When did you first pursue tattooing as a career and how did that lead you to becoming the owner of your own shop?
Tattooing was not my first thought fresh out of high school because it wasn’t as mainstream 12 years ago. I didn't know if it was something someone could make a good living doing and many of the tattoo shops I’d been in weren’t welcoming. The artists were scary looking and uninviting, they all fit that outdated mold of what tattoo shops used to be. But I care about the quality of the tattoos I give every person and want my clients to leave with an amazing experience. I want people to have a positive outlook on tattooers and shops based on the environment of my shop. The drive to have that environment for clients and the artists I work with is the reason I opened my own shop.
How would you describe your style of tattooing and how has it grown over time?
I would say my art is a mix of realism and surrealism. I like color palettes that aren’t the normal color spectrum for the images I’m creating. I create real-looking designs that look like unicorns came across and pooped magical colors all over them. The growth of my art has always been fueled by a constant drive to be as good as other artists in the industry. When I see something an artist is doing that blows me away, I don't assume that I could never do it but want to know how they did it. I push myself with every tattoo and learn something new with each new design. Your eyes have to be open to what you are doing. We could tattoo everyday like we are painting a fence and just go through the motions. Or we can tattoo and be in-tune to what is happening every minute of the tattoo, learning while we create.
You’re known as a master of galaxy tattooing. What is your technique for creating a gorgeous galaxy design?
When I first wanted to try galaxy tattoos, I assumed you threw a bunch of color down anywhere and anyway you wanted, then put white dots everywhere. But I was wrong because dark and mid-tones have to be strategically placed. Now I use a lot of concentrates and I’m much more strategic with my blacks. I use less super bright colors, mostly adding them for a highlight. My work only looks bright because of the amount of mid and dark-toned colors being right up against a highlight. The application is a combination of harsh lines, separation, texture, and smooth solid blends. But, any good tattoo comes down to the patience you have to put everything into it that it needs to look as good as it can look. If you don't have enough patience for the artwork, it will never be the artwork you wanted it to be.
Speaking of the galaxy, do you believe that there are aliens among us and why?
I don't want to believe that they are among us, because that would make me never want to leave the house. But there are aliens out there without a doubt, and we are goddamn aliens to any other planet. I think that if aliens could get here, they would have as much interest in contacting us as we would with them. I hope I'm around for the day we make contact with aliens from another planet, as long as they’re friendly and the whole probing thing was some weird thing that a bored, sexually-frustrated weirdo made up.
What’s up next for Tyler Malek and what can our readers expect to see from you in 2019?
I’d love to continue bringing my space work and all of my other work to a higher level by bringing in other creative aspects, colors, and vibrancy that pushes the envelope of what is possible. Readers can expect to see more amazing work pranks from me and the artists at my shop throughout 2019.