Artists: Sean Foy
How did you get into tattooing?
I had seen that tattoos had gotten so much more advanced than the tattoos I saw on my dad’s war buddies and bikers while I was growing up. So I bought a cheap tattoo machine from a supply company and did some terrible tattoos for about a year or two and things started to click and make sense and here we are seven years later. Yes, I was a scratcher and no, I don’t recommend it. If I would’ve apprenticed under someone I admired, I wouldn’t have had to put out bad work in the beginning or have had to unlearn bad habits.
When did you open your shop?
Why did you decide to open your own shop?
I wanted to create an environment where my friends and I could work and not be hassled by other shop owners wanting to just generate money. I’ve always wanted to create good work and support my family, while traveling and meeting the artists that I look up to. My family and traveling are the two driving forces behind all that I do. I wanted to create a space where those I met on my travels could come visit my home state so that we could work together and further learn from one another. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when someone isn’t breathing down your neck holding a stopwatch and pushing you to move faster.
Your wife is a cosmetic tattoo artist, did you teach her anything about tattooing or did she pick it up on her own/prior to your meeting?
Nikki has been my assistant for almost three years now and has learned a great deal about the business side of tattooing through working for me. I’ve definitely taught her some things about the business end but she’s also learned a lot just through trial and error, she’s a smart cookie. When it comes to her cosmetics, she went to school for it. It’s very different from traditional tattooing but it’s nice when she asks me questions or we talk about things such as needle groupings for desired effects. It’s a different approach but at the end of the day, we both learn a lot from one another. I’m just lucky to have a wife that supports my dreams and who wants to work in the same industry.
Do you ever give each other tips?
Absolutely! She has always helped me when it comes to color theory, design, placement, and scale. I may do the tattoos but whenever we talk about the day it’s always “what are we doing today?” She says I help her a lot with her marketing and the business side since I’ve been in the industry longer and have seen and dealt with a lot, both good and bad. We both get frustrated with different things when it comes to this industry but we always seem to know how to help the other out.
What tattoo style do you admire most and why?
First and foremost, the painterly surrealism of Domantas Parvainis’s work. Something about the scale of each image and how he chooses to place it on the body, combined with his execution results in what I believe to be truly impactful works of art. Hands down, he does the best fucking tattoos I’ve ever seen. Graphic and illustrative works such as Tomasz TOFI Torfinski from Poland. The way he’s able to convey depth through a limited color palette, simple shapes, and strong lighting is very inspiring. Neo-traditional work by such artists as Nick Pisani. I admire the fact that these artists are still drawing things by hand and not strictly through digital programs. I also like the power and longevity of their designs. I also admire the attention to detail and the imaginative designs of Dmitry Vision. He has always inspired me and he continues to push me to be a better artist everyday.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing? I really love nature based and surrealistic designs, as well as larger scale work such as sleeves. I don’t do back pieces, however, I’d really like to begin taking on full front panels.
Any funny tattoo session or convention stories?
How about that time I got tattooed by Edgar Marquez and cried like a baby in front of everyone at the Devil Hollow Tattoo Convention? Yallzee also happened to catch a video of me rapping and making a fool of myself. Needless to say, we can’t wait to go back next year!