Name? Rick Meggison, AKA Flipshades
Shop? Full gypsy. I’ve been doing nothing but travel and tattoo for the last three years. #Tattourist!
Iron Quill Tattoo—Madison Wisconsin, Electric Panther—Little Rock, Arkansa, Philadelphia Eddies (the OG location: 621!), Studio XIII Gallery—Edinburgh, Scottland
Years Tattooing? 18.
So, you started before the new wave of tattooing when it went mainstream . . .
I was the last generation of underground tattooers. I had to make needles on jigs and solder them, make stencils . . . all that OG stuff. It was way before we had the internet to help. I mean, we had the internet, but back then it was Ask Jeeves.
What do you think about the emerging trend of niche artists?
I think it’s bullshit. I think they’re not tattoo artists . . . If you can’t do more than that one thing, you’re not a real tattoo artist. You can’t just go work in a tattoo shop and tattoo a client that comes in. You have to rely on all your hipster friends to pay your bills. You should be able to walk into any shop and build a new clientele of happy customers with a completely different name. I can do that because I was taught the core values of tattooing, which is what it all breaks down to.
Composition, color theory . . . So many “artists” now haven’t learned that.
Where do you draw the line between niche artists and specialists?
A specialist is somebody who’s done a bunch of different things and can do a bunch of different things, but has found a specific style that they do best. They’re still a technician that can put ink in the skin and make it look good no matter the style. A niche artist is just a one-hit-wonder.
How can we steer the new generation of artists in a better direction?
I think people need to be more respectful of that sacred knowledge. I’m not one of those people who thinks that new artists need to learn about needle jigs and build coil machines . . . but they need to at least learn the core values. There are a lot of new tools and techniques that they can use. . . but they need to be able to work without the shortcuts. Brushes on your iPad are great, but unless you’re making your own, you’re just using someone else’s work. You should be able to create that drawing on paper without the extra help if you need to . . . It all comes back to studying art, from the Renaissance on.