Artists: Tim Hendricks
Wooster Street Social Club
43 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10013
What year did you start tattooing?
I just spoke on the phone with my mom about this, we were trying to figure it out using when I left home as a timeline. We also used when I got drunk at 15 and got tattooed at a party in the neighborhood in our timeline. I think we came to the conclusion I started in about 1993.
How did you get into tattooing?
Where I grew up lots of neighborhood kids were getting tattoos. I saw this going on at ‘tattoo parties’ and thought it was so intriguing. I tried making homemade rigs but they never worked as well as I wanted them to. I met a group of kids down in the beach area of Orange County and one of the girls in that group told me her dad sold real tattoo machines. Now normally this was taboo to sell a machine to a kid who had no proper training, but it’s nearly impossible to refuse a daughters request. So I drove down to the address of 22 Chestnut in Long Beach and found this shop in the middle of nowhere. There behind the counter was an old man with a big ZZ top style beard and a hat that read “yes, it hurts”. He sold me the machine and read me the riot act on how lucky I was that his daughter vouched for me. Little did I know at the time how lucky I really was. That shop was the world famous Bert Grimm’s at The Pike of Long Beach and the old man was Rick Walters. Rick and I are still good friends to this day and laugh about that story. I feel like tattooing found me rather than me finding it, it was meant to be.
Where did you apprentice?
I never apprenticed. After buying that machine at a young age I proceeded to tattoo everyone in the neighborhood I could get my hands on. With the help of older tattooers who took me under their wing I learned all the basics in a few years and was off and runnin’. The only proper apprenticeship I feel I ever had was with Dan Dringenberg in learning about tattoo machines. I worked for knowledge and loved every minute of it.
Do you have any special training?
Yeah, hustling and street fighting. That definitely helped me in the tattoo world I once knew, but those days are long gone.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards?
I’ve worked at more conventions then I could possibly remember, or was too loaded to remember. As far as the awards go, well, shit I guess I’ve won ‘awards’. The only real award I feel I’ve won is to be lucky enough to tattoo for the last 20 years and to be able to sit at the table with good tattooers and good people and be able to offer something, even if it’s small. I’m blessed and I don’t deserve it, but I’ll take.
How do you describe your style?
I never really gave much thought to my style. I guess style is just a make-up of who you are and where you came from. I’ve heard people describe my style as ‘west coast’, portrait with a lot of black, and even some kind of hybrid mix. I’m just honored people would even give my style a definition, that is a compliment in itself.
What inspires you as an artist?
I get inspired these days by young up-and-comers, tattooers that are raising the bar and by my own discouragement due to these people. For example, I’ve been in NYC for the last 3 months and in this time I’ve been cruising around to all the shops here visiting. I keep seeing such incredible work that it makes me feel lazy, I realize I need to put the fire under my ass again and start contributing to the table. They all make me feel lazy and obsolete, but I like it because it inspires me to be better and create more.
What other mediums do you work in?
I like to use acrylic, watercolor, pencil, pastel, HELL anything I can get my hands on to make art is fine with me. If I don’t create I am half a man.
What tattoo artist’s do you admire most?
I admire anyone who is bringing something to the table of tattooing and living selflessly. Anyone who is positive to be around and who inspires others to be a better artist. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time with Luke Wessman, he is all of those things and I’ve been soaking it up.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
As long as I have a balance of tattoos in my life I’m cool doing anything. Hell, I’m stoked to do a lame armband if haven’t done one in a while! Lately though, I’ve really been into traditional style work, it makes me happy.
Have you tattooed any celebrities?
Is Kat Von D a celebrity?…
Is there anyone that you would like to tattoo?
Chuck Norris, but I’m afraid that the tattoo would not hurt him, rather HE would hurt the tattoo.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
Put a mint in your mouth and hold still
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
Not that I can think of, I feel like I’ve had my fill of everything good AND bad.