Gastown Tattoo Parlour’s rising star talks tattooing
How did you get into tattooing?
I used to work white-collar corporate jobs, busting my balls getting little buzz out of life. My apprenticeship, at a studio in London, was undertaken voluntarily and without pay. I worked for nearly two years unpaid before being regarded as qualified. I quit a top design job with a global blue chip to take my first chair. It was scary at first, but I’ve never looked back.
What are the best and worst things about being a tattoo artist today?
I love the challenges tattooing presents and the satisfaction it offers. You get out what you put in. I wanted to learn and wanted to work hard. Primarily it was the art that drew me to the job, but also the learning. I love the fact that every day is totally different, meeting new people and encountering new projects. I have also found that fellow artists are just people. Reality TV programmes paint us as 24-hour party people, but most artists I know couldn’t keep up their tremendous work efforts if that were true.
What should be taken into consideration before getting a tattoo?
When I design a tattoo I try to consider how it will look in 20 years or more. I want my tattoos to last and look good forever. I design tattoos that are simple and elegant, but retain a bespoke look. An artist colleague told me that when one designs a tattoo it’s a mathematical equation that needs to be solved: how can I equate the elements a customer wants in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and stands the test of time?