MATT HOUS­TON

Gas­town Tat­too Par­lour’s ris­ing star talks tat­too­ing

ImagineFX - - Imaginenation - Matt be­gan tat­too­ing in 2008. Look­ing for his first tat­too, he took his de­sign into a shop and was of­fered an ap­pren­tice­ship. www.gas­town­tat­too.com

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?

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