Shop: The Steel Paintbrush
Location: Hamilton, MT
Years Tattooing: 7
Style/Specialty: Stylistically my work is illustrative. I can’t say that I only do one style of tattooing specifically, but I prefer to tattoo illustrative pieces. I really enjoy designing and tattooing ornamental pieces, as well as black and grey realism. I definitely like to play on textures when tattooing, using different techniques to add texture to different elements within the design, from smooth transitions to stippling. I really enjoy mixing styles and techniques for expanding my overall artistic renditions.
What originally brought you into tattooing?
I studied Art at the University of Montana and have always had a strong natural talent for art and design. As long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the art of tattooing and the symbolism of how one can translate an idea artistically onto the skin. Once I graduated from college, I realized that I wanted to use my art skills to create one-of-a-kind pieces for people to enjoy and felt that tattooing was the best way to get my art into the world.
Favorite Inks and Machines?
Current favorite machine is the Axys Valhala rotary pen. Current favorite ink is Eternal
Every person that I meet that wants to be tattooed by me has been a huge part of my growth and learning experience. I am a self-taught tattoo artist and am learning and growing with every tattoo that I complete. Some of my inspiration comes from graphic art, classical and contemporary themes. I am really inspired by creating designs that fit the form and bring dynamic imagery to my clients’ skin. I can’t say that I have a specific artist that inspires me; I feel that all art and artists have elements that inspire my design and tattoos. I currently work with three other artists at my studio and I find that they help to inspire me by pushing me harder to learn new skills artistically. We constantly critique our work and push our boundaries to make our art more dynamic and interesting to view.
Favorite Part of the Tattoo Process?
I love the entire tattoo process, from the initial consultation, to the stencil placement and then the finished product. I really enjoy the reaction of my clients when they see this finished tattoo. It’s a very humbling experience to bring an idea to life that resonates a story or emotion and how it affects the viewer.
Talk to us about aftercare and your association with Ink Defense
Aftercare is incredibly important! I try and be a valuable resource to my clients about effective aftercare procedures. I recommend my clients wear Saniderm wrap for the first 24 hours, then after that time is up, I give them the options to reapply another piece or remove it and follow traditional aftercare: wash 2x a day and apply an ointment like Ink Defense a few times a day to alleviate dryness and protect the fresh tattoo.
I am a pro team member for Ink Defense and highly recommend this product to all of my clients. I have used this product on my new tattoos as well, and prefer it over a water-based lotion — it doesn’t clog pores and leaves the tattoo feeling soothed during its healing.
Biggest reward of being a tattoo artist?
Creating art for others to enjoy for a lifetime, and creating a piece of art that is so specific and intimate for the individual is incredibly gratifying and truly the best experience. I cannot express how fortunate I am to have such wonderful artists who work at my studio and how amazing our clients are.