Artists: Tim McEvoy
What was your first shop experience like?
I will always be grateful to my first shop, Crossroads Tattoos, for giving me my shot. It was a very tough apprenticeship, but it was so helpful to my career. Sixty hours a week with no pay was hard. Being looked down upon all the time was hard. But I got a lot of experience quickly. By the time I was done I had made thousands of needles, learned how to be helpful up front, cleaned everything just right, and acquired dozens of other skills that would serve me to this day. We were immature and drank and fucked around a lot, but I was excited to be tattooing. Aric Taylor was my main source of learning and he had moved on to Art Junkies. I stayed there for six years and tried to pay my dues to the owner who had given me my chance. And then Art Junkies came calling.
How did your seven years at Art Junkies help you grow as an artist?
It’s difficult to put into words what that shop did for me. As an artist and really just a human being. Knowledge was free-flowing in that shop from the first time I walked through the door. Not only did they not withhold any information or secrets, they wanted it shared. Mike and Mario were innovators. It immediately felt like home. There were new ideas, techniques, a fresh outlook and a fire under my ass all at the same time. In the span of just one year I was completely transformed, focused, well-trained and serious about art like never before. The talent that came through that shop was a dream. All like-minded individuals, all different styles, no judgment, just learning. My daughter aside, Mike DeMasi is the single most positive influence of my entire life.
What was it like transitioning to Guru Tattoo & Art Collective?
My transition to Guru Tattoo and a new city was so hard to get through at first. I was so stressed out. I’d take a second and realize I was chatting up art stuff or watching a guy like Nate tattoo—someone that I looked up to from a distance for more than a decade—and just really take in all these moments that seemed surreal and it felt great. My response from new customers was unreal, beyond all expectations and hopes. I began to feel a connection quickly. It didn’t take long to recognize that Aaron had grand ambitions and ideas for tattooing and life, so much like my former mentor. I know these guys are going to keep me on my toes, I simply can’t express how much I expect to learn and grow from this new arrangement, and how excited I am to see it unfold. Guru is amazing.
You’re an extremely versatile artist, do you feel you’ve gotten where you wanted in your tattoo work? Or is there more you’d like to learn and apply in your work?
No, I’m nowhere near where I hope to be at some point with my tattooing. I’ve definitely found a direction I’d like to head towards, but I’m more and more aware that the balance of self-critique of the great artists I’ve always looked up to lies hopelessly somewhere in the midst of never being satisfied. It kind of sucks. You want the doubt to go away but you NEVER want it to go away. Part of my decision to move on to Guru was to be around these masters of illustration, specifically, and try and inject more of that into my own style.
What is your favorite style to work in and why?
What continues to strike me as the most powerful tattooing forum is Oriental work. It’s complicated and difficult. Even injecting a Japanese style background into another style tattoo seems to instantly give it more depth, more emotion. I have to say that not much brings me more enjoyment in this world than sitting down to a nice half real/half not black and grey tat – too. I don’t know why, but it brings me peace, makes me happy.
What inspires you as an artist?
What doesn’t? The older I get the more I seem to appreciate. Really good painters inspire me, get me thinking. It’s inspiring to me to see someone new come up as an artist, it’s not easy. It was so great seeing Brent grow as an apprentice to up in the clouds somewhere where he is now. I follow Matt Hurtado’s stuff real closely, that stuff, these young guys putting new ideas out there—that’s the best. I love it.