Growing up in a family of artists, Secret Harbour resident Khail Aitken was destined to have a creative and colourful future.
At only 21, the Rockinghambased Sinister Ink artist is making waves in the tattoo industry, with his attention to detail earning him his first award at the Perth Australian Tattoo and Body Art Expo.
On September 16, the first day of the expo, Khail spent eight-and-ahalf hours in a booth creating a large, colourful Iron Man-inspired arm piece for a client.
As he worked, Khail said his tattoo was spotted and he was approached by representatives from Australian tattoo machine company Inkjecta.
“They asked a few questions and said they had been following my work for a while now,” he said.
“It was unreal at first because I had been using their gear for ages and then they asked if I wanted to be part of the team and I couldn’t believe it.”
After securing surprise sponsorship from Inkjecta, Khail went on to enter his piece in the expo daily competition and took home the award for tattoo of the day.
“There were hundreds of good artists there, so I really did not expect to win,” he said.
“I didn’t have any words at the time, it was crazy.
“To win the first competition I ever entered and come home with sponsorship and major exposure was amazing.” Tattooing now for three years, Khail says he originally planned to head to university after school, but decided to apply for a job at Sinister Ink after being encouraged by a friend.
“I spent years drawing on my skateboards and taking art at school, but I never thought I would end up here,” he said. “I’m loving it and we will see where it takes me.” Khail said people spotted his work on Facebook and Instagram and came to him with references and ideas.
“Most people are willing to let me see what I can do with their design and I take it and do what I think is best for them and their body,” he said.
“I find it more interesting and challenging to do shading and detailed pieces and I prefer to work in big sittings where I can concentrate and keep focused on the one piece.
“It depends on the client, of course, but I like to put everything into what I’m doing rather than get distracted by what’s next.
“Most of the work I do is black and grey, but that is just what people ask me for — I love doing colour and will jump on any opportunity.”
Next month Khail will travel east for the Melbourne leg of the expo and he hopes to meet new artists and have fun.
“Attending these events earns recognition,” he said. “Inkjecta now supply me with everything I need and hopefully I can just keep showing people how the industry is constantly improving and get my work out there.”
Hard work is paying off for local tattoo artist Khail Aitken after his work earned him sponsorship with Australian tattoo machine company Inkjecta. INSET: The Iron Man piece that earned an award at the Perth Australian Tattoo and Body Art Expo.