Namaste. I am Jesse.
In this exciting chapter of my experience I am working for a friend of mine (Mike Wilchenski) at Anchors Aweigh Tattoo Co situated in Garner, NC.
Anchors Aweigh Tattoo Co is located about 10 min southeast of Raleigh, North Carolina in the bustling little city of Garner.
Professionally I’ve been tattooing for 3 years now. I’ve been tattooing as a hobby for almost 13 years, but the most growth in skill I’ve experienced has been in the professional environment of course!
I love the art and process of tattooing and enjoy learning new styles and techniques. I prefer and receive the most gratification from my black/grey realism work. I also have a superior talent for script.
My mom has always been very supportive in my journey tattooing, it’s just an independent lifestyle I have always been a part of and very connected to (whether I realized it or not) from the start. The people, the interactions, the freedom, and the creative drive to manifest great things has attracted my focus since I was a young punk. I guess my biggest influence currently is the satisfaction that I get when I think about the people in the past that said “You won’t make it“ … it’s very satisfying to me, so I just sit and smile while I consistently improve my work and client experiences.
How did you become a tattoo artist?
After a 12 year stint in the US Navy, I had to decide what I wanted to do now that the military was out of the centerfold of my life. On the one hand, I was a computer networking technician for so long in the Navy, so do I continue in the computer science field or, on the other hand, follow my dreams. One choice was safe, the other was risky. I realized after 6 months of being a civilian contractor for the DoD, that I hated my $85K/year desk job, I was lost/depressed and absolutely despised my existence at that point. I wasn’t doing anything currently that felt meaningful. After some soul searching, I decided to follow my intuition and invest 100% into my visualization of being a proper tattoo artist. Since then The Universe has abundantly supported decision and my journey has been practically effortless. My days now have been some of the best days I’ve ever lived!
I am a Buddhist. I like and resonate with positively charged people and experiences. I enjoy spending a lot of my free time in deep introspection and thought. I also enjoy reading and love to write music.
The only things that I dislike I am currently detaching any connection to. I don’t enjoy the suffering of others, so if I can transmute circumstances to help others I will.
Any parting words?
I am truly grateful for my daughter Zoey, she is almost 12 and is the light of my existence. She is the only reason I am still alive today. Thank you Zoey. Also a big thank you to all my clients past, present and future for allowing me to impart my creativity in your tattoos and conversations!
Michael Phillips (A.K.A. Piercer Mike)
7944 Camp Bowie West.
Fort Worth, Tx. 76116
I really try to free-hand anything I perform as much as possible. I do have a few piercings I still use clamps on, though. I also really love performing ear projects, corsets, and anything else that gives me a challenge. Anything custom! I love bending and customizing jewelry. I try to come up with things people have never seen before, and make their friends and family want one.
My mentor is probably my biggest influence. His name is Daniel Mills. He has pushed me to be the best I can since the beginning of my career. He gave me a chance after he had only been piercing a little over a year himself. He doesn’t pierce anymore; he is in the film industry, doing very well at it too, I must say. He does still follow my work and tells me how proud of me he is any chance he gets. I have him to thank for everything.
Elayne Angel has always been a huge influence as well. I have read every article of hers in “Pain Magazine” since the first time I picked up an issue. I have also read “The Piercing Bible” from front to back many times, and I cannot wait to read the new addition. Everything I have ever read that she wrote has helped me increase my knowledge of body piercing.
Cody Fuller (owner of Bonehead Tattoo) is also a huge influnce and has renewed my inspiration for this business/industry. He has pushed me since the day I started at Bonehead almost 5 years ago. His exact words in the beginning were, “I want to be the premier place for piercings,” and I have strived to give him and myself just that. He has taught me to be humble and at the time not to take shit from anyone. I think that is important in this business. He owns the oldest tattoo shop in Fort Worth, Texas. He opened Bonehead in 1993, and is still going strong. That is truly saying something.
How did you become a body piercer?
I have hung around tattoo shops since I was 14, but I got my first tattoo when I was 13. I have always been obssessed with body art, and I have always wanted to work in a shop because of this. I’ve wanted to either pierce or tattoo, but didnt know which one until I actually started hanging with the artists of that shop, and body piercing just called to me. I knew I definitely didn’t want to tattoo, because I would be so mad if someone made me redraw something over and over again. So, after hanging out at New Breed Tattoo in West Lafayette, Indiana, for a while, I finally asked Daniel over for drinks one day. He was down to teach me, but had to talk to all the guys first. About a week later, they all showed up at my house and gave me the best news that would change my life forever. I started my apprenticeship about a month or so after. A bunch of the guys had left New Breed and started Operation Ink in Downtown Lafayette, Indiana, and it was at Operation Ink that it all started for me professionally.
Well obviously, the thing I like/love the most is body piercing. I have surrounded my life with it, and it is constantly on my brain. Even when I’m not at work, I’m promoting piercing through various social media and/or talking about it. I am also an avid music nut and horror film junkie. I just can’t get enough of it! Without music and horror, I don’t think I would be who I am today; needless to say they are both a huge part of my daily life. Black metal and the horror classics!
My biggest dislikes are people who pierce or tattoo out of their house, instead of a shop, without any proper industry-standard or sanitary/cross-contamination training. I think it is the ultimate disrespect to the people the take the time to do this the right way (often years of their lives!) and make a proper profession out of i, versus ordering a shitty kit off of the internet and scarring up their friends and family, causing the professionals headaches from trying to clean up their messes and mistakes. Just don’t do it; you’re gonna have a bad time.
Any parting words?
Be passionate! This is, in my opinion, the key to success. Without it, you are wasting your time.
Name? Elizabeth Vann @pokesbyliz
Shop? Fallen Saints Tattoo Studio @fallensaintstattoo
Location? Jacksonville NC
Years tattooing? (Piercing) 3 years
Preferred style? (Favorite piercings to do): Ear Projects! The more unique the anatomy the better!!
Biggest Influences? In life my biggest influences are my clients, my husband and my children! Professionally speaking, my biggest influences are Jef Saunders, Shawn O’Hare and Elayne Angel.
How did you become a tattoo artist? (Piercer)
I worked the front desk and one day the piercer at the studio asked me if I wanted to become his apprentice so he could retire!
Likes? Being outside, being a mom, being a wife, animals, art, poking holes, making money, traveling and enjoying food!!
Dislikes? Rude people, chores, and politics!
Any parting words? Thank you so much for your time, check out my page and let me know what you think! @pokesbyliz
Joe Diablo (38) is a well-known and respected tattoo artist from Houston, Texas. Born in Anaheim, California, he developed a strong love for art at a very young age. This fascination ultimately led him to tattooing and when it was presented, he seized the opportunity to turn his passion in to his profession.
Joe began a brief apprenticeship in 2012 from which he quickly transitioned to an independent artist due to his ability and proficiency in the field. With 8 years of professional experience under his belt, he has developed an appreciation for all styles of art. Portraits, Realism and Neo-Traditional are the types of tattoos he enjoys doing the most, yet he is alsoextremely skilled at creating custom pieces. Joe has attended numerous conventions and held multiple guest spots. Some of his work has been shared by big names such as Rob Zombie and Brian Werner of Vital Remains.
All that aside, Joe considers his favorite aspects of working in the tattoo industry are the opportunities to meet so many different types of people and to continue expanding his knowledge of tattooing while constantly striving to improve his already impeccable craft. Despite his talent and flourishing number of loyal clients, Joe remains humble and extremely dedicated to his work and his customers.
Joe has a flair for the macabre, occult and the darker side of the arts while still being a genuine and charming person. This is reflected in his favorite music (ex: Slayer, Pantera and Sepultura) and movies (ex: Devil’s Rejects, The Exorcist, The Thing, as well as the sci-fi and horror genres in general). Painting is another one of his favored art forms.
Joe Diablo is currently working independently as a traveling artist in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas and is always looking to expand his practice and acquire new and returning clientele. His reputation and portfolio ensure that your ink will be of the highest quality while his professionalism and charisma will make the session an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Urge 3 Tattoos
I’ve been tattooing 10-ish years. It’s hard to nail down a number as the first couple years were put on hold by babies. So, I was understandably VERY part time while raising them, now 12 and almost 14, and can’t reasonably count those couple of years as full years of experience.
There are so many styles I love to tattoo, but if I had to put a name to it, I’d say illustrative traditional. Bright and bold is the name of the game.
My influences change all the time. There are just so many artists that I admire for so many different reasons, but usually I find my most influential people are the rad, seasoned artists I’ve had the luck of working with over the years.
How did you become a tattoo artist?
How did I get into this? (Laughs.) It’s a weird, winding story with lots of ups, waaaaay more downs, and some shit in between. Allow me to condense. As a teen (16 or 17) I was offered a piercing apprenticeship I assume was based purely on my looks. Let’s just say, I was extremely “alternative,” (Laughs.)
So, I accepted, because it sounded cool, and plugged away at that while trying not to fail miserably at high school. Eventually, the owner of the piercing shop sold his business to a tattooer who offered me another apprenticeship, this time tattooing. By that time, I had already realized that piercing was fucking gross. It made me queasy every time and was clearly not for me. So again, I accepted.
I stayed for a couple more years but after continually butting heads with the owner of the shop, as well as dealing with my own demons and addictions, I decided it was not the right time for me to continue that endeavor. Fast forward a few years, I have my ducks in a row and a baby, plus another on the way and a really great life. My husband helped to convince me I’m in a good place to pick up the machines again. Tada!! Thanks Max! He helped boost me up when I wasn’t feeling so confident in myself. I can say for certain I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him.
What is it like working for Jeff and Kirk at Urge 3? Blink twice if you are being compelled to mislead.
Just kidding. It’s awesome working with Jeff and Kirk! First of all, they laugh at almost all my jokes. What’s not to love about that?! Jeff cares so much about his shop, how it’s run and the happiness of employees and clients alike. It is truly a pleasure to work with such a big heart hearted, professional dude.
And Kirk is Kirk lol. Super smart guy and an incredible tattooer. Gruff around the edges but actually very kind and is quick to offer help and suggestions if he sees the need, which is great. I’ve spent more of my career working on my own than not, so it’s awesome to have both these guys in the same space to bounce things off of.
I like connecting with people. I like knowing that I’ve made an impact (good, we hope!) on their day, or week, or whatever! There’s just such an immense positivity that comes with tattooing that I feel privileged to be a part of.
The stress! Ohhhh, the stress. Obviously, as with anyone, we all have our strengths and our, well, not-so-strengths. (Laughs.) My main stressors come from challenging designs and balancing my time. The challenging designs thing is a catch 22 because once it’s done and I’m happy it’s a great feeling, but sometimes getting there can be a fucking process! Balancing my time is difficult as I have another full-time job as well; being a mum to two super rad kids that need me, a wife and keeping my house from imploding. One is always pulling at the other, but I come from a long line of blue-collar work horses, so it would be like this no matter what I was doing—this, I know.
Any parting words?
Parting words. Stop getting infinity symbol tattoos! (Laughs.) But really, in parting I want to say thanks. Your questions made me really think and focus on some points that I think I’ve been taking for granted. Upped my gratitude level for the day exponentially.
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 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. 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 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 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 my clients. I have used this product on my new tattoos as 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 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.
9901 Acoma Road SE
Albuquerque, NM 87123
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