Artists: Tim Harris
Hope Gallery Tattoo
835 Woodward Ave
New Haven, CT 06512
What year did you start tattooing?
I started in 1998.
How did you first get into tattooing?
Well, I didn’t exactly go looking for it—tattooing kind of fell into my lap. Basically, I was presented with the offer by a local tattoo artist from my town.
Did you have any special training?
No—I already had been very involved in my own personal artwork, and i had a little bit of schooling as well.
Did you go to art school, or were you self-taught?
What conventions have you worked? Have you won any awards?
I’ve done Hell City, in Ohio, as well as Phoenix. I’ve done the tried and true convention in Florida; I’ve done the Seattle Convention many, many years ago, as well as the Voodoo Tattoo Expo in New Orleans. I haven’t done as many as some of the guys in the studio, but I’ve done my fair share of conventions—enough to know that I’ve had a good time. I’ve earned plenty of awards, from flash to tattoo of the day, as well as tattoo of the show.
What is your best convention memory?
My best convention ever was the tried and true. I think that was a couple years ago. I earned tattoo of the day as well as best tattoo of the show.
How would you describe your style?
My style is photorealistic, with attention to detail, as well as the classic pinup with a concentration in flesh tones.
What are your favorite images to tattoo?
Realistic images with great amounts of detail, and primarily, the classic pinup.
What inspires you as an artist?
My inspiration lies in my environment, in my surroundings. Wherever I go, I try to be inspired. Whether it be the bookstore, a movie, or an art exhibit, anything [can] influence me to want to tattoo better, or paint better, become a better artist, and gather in more styles.
What sets you apart from other artists?
My attention to detail in the pinup profile; I put as much emphasis into the face as the rest of the tattoo. The face of the pinup is ultra important. It’s where you make it or break it. If you don’t nail the face, everything else really doesn’t matter as much.
What tattoo artists do you admire the most?
It’s not one. i would say it’s many. I respect any artist who respects my work, but as far as my inspiration? My inspiration lies within the guys at work. Joe [Capobianco] was a primary influence in my pinup art. As far as black-and-gray, I respect and admire [Bob] Tyrrell, and the guys who are doing photorealism, such as Nikko [Hurtado]. They all factor in as a very big influence.
What kinds of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
I look forward to doing anything that’s going to challenge my abilities. I look forward to not doing the same thing every day. I look forward to anything that’s going to help me implement a new technique, or diversify my style.
How have you branched out from tattooing? From the time you started to now, has your style changed? Have you changed as an artist?
Yeah, incredibly. I went from a street shop, tattooing the standardized iconic images—such as the American flag, eagles, tribal, and Old English lettering—to realistic images. A lot of stuff that people allow me to do is of artistic license. They put a lot of faith and trust into what I’m going to do for them, what I’m going to work with them to achieve and produce to give them the best overall tattoo.
Before someone gets a tattoo, what kind of advice do you usually give out?
If they’re unsure about the idea, or what tattoo they want to get, or they’re not 100 percent about it, they need to take a little bit more time to think about it. Because I can give them a wonderful tattoo, and if their idea wasn’t 100 percent, I want to make sure that they’re thrilled—enthralled—with the tattoo, and ecstatic when they leave. I want to make sure that before they even start the tattoo, they’re 100 percent sure about what they want to do, and i’m more than happy to work with them.