One of the biggest ways a tattoo artist can build their brand is by tattooing an A-list celebrity. This helps to put you on the international map and if the experience goes well, you’ll have a revolving door of Hollywood heavyweights. Toronto’s Scoot Mason had his celebrity tattoo cherry popped by Johnny Depp and this led the tattooer to adorn the bodies of NBA legends, music icons and Emmy nominees. Now, he’s one of the most sought-after artists in The 6. Next stop: world domination.
When did you get your first tattoo and what’s the story behind it?
I got my first tattoo when I was 17. I was actually on vacation visiting my brother in Whistler, British Columbia. We were originally supposed to get matching tattoos, however, the artist said what we wanted wouldn’t fit on our backs, so I ended up getting my last name on my back.
When did you start tattooing? Do you remember the first tattoo you did on a client?
I first started tattooing when I was 25. The first tattoo that I actually did on a client was a cover-up, believe it or not. I tattooed his last name over a sketchy cross tattoo he had.
What drew you to black-and-grey and who inspired you? Because of my background in drawing, I’ve always shaded with black-and-grey. I’ve always appreciated the depth you can get with black-and-grey over color. Some of my inspirations early in my career were Daniel Rocha, Sergey Shanko, Q Tattoos and Bob Tyrrell.
Who was the first celebrity you remember being heavily tattooed? What was your impression of them at the time?
The first celebrity I noticed being heavily tattooed was 50 Cent and other rappers I would see in music videos. I liked that artists were finding other ways to express themselves outside of the music they make.
Take us through some of the celebrities you’ve tattooed and what those experiences were like.
I’ve worked with a lot of celebrities from many different industries including LeBron James, Kevin Hart, Travis Scott, Tory Lanez and many more. One of the more meaningful experiences was being able to tattoo Johnny Depp early in my career. It felt like anything but work, his energy was gravitational, and we ended up hanging out and playing guitars after he got inked.
What do you like to listen to while you tattoo? If you could only tattoo while listening to one artist, who would it be?
I really like to bump 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Trying” album on repeat, however, from a customer service standpoint, I usually leave the playlist up to my client and what’s suitable for them during the session.
If you could tattoo one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
As far as someone who’s alive, I’m definitely interested in tattooing Drake. We both represent The 6 and I look forward to the opportunity of potentially collaborating on a piece with him. With that being said, I lost my dad at a young age and he was my biggest inspiration when it comes to art. He was an artist his whole life and I would have loved the opportunity to not only show him the skills he helped me attain, but also have the chance to tattoo a piece on him.
In addition to tattooing, we can see that you’re passionate about your dogs. Tell us about them and do you have them tattooed on you?
I’ve always believed in dog-like loyalty over god-like royalty. We can learn a lot from how a dog lives life. I have three dogs and all of them are tattooed on me—Boston, Philly Cheese Steak and Stackz are with me for life.
When did you decide to open your own shop and what has that experience been like?
My main objective from day one was to always have my name on my own shop—Scoot Ink. It’s more about leaving a legacy for me than being my own boss. I learned a lot from the other shops I was luckily able to work at. I was in between shops when it slowly became a reality. I was tattooing out of a private condo and saving up while obtaining the necessary equipment to open up. I plan to open many more studios to be able to serve clients from all over the world.