Artists: Travis Brown
Aces High Tattoo Shop
5946 Okeechobee Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33417
FRESHLY INKED: What year did you start tattooing?
TRAVIS BROWN: I started tattooing in October of 2005. I remember it so vividly because Hurricane Wilma had just passed through south Florida, and left West Palm Beach without power for at least 10 days. This drove me nuts! All I wanted to do was get started but I had to patiently wait for the power to come back on in order for me to make my debut.
How did you get into tattooing?
When I was younger, I was always hanging out in the tattoo shops. I always brought in my own artwork to get tattooed on me, and the artist told me that he liked my work and suggested that I should consider becoming a tattoo artist. I took his suggestion to heart and started pursuing my new found goal. I happened to have a good friend that helped me get my foot in the door. I was so excited, but I have to admit, I had no idea how much work being a tattoo artist was going to involve, let alone how much I would fall in love with the industry.
Where did you apprentice?
My very first apprenticeship was at Aftermath Tattoo in Lake Worth, FL. I was so excited to start, but when I took this position, I was oblivious to what an apprenticeship should really be like. I was going nowhere fast at this shop when another artist at a different shop saw what I was going through and kindly took me under his wing. My new apprenticeship then started at Lucky 7 Tattoos in West Palm Beach, FL. This is where I really started growing into the artist that I am today.
Do you have any special training?
Absolutely! I have impeccable mopping skills AND I’m not too shabby on the phone either. But seriously, I have to say that my good friend Steve Martin from Black 13 tattoos in Nashville, TN, really helped me hone in on my skills and style. I was really lucky to meet such an amazing, well-known, and talented artist so early in my career. Thanks, man!
What conventions have you worked at?
I started working conventions in 2008, mostly on the East Coast at first. I think it is extremely important to network, therefore I travel as much as possible by attending at least 10 shows per year nationwide.
Have you won any awards?
I am very proud to say that I have won six trophies total. I have recently set a goal for myself to get better at entering my work in more contests, more often. It’s time to make a move and really start promoting myself.
What are some of your best convention memories?
Oh gosh … well, I got to work in a booth next to Josh Woods and Sean Her- man at my very first convention! That was definitely a good start to my convention career! Another memory that stands out in my mind is from the 2011 Atlanta Tattoo Convention, where the sprinklers went off in the hotel. What an experience! Such an experience that my friend Nick Minervine and I drew a tattoo that 30 people, including myself, ended up getting in memory of this eventful weekend.
How do you describe your style?
I like to describe my style as a unique mix of neo-traditional and new school with a hint of real- ism. I have always had an appreciation for and interest in traditional tattoos and artwork, yet I was mainly taught by artists who primarily tattooed with the new school style.
What inspires you as an artist?
I’ve always taken an interest in fellow artists’ work. Seeing so many amazing artists out there has always inspired me to constantly challenge myself as well as strive to learn something new as often as possible.
What sets you apart from other artists?
First of all, I use wireless machines made by Free Wire, which are still considered new to the industry. But most importantly, my astonishing good looks, obviously. Besides that, I don’t ever take anything for granted. I consider myself blessed to be where I am today, and that I get to do what I love every day. I also take a lot of pride not only in my work itself, but my work ethic. I am a very goal- oriented and driven person. I wake up every morning focusing on the bigger picture. I am very lucky to have that type of mind-set. I thank my parents profusely every day for instilling that within me.
What other mediums do work in?
Acrylic, spray paint, and most importantly, watercolor. I like doing watercolor paintings the most because I think it applies to tattooing really well.
How have you branched out from tattooing?
Ever since I started tattooing, I have gained such an appreciation for all forms of artwork. Tattooing has opened my mind and eyes to so many new and interesting things. I never knew what I was missing—just one of the many benefits of being a tattoo artist.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
Steve Martin from Black 13 in Nashville is for sure one of my favorite artists because of his versatility. Oh, and his dashing smile, of course! Another really talented artist that I admire just so happens to be someone I work with, Isaac Davis. It’s incredible how “out- side the box” he can think, especially when it comes to composition. Also, I can’t forget my buddy Pat Patterson from Lucky 7 Tattoos in West Palm Beach, FL. He has always impressed me with how quickly he learns and grows. We have learned a lot together, and we are always helping each other out when we can. It doesn’t get any better than that.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Only the cool ones, of course. But seriously, I always look forward to doing something that’s out of the ordinary and that pushes me as an artist. I love to be challenged because not only does the customer gain a nice tattoo, but I do as well. It’s a win-win situation when that happens. Oh, and I’ll always love doing skulls and roses!
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
I always try to give the customer what it is that they envision, but at the same time, I am always aware of what is “smart” for that particular person. It differs from person to person depending on skin type, placement, and other things of that nature. I will always give my honest, professional opinion because I feel as though everyone deserves to be informed.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
YES! There are several large watercolor paintings of mine that I would absolutely love to tattoo on somebody. I look forward to doing someone’s full torso and chest. I think the finished result will be a valuable addition to my portfolio.