Joe Diablo

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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.  

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Dani, Danielle, Mum

Shop?

Urge 3 Tattoos

 

Location?

Penticton BC

 

Years tattooing?

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.

 

Preferred style?

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.

 

Biggest influences?

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.

 

(Rapid blinking) 

 

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.

 

Likes?

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.

 

Dislikes?

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.

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Jennifer “Jen” Dennison 

Age: 36 

 

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. 

 

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Favorite Inks and Machines? 

 

Current favorite machine is the Axys Valhala rotary pen. Current favorite ink is Eternal 

 

Biggest Influence/Inspiration? 

 

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.  

 

 

www.facebook.com/thesteelpaintbrush   

Instagram: thesteelpaintbrush  

 

 

Buck Wayne 

Name?     Buck Wayne    Shop?    Co-owner at Tattoo Underground    Location?    1231 NW Broad Street Suite 104 Murfreesboro, Tn.    Specialty?    I love tattooing horror and dot work the most . . . but I don’t specialize in one style.    Years Tattooing?   Do you mean years tattooing professionally? If so, about six years. But I really got my start when I was 14, tattooing other kids in foster homes and group homes.   What tattoo artists have influenced your work the most?    Big Paul Clark, first and foremost. He’s the reason I got my start. I have a lot of other guys I look up to, but Josh Herman, Timmy B, Bob Tyrell and Ghost 6 are the ones that come to mind.    You have an incredibly wide range of style in your output. What, in your opinion, led you to bring such diversity to your portfolio?     I choose to tattoo any style because Big Paul always told me my goal should to master all of it. I love making something from nothing, something permanent that I DID! Seeing my client happy is what makes my day.    What are the advantages of a private studio?    I prefer working at a private shop because I dont like someone making money off of my work and my name. I could care less about the traditional ways that old bikers and scum bags where loyal to. Im my own man. I make my money. You aint getting shit!!! LOL  Let’s get back to how you got your start for a moment. There’s obviously more to this story. How did you get into tattooing at such a young age?   I grew up between Murfreesboro and Nashville most my life. My parents were killed when I was 4 years old and I was sent to live with my grandparents until my grandma passed away when I was in the 2nd grade. After that my grandpa got bad off on drugs like heroin and Oxycontin. We were homeless and lived anywhere we could. I was eventually taken into state custody. But through that time, had a man that was like a father to me named Big Paul Clark. He tattooed in prison and out of his house. All the other kids would be playing games or outside playing ball and Id be hanging with him, tracing his stencils and making his set ups.     615-624-3999 Buckwaynetattoos@outlook.com IG: tattoosbybuckwayne FB: Buck Wayne       
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Permanent Change

Cincinnati Tattoo Artist Proves Racial Issues Are More Than Skin Deep 

 By Darin Burt 

Jamison Walker loves lettering and was using his talents to create a window mural outside Black Fern Tattoo memorializing the names of fellow African-Americans across the country killed in confrontations with police. It was Walker’s way to support those in his Cincinnati community — and throughout the country, affected by systemic racism and police brutality. Little was he aware that he was about to be caught up in the issue.  

 

A peaceful protest had earlier taken place a few blocks away at the Hamilton County Courthouse. Officers had closed off the street, and protesters were making their way home ahead of the city’s nightly curfew. Walker was almost finished with his project when he was confronted by police about what he was doing. Walker tried to explain that he worked at the shop and had the permission of other officers to be out on the sidewalk past curfew. But this new group of officers would have none of it.  

 

“They just wouldn’t listen. They were already enraged and I guess they took my explanation as a sign of disrespect,” Walker says.  

 

In a video of the May 31 incident, officers can be heard telling Walker’s coworkers to go inside. Walker started to follow, when he said another officer blocked his path.  

 

“When I did turn around, they pushed me up against the glass and then pulled out the taser,” Walker told WCPO news.  

 

“It happened so fast — they were twisting my arms and zip-tied my hands,” Walker continued.  “I’m not one to fear people, but in that moment, I was so fearful because I knew I couldn’t fight back.” 

 

Walker, 27, was charged with misconduct at an emergency for breaking curfew and spent the night in the Hamilton County Justice Center. But he wasn’t alone. In all, police made more than 200 arrests.  

 

“I heard they had already written out the arrest papers before any of the protesting even started,” Walker said. “Many of the people were just trying to return to their cars, but it didn’t seem to matter — people were getting stopped, and even pulled out of their vehicles, and arrested.” 

 

Walker was bailed out by the owner of Black Fern and is determined to contest the charges. Ironically, before becoming a tattoo artist three years ago, Walker, who grew up in Long Beach, California, had thoughts of putting on a badge. Maybe now, not so much. In tattooing, he’s found a likeminded and supportive family. 

 

“The tattoo community, at least in our city, is completely accepting of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Walker said. “Anyone that gets tattooed is marked in society, so I think they have an understanding of what it feels like to be perceived negatively.” 

 

That’s not to say Walker hasn’t felt prejudice inside the tattoo studio. He recalls once where a customer looked at portfolios without knowing who the artists were. When she saw he was black, she requested that another artist do the tattoo from his book. Then there’s just the opposite. After hearing of Walker’s arrest, a white man came in to apologize for how he’d been treated and to let him know that everything that was happening had opened his eyes about racism. Soon the man, whose negative beliefs were ingrained by his own upbringing, will be expressing his newly found solidarity with a half-sleeve designed and tattooed by Walker depicting pivotal moments in the civil rights movement.  

 

Walker has also witnessed discrimination against black people who want to get tattooed, but are turned away by artists who don’t think dark skin is a suitable canvas. “As artists, we’ve hindered ourselves by thinking that color tattoos especially aren’t going to look good. What we need to do is mold the design to work on darker skin. If I do a portrait, my contrast is higher and I treat the skin as the lightest tone, and work from there,” Walker pointed out, adding that Eternal Maxx Black and Empire’s graywash series are two of his favorites for inking people of color. 

 

Oftentimes, art can speak louder than words, and Walker makes a conscience effort to promote the work of other black tattooists. “They don’t get the recognition that they should,” he said. “It took me meeting another black artist who I respected to learn about other black artists, like Miya Bailey and Boneface, who are really amazing. Black artists are really starting to break through in the tattoo industry.” 

 

Walker also encourages artists to avoid tattooing symbols, such as the swastika, iron cross and Confederate flag, which can be viewed as hateful and oppressive. “Simply as a human, I don’t want to glorify anything negative,” he said. “I wouldn’t want a person to have to carry that symbol because you never know if they might have a life experience that would change their perception.” 

 

“I feel like we’re on the right path,” Walker said. “All of these issues have blown away the smoke and left a clear picture for everybody to see that we have an unjust system and that systematic racism has affected people of color.” 

 

Photo Credit 

Dubs
-IG @ohthatsdubs
-website: www.shotsbydubs.com 

 

 

 

PAIN Willy Cutlip Interview

Name?

Willy Cutlip

Age?

35

Shop?

Bad Apple Tattoo

Location?

Las Vegas

Years tattooing?

13

Style/Specialty?

Illustrative, Neo-Traditional, Black and Grey

Obligatory question first: What originally brought you into tattooing?

I majored in art and didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it. I started getting tattooed and thought, “I could do this.” It took a couple years until I found a shop that I thought had decent enough artists who could teach me. I basically wouldn’t leave them alone until they agreed to take me on as an apprentice.

What tattoo artists have influenced your work the most?

I’m influenced by so many artists and friends . . . Dj Tambe and all the other guys I work with; James Tex, Josh Payne, Josh Duffy, Curt Baer, Jeff Gogue, Teresa Sharpe . . . the list goes on. I change up my style of tattooing/drawing often, so my influences are constantly changing.


Best part of being a tattoo artist?

Getting to do art everyday, and the fact that people walk around with it on them . . . constantly showing it off. People get to see the art I’ve done on a daily basis. It’s not just sitting on a wall, or put away in storage . . . It’s organic and changing and aging with them. There’s something about it that is just so rewarding.

As briefly as possible, describe a day in the life of Willy Cutlip.

Eat breakfast, take the kids to school, go to the gym, go to work, draw, eat lunch, tattoo, eat dinner, watch a little TV, get some sleep.

Best part of being a dad?

Getting to spend quality time with my kids and watch them enjoy things the way only a kid can.

On your Instagram page, you describe yourself as “Extremely happily married.” Could you elaborate on that?

I was married before, and at that time, I would’ve described myself as happily married. I wasn’t unhappy, for the most part. But when I met my current wife, I hit a new level of happy that I didn’t know was possible. My wife, Kris makes me happy in a different way . . . as if my happiness isn’t solely based on my outlook of our situation. I’m so happy in my marriage that sometimes when I talk about it, I have to stop myself because I feel like I come off as overly braggy.

Tell me about your “gym addiction.”

The gym is basically my religion. I lift weights to make my body and mind feel better and to hopefully live longer and healthier because of it. I wouldn’t say I’m dependant on it to keep me in a good mood, but it definitely helps. I do it to look and feel good about myself. We can sugar-coat it all we want, but vanity is a big part of who we are. I take a great deal of pride in my physical appearance. I also just like to feel strong and want to grow old with as little physical pain and limitations as possible.

Any parting words?

Life’s not all about bitches and money, but in the immortal words of Will Ferrel, “I wanna make bank, bro, I wanna get ass, and I wanna drive a Range Rover.”

Dan Kelley

Name?

Dan Kelley

Shop?

Skull and Snake Tattoo Studio Art Gallery

Location?

North Berwick, Maine.

Years Tattooing?

10.

Specialty?

Black and Grey/Color realism

Preferred inks & equipment?

Electrum Stencil Primer, Axys Valhalla Machine, Critical XR Power Supply, Dynamic Black Ink that I mix into grey wash myself, Eternal Color Ink, Redemption Tattoo Lubricant, Helios Red Cartridges.

Rotary or coil, and why?

I use a Rotary Machine currently. I learned on coil machines from the ground up but as my tattooing evolved, I felt that the inconsistency of coil machines and having to have a different machine setup for each needle grouping was holding me back. The day I switched to a cartridge system rotary machine is the day that my work finally began to level up in ways I had been striving for but just couldn’t seem to make happen with a traditional coil and tube setup.

You have a clear penchant for the creepy and the macabre. What draws you to that?

I’m drawn to this imagery for a number of reasons. As a child, I was raised a bit sheltered from the unusual. My parents never even let me go trick or treating because they believed Halloween was too closely related to the Devil. So when I began to discover the things I was always kept from, they grew on my like a weed. The darker side of reality is something that shouldn’t be ignored. It makes me appreciate the brighter side of things even more . . . You could say it’s a coping method for my own existence. I think we all struggle with what this life is about and what we are supposed to do while we are here.

Flipshades

 

Name? Rick Meggison, AKA Flipshades

Shop? Full gypsy. I’ve been doing nothing but travel and tattoo for the last three years. #Tattourist!

Residencies

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.

Jason Thompson – AKA Tuna

How long have you been studying the craft? Tattooing and/or
piercing:

Tuna: Tattooing 19 years

What is your area of specialties? (Watercolor, black and gray,
realism, etc.)

Tuna: Polka trash, Cover ups, fix-ups, water color

What do you find fascinating about the tattoo/piercing industry?

Tuna: There’s a power in providing a tattoo for someone that is unmatched by any other profession. Helping someone heal from a loss, or mark a memorable time in their life, or even just put something fun on themselves offers something no other job can. You always get to meet a lot of interesting people and hear a lot of interesting stories.

Parting words/quote/mission statement, etc.

Tuna: Wake up and kick today’s ass is the only way to live & always try to be the only be the hardest worker in the room.

936-703-5293
jrthompsonink@yahoo.com
FB: Tattoos By Tuna or F.O.B. Tattoos By Tuna
IG: @tattooingtuna

Cody Gower

Name? Cody Gower

Shop? Against the grain tattoo

Location? Smyrna TN

Age? 30

You’re only 30 years, old, yet you’ve already been tattooing for 11 years. What inspired you to jump into tattooing so early? 

Honestly, it was my only goal in life. I was 12 years old, growing up around a local tattoo shop and the owner told me if I kept at my art I could tattoo one day. After that, there was no plan B. Tattoo or bust.

How old were you when you opened your shop?

26

Running a business isn’t easy. Was it a struggle to stay on top of the business side of things while maintaining your chops as an artist?  

At first yes. I’m fortunate now. I have a solid crew to help me make things easier. It’s a team effort among us and without the guys with me, the shop and myself would not be where we are.

Tell us a little about your relationship with Axys Rotary.

I’m one of Axys Rotary’s sponsored artists. They’re an amazing company run by two equally amazing people named Dan and Gisella. They actually care . . . not just about their team either but everyone who uses their products. Your following means nothing to them. It’s who you are as a person and that goes a long way.
Can we assume that you aren’t “loyal to the coil”?
While I respect coils, I’m not anymore. Rotaries are helping my hands last.

You came into the industry right at the evolutionary cusp between the “old school” and the “new school.” From your vantage point, what has improved and what have we maybe lost along the way?

The improvement is artists are more together and willing to share knowledge.  10-15 years ago, you couldn’t go hover over an artist in another shop down the street. Now I have dinner with the local guys and hang out with them all the time. What was lost is respect. The younger generation is not willing to pay their dues. They expect to be just doing amazing tattoos and doing the style they are inspired by without putting in the work to get their ability to match their want.

What, in your opinion is the most pivotal issue in the tattoo industry currently?

Honestly, the exposure of the artists who are taking advantage of the clients. Clients trust us to not put them in uncomfortable positions and not be a total piece of shit. World famous and FK Irons recently removed a guy for DM’ing his ‘stuff’ to female clients.  Not cool, captain. Not every client wants to fuck you.

Word around the industry is that you’re completely straight edge. Is that true?

Man, its funny. I am, but unlike straight edge people I don’t use the title. ‘Edge’ people tend to be judgy. Other people drinking or smoking doesn’t affect me but I won’t do it. It’s not my thing.

Any closing remarks?

How you carry yourself is everything in this business.  Too many people focus on their image in social media’s eye, but its what not what do you when people are watching. Its what you do when people aren’t around.  Be the standard in this industry. Set the bar. This business deserves so much more than what its been getting lately.