Speciality? Japanese, American Traditional, Cover-ups
Years Tattooing? 16
How did you get your start?
I did a biker apprenticeship with Dave Stone, a dude here in town. He needed an apprentice who could actually work and hold down a job. When I heard that I was like put me in coach! I didn’t learn a lot technically about tattooing — it was tight threes and eight round-shader’s for everything. What I really learned was respect for the trade. The dude didn’t tolerate any kind of screwing around.
What inspires you about the Japanese style?
It looks super clean, and when it’s done right it fits people’s bodies perfectly. With all that black in the background, the colors in the foreground have a kind of power and jump right out at you. You can tell when it’s done right, same as with American traditional.
Can you give us a tip for doing effective cover-ups?
It’s best not just try to pave over the old one “blast-over” style. Try to use what’s there in your new design. The lines of the old tattoo are the killer — that’s what’ll show through. If you can take those old lines and finesse them into the new design you’ll come out on top. Battleship gray helps a lot too — you can wipe old tats off the map with that stuff.
How about inks and machines?
My boss is real old school and we use nothing but powdered pigments. Lately I’ve been using Luna Pigments. The colors are really rich when it’s packed in really good and the tattoos heal up nicely too. I really like Brandon Lewis coil machines.
Do you have any other creative pastimes?
I’ve been playing guitar since I was a little kid. I’ve got a pretty good band going — it’s called Charley Cholo. Its dirtbag rock. But that’s just fun and games — tattooing pretty much consumes my time.
What about tattooing keeps you moving forward with the art?
The payoff for me is to have a job with a lot of freedom; one that you can actually throw yourself into wholeheartedly and actually care about your work.