Stan Horaczek (writer),
John Dole (photographer)
INKED: How much did having a professional artist for a father influence you as a kid?
TIM HENDRICKS: His influence is pretty much everything. Half of it was just getting the raw talent handed down to me. Every one of my siblings got it. I'm just the only one that wanted to do it for the rest of my life. Ever since I was old enough to be able to comprehend the question about what I wanted to do with my life, the answer has always been artist. There was never anything else. When I was a kid, if I was bored and I had done my chores, my dad would make me sit and draw.
How did you make the leap from "I want to be an artist" to "I want to be a tattoo artist"?
The area that I grew up in wasn't a total ghetto, but it wasn't a nice neighborhood at all. There were gangs and local punk rock dudes. The whole element bred tattooing. I would go to tattoo parties, and my friends and I would trip out on older cholo dudes who had just gotten out of jail using their new skills to make a few bucks. Tattooing found me. It just made sense. I was an artist and people in my 'hood were getting tattoos—it just fit. There was a point when I was working a regular job and I just walked out one day. I realized that I was happier tattooing two to three days a week, and making enough money to barely get by, than working six days a week at this stupid restaurant.
What was your first tattoo?
I got some feathers with my last name on my arm. I was completely incoherent at the time at a tattoo party in my neighborhood. It was done by some off-his-rocker cholo who had just gotten out of prison. I knocked over all his ink and shit, so I think I had to pay a little more for the tattoo. I think it cost $25.
Did the first tattoo you gave go any better?
The first tattoo I gave was to my best friend at the time. His name was Ray. I tattooed him in his garage when we were living together. It was my first real tattoo with a machine. I was 17 and it was a band around his arm or something like that. It was single-needle and it took forever. We sat there for about five hours drinking beers and listening to rock and roll music. It was beautiful.
How did you go from tattooing in a garage to doing it on national television as a cast member on Miami Ink?
I worked with Chris Garver at True Tattoo in Hollywood. He went out and said he was doing a little pilot. He came back, showed it to me, and I said, "This is going to be huge." Sure enough, it was. When Kat left the show out there, they needed somebody to fill her shoes. They asked me and I accepted the honor.
You also worked with Kat Von D at True Tattoo.
I don't think she'll admit it now, because she was pretty bitter that I decided to go out to Miami. There was some invisible line in the sand that I didn't see. But she sat over my shoulder for a year or two years just watching me do portraits and a lot of that black and gray style. Hopefully I helped her out. She used to say I did. Now she doesn't [laughs]. We're okay, though. We've come to an agreement that we're cool. It's a shame things have to go that way. I wish they hadn't.
Is there a lot of extra pressure giving a tattoo in front of millions of people?
No, I didn't feel it. I can see how there would be. The first week I would have nightmares that there were cameras over my bed with a producer telling me to wake up very naturally. I would wake up and jump out of my bed with my heart racing. That faded after about five days. But I can see how having 80 percent of your life filmed, especially when you're laying something permanent on somebody's skin, can be nerve-racking. It wasn't that bad for me. I'll probably get shit for saying this, but I just really don't care. Just lay the ink in the skin. I think that helped me lay better tattoos because it takes the stress away. The other guys are really comfortable with it by now too, which helped me ease into my chair.