Stan Horaczek (writer),
Evan Klanfer (photographer)
Would you be as proud of your daughters if they got into tattooing?
Nuns don't need to get tattooed, right? They're going to join the nunnery, I hope. [Laughs.] My oldest daughter is 15 and she's a great artist. She says she wants to tattoo, and I know she'd be great at it. The deal is that I'd teach her if she uses it to work her way through college. She might try to renegotiate, but that's how the deal stands now.
Do you get people other than your daughters asking you to teach them your craft?
I think the word is out that I don't really do that too much. There's only a few guys that I have brought up like that. I do it in the old-school apprenticeship manner. You have to do it for a couple of years before you even get to touch a tattoo machine, and nobody wants to wait that long anymore. Everybody wants what they want immediately, you know?
Do you like getting tattoos as much as you like giving them?
I can definitely tell you that I don't. I have great experiences, and I like getting tattooed to be an event. I probably have less tattoos than a lot of guys who have been doing this as long as I have. A New York photographer friend of mine, Nan Goldin, has some pictures that she's publishing from a night when we stole a car to go down to Rhode Island to get tattooed. It's cool to have tattoos with such specific memories. I can dish it out a lot better than I can take it.
You have drawn a lot of tattoo designs for movies, too. How did that start?
I've been doing Tony Scott movies for years. Since True Romance, any time he has needed a tattoo design, I've been doing it for him. I did Domino and we have just been working on The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 that's coming out this summer. [He's] such a cool, passionate guy. He's so into every single aspect of his moviemaking. He can draw and make a little sketch of how he wants a tattoo. He's, like, the perfect customer. I've done it other times and it's not so easy. Other people don't have the across-the-board, myopic attention to detail that he has.
Do you still have to live up to your reputation as one of the few remaining old-school tough guys in the business?
We were at this convention out in Long Island about 10 years ago. One of the Moskowitz brothers was walking around saying, "There's no tough guy tattooers no more. Nobody gets in no fights. What's goin' on?" So, he came over to me and told me that he heard we were still doing it. I told him that we were on the Sunset Strip and sometimes people come in drunk. He wanted to know all about it. He started asking me, "What are you hitting 'em with? Is it a hammer? Do you stab 'em with a scissor?" It was great. We don't like to do nothing like that, but if it has to happen, it has to happen. It's that connection to the old school that will probably always be, you know? It's not a dentist's office. We want to keep it as clean as a dentist's office, but as fun as a bar room. This is the real world, and it's a street art form. The more street you take out of it, the more fucked up it is.