school my teachers used to always tell me that I would never make it in life because all I ever did was draw instead of doing my class work. I would never bring my books to class I would just always have my sketch book and pencils/markers. I would love to run into them now just to rub it in their faces that I now draw on people for a living and art is what pays my bills these days. I used to own a company that I did custom airbrushing paint jobs on motorcycles and cars. One of my best friends, Brandon Nicholas was tattooing at the time and I have a lot of his work on me. The more I was around it I loved it more and more. I bought him a tattoo machine for a gift. He ended up dying in a motorcycle wreck shortly after. I was having a rough day and was thinking about how he would always talk about how when he had a rough day he would tattoo himself. He treated that like a therapy session. I figured at this point, what the hell I'm going to try out his theory. I'll spare all of the crazy details of that day but once i had the machine in my hand and started working on myself it just felt right and I've never looked back. I immediately lost interest in everything else I was doing and focused 150% on tattooing and pushing myself to get better.
What inspires you to be an artist: I look at amazing artists all around me and see everything they are doing out there and I think to myself, I know I can do that. I am a very driven person. I'm also my worst critic. I look at my tattoos I've done and they are never good enough to me. I strive to always make the next tattoo I do cleaner, smoother, more detailed then anything I have ever done in the past. I see everything around me as an inspiration. If you think with an open mind it's amazing what you will notice in life and see from a different angle.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing: I absolutely love doing realism. It's a very tough thing to pull off for sure, but I just strive to make each piece I do more detailed then the last. I'm looking forward to doing more large pieces so I can put in some crazy detail! The creepier the better...I love doing any demons, skulls, zombies....anything disgusting is right up my alley!
Is there a tattoo that you haven't done yet that you are dying to do: I want to definitely get more and more into portraits. I have done quite a few photo realistic photos of people and they have turned out pretty damn awesome (if i do say so myself) however I don't feel comfortable enough doing them on someone that wants a portrait of their dead kid or grandma yet. One of these days soon maybe. I need to get a few more under my belt to make sure I nail every little detail before I want to chance a portrait of someone that really means alot to someone. It's one thing to do a realistic pinup girl because as long as she turns out looking sexy everyone's happy. It's a whole new ballgame doing an exact replica of someone's family member. I have only been tattooing for coming up on 3 years so I'm not to the point that I want to be just yet, however I feel like I will never be to the point that I stop learning. I feel that when it comes to art and tattooing you can never stop learning. If you stop learning new things you will never continue to grow as an artist and with as many tattooers that are out there these days if you stop growing as an artist you will get passed by someone new that continues to strive to improve them self.