Artists: Shelby Johnson
What year did you start tattooing: 2014
Do you have any special training: Three years ago I started working at Vicious Ink as the counter girl. After several years of bugging and pleading to be apprenticed, Chris Nagy took me on as an apprentice. Becaus I've studied the art of tattooing since the age of 4, I picked up everything very quickly and was a full time artist starting in July of 2015.
Tell us about the style of your work: I range in most styles, from traditional to color bomb, to fine detail neo-traditional.
Conventions usually worked: Soon to be Columbus and Chicago, but I always attend the Detroit convention.
Where did you apprentice?: Vicious Ink Tattoos and Piercings under Chris Nagy.
What tattoo artist do you most admire: The tattoo artist I admire the most is Dusty Neal from Black Anvil in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Also Derek Noble, classic Norman Collins, Percy Waters, and realism artist Paul Acker. I could list thousands that I look up to daily though.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?: I advise a good hearty meal, and to be well hydrated, also to have a good idea of what they want, and to just have fun.
How did you get into tattooing: When I was young I watched my parents get tattooed, and always looked up to anyone covered in tattoos and piercings. When I was 17 I started coming into Vicious Ink asking about apprenticeships, and how to get started. I was turned away but was persistent. I would come home from school, do my homework, and ride my skateboard up to Vicious and hang out for hours studying what the artists were doing. I was told to get some more schooling so I got my associates in art, and would constantly ask for drawing assignments from the artists here. After getting a full time job, and being able to pay of tattoos I was in almost every week on Fridays at 3pm. After a while I became well known and was doing odd jobs, like handing out flyers and cards, pulling ends and simple stencil transfers. After a few years they offered me the job as a counter girl, then apprentice, now full time tattooer. I love it everyday and hope to learn everything I possibly can about the industry.
What inspires you to be an artist: Literally everything can be an inspiration, but mostly the other tattooers, my mentor and coworkers, and mostly my boss Tom.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing: I would really love to try my hand at more photo realism, and more abstract tattoos.
Is there a tattoo that you haven't done yet that you are dying to do: I would Definitely love to try some Trash polka, and more abstract stuff.