Artists: Shey Haf-ded
What year did you start tattooing?
I started my apprenticeship in New York City in 2006.
How did you get into tattooing?
A friend of mine asked me to draw a tattoo for him. When he went to have it done, I went with him. The artist at the shop explained to me how to draw things in a more tattoo-friendly manner.
What was your first shop experience like?
My first experience was a few years before I started my apprenticeship. I was so fascinated; I knew right then and there that it was something I wanted to do.
What first brought you to work at Bang Bang NYC?
I actually met Bang as a client, and years later he invited me to work at his shop.
Do you have any special training?
I don’t have any special or formal training; I just really enjoy drawing, painting, and art in general.
What conventions have you done recently or are planning to do this year?
I have only worked a few conventions: Roseland Ballroom, Ink Life Tour, and Cape Fear. No plans for this year as of yet.
How do you describe your style?
I think I gravitate more towards realism.
A lot of your tattoos deal with sci-fi or comics—are you a science fiction fan, or is that just your clients’ preference?
I am most definitely a sci-fi/horror nerd; I’m fortunate to have clients with the same tattoo preference.
What other media do you work in?
I started off with pencils, and in the past few years I’ve become a big fan of oil painting. It takes up a lot of my free time when I’m not tattooing.
How is the tattoo scene in New York different than other places you’ve worked in?
New York has a lot of diversity when it comes to the subject matter of tattoos that clients request.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
One of the people I admire most is Robert Hernandez, both as a tattoo artist and as an artist in general. He’s the Salvador Dalí of our generation.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I guess more of the realistic comic book style.
What was one of your favorite pieces to tattoo?
My favorite, I would say, is on one of my good friends, Josh Boogie. It’s a Master Yoda portrait I did at Ink Life Tour Convention in Myrtle Beach, SC.
What was one of the strangest pieces you’ve ever tattooed?
An Andy Warhol piece. His artwork is amazing.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Find a good artist. Let them just do what they do best.
What artists have tattooed you?
Bang has done a fairly big H.R. Giger tattoo on my leg—needless to say, my favorite tattoo yet.
How has the reputation of tattooing changed since you’ve been involved in the industry?
Tattoos are finding their way into everyday life.