Artists: Rob Diamond
How did you get into tattooing?
It was a moment of clarity for me; my parents took me to get my first tattoo for my fifteenth birthday. After I had picked out the design I wanted (that’s right, it was flash) I sat down in the chair and it was like a lightning strike to the brain for me. Right then and there I knew what I was supposed to do with my life.
What do you think the major benefits are as a tattoo artist of being versatile in so many styles?
There are a lot of benefits to being versed in different styles. One main benefit is being able to blend two different styles to give your work a very unique type of contrast; another is having the ability to call upon many different techniques that will find their way into your own particular brand and style of tattooing. I personally strive to become a master of this craft and with it I believe an understanding of many styles will only help better my abilities and fulfill my clients’ requests.
Do you prefer to freehand or use stencils for tattooing?
Typically I try to use a stencil whenever I can, but I’m just as comfortable with a freehand approach. Neither is better than the other because they both have their advantages and disadvantages. They are just different tools. The end result is what matters most so it’s really about what works best for you on that particular part of the body.
What inspires you as an artist?
I know it sounds cliché, but I find inspiration just about everywhere I am. Whether it’s how my dog’s teeth grab his toy or how the sun looks coming through trees as it’s just about to set, inspiration is everywhere!
What sets you apart from other artists?
I don’t consider myself set apart from others. There are so many great artists out there right now doing amazing work, pushing the boundaries of what we think is possible. So, to be honest, I hope to one day be counted among them, not set apart.
You’re a painter as well as tattoo artist. Do you approach the two media in the same way?
Painting has definitely opened my mind and changed my approach to tattooing. With oil painting there are varying degrees of transparent and opaque layers, which I’ve been trying to portray in my recent work. For instance, rather than doing the colors start to finish in a certain area I’ll work more like an oil painter would, working in layers that become more detailed and deliberate with each pass.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
Recently I’ve taken on a project for a new television show designing artwork for their title and logo. I’m very excited for this to come out!
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
Where do I begin? It seems like every time I scroll through Instagram there is another artist who blows my mind that I’ve never heard of, but one of my personal favorites that constantly inspires me would be Jeff Gogue. He brings a very deliberate approach to his clients, which makes his work look very tailored, fitted and natural to me. Another artist I admire is Johan Finné. He’s another artist who has a deep understanding of how to approach “full scale” tattooing.
As an artist who has done tattoo collaborations before, how do you see that method of tattooing furthering your art?
Collaborations for me are an awesome practice. I feel that doing collaborative work will allow me to get inside the mind of whomever the other artist is and look at things in ways or approach things in a way I might not have considered, ultimately walking away with new and different ideas to incorporate into my own process.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I’m really looking forward to beginning a full body suit one day. Ever since I first was introduced to tattoos that sort of approach has always fascinated and captured my imagination.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Before someone gets a tattoo my advice to them would be to consider what tattoo work you want in the future. This way you can plan ahead and avoid possible collisions of separate designs, which could leave them discouraged or disappointed.