How did the new show change your outlook? I got on the road and started seeing artists all over the world tattooing because of their love of tattoos and not because of some stupid fucking story. We couldn’t go to the shop without hearing about somebody dying. When I finished my contract they were like, Do you want to sign up for some more? I said, “Fuck you, I’m not signing up for shit. I don’t ever want to step in that tattoo shop ever again.” I put my tattoo machines away and I was done. Then, all of a sudden, my dream came true where I could travel and meet amazing artists. I didn’t have any more horror stories being related to my fucking art.
Did that help revitalize your own work?
All of a sudden, I started doing the best tattoos I’ve ever done. The best part is not charging for tattoos on the road. All of a sudden, I was getting paid a decent amount of money to do a show. I didn’t give a fuck about making money off of my tattoos, so I’m doing $6,000 tattoos for fucking free. You do it from your heart. That’s the best thing that happened to me.
Will the Miami shop still stick around?
The shop is still happening and we can finally take the Miami Ink stickers down and just leave the Worldwide Tribe stickers on the window. We want nothing to do with the old name. It’s like a bad marriage. You just want to get divorced. We just want to be able to own our name.
How about your other projects, like DeVille Clothing?
The last two years, DeVille went in a direction that we really weren’t happy with. The fact is that we didn’t have time to take full control of it so we had to hire designers and everything. Everybody wanted these crazy shirts with fucking filigree and bullshit all over them. We went with it, thinking it was what the business needed. But now we’re giving it a push in another direction. We still have the Love Hate bars and I have Love Hate Choppers, which is my pride and joy. We do all of that on top of traveling and shooting 80 percent of the time.
Have you thought about opening more tattoo shops?
It’s funny—there hasn’t been one month where I haven’t gotten a call with someone asking me to open a new shop or wanting to buy my name. If I was really fucking greedy about money, I would’ve done it. But it’s all about opening shops and knowing the work coming out of them is good. That’s much more important to me right now. I could have opened 100 of them by now and been a fucking millionaire. It’s not about that. It’s about the love of the art and tattoos. That’s what we are and that’s what we’re doing. There are lots of guys who open lots of shops all over town and can’t pull it off. They’re greedy. Greed is for motherfuckers.
Love Hate Tattoos : http://www.lovehatetattoos.com/