A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes determination, hard work, and faith.
Whimsical Traditional. Full color.
Consider the natural postion of the body.
Solid lines, application and placement is key.
The adventure begins
9.2 When I first began collecting at age 18, I was most excited about the quality of work and the (body)coverage and nowadays, getting tattooed has become a way for me to connect with my colleagues while showing support to the community.
It was a fairy design done on my forearm, from Judy Parker flash (Judy has been tattooing since 1978). It was made at Coney Island Vinny’s in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, when I was barely old enough to a have driver’s license. That magic moment when I first felt the needle prick my skin was life-changing. I still have the tattoo and still love it.
I officially began my career in 2004 with a professional apprenticeship at a highly-regarded New York City tattoo studio, Triple X Tattoo (now Red Rocket Tattoo). I spent approximately two years studying under a veteran tattooer, Mike Bellamy and learned everything from making needles to cleaning toilets (I got very good at both). This classical-style apprenticeship included a variety of chaotic tasks and some grueling work, which I was happy/proud to do. To me the most sacred part of tattooing is the apprenticeship period because this lays the foundation.
I’d like to share a few moments… First, the day my mentor agreed to apprentice me. Second, the moment I got to do my first walk-in tattoo. Third, My first convention (NYC at Roseland Ballroom). Following that, there’s been countless happy moments either when meeting a new tattoo-friend or having a great session with a client. There are little happy moments everyday when you do what you love.
Writer Andrew Klaven “No one starts out with the answers. You figure them out as you go and you learn from the people who figured them out before you.” -AK
Whimsical. Traditional. Solid.
When discussing my signature work, there’s another trademark my portfolio is known for, Cattoos. I adore cats and feel akin with the humans who own them. In tattoo history, cat tattoos have always been present, whether it was through imagery of large wild cats or memorial pieces for lost furry family members. Now more then ever clients are paying tribute to their domestic felines. I’ve created a series of playful cat illustrations called Kinetic Kitties (@KineticKitties), these illustrations have become something I frequently tattoo. I’ve been asked what my favorite Cattoo is, but to me tattooing has more to do with the clients than anything else, so it’s not always designs that I can say are favorites, rather it’s the people I meet along the way.
Running a one-man-show. Meaning, most artists (including myself) handle all of their own business. For example: client-services, marketing, promoting, and obviously drawing. There’s so much behind the scenes action that clients don’t see. Tattooing is also very laborious and the physical toll can be a real challenge.
I have a lot of cover-ups from when I was tattooed underage and I’ve had laser removal done on a few things but regrets wouldn’t be the word I’d choose. More like,
changes in my life/attitude caused me to go in different directions with my bodysuit.
Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things. -George Carlin
Do your homework! There is so much information out there that it’s easy to educate yourself about tattoos and everything that’s involved with that.
Also, (this is for inspiring tattooers) don’t expect a handout. Getting your foot in the industry and/or becoming an apprentice is no easy task. You may experience a lot of rejection but if you are serious about pursuing this life, then patience, persistence, and dedication will be your best friends.
Continue the fun
Getting tattooed: Outer calf. Center thigh (Right above knee)
Doing a tattoo: Outer calf or outer thigh.
And the hardest for me was the back of my knee (The knee ditch). It was pretty awful, I almost threw up!
For warm climates… I spent a week in Grenada many years ago and it was the most relaxing and peaceful holiday I ever took.
For my snowy holidays… The snowcapped mountains of Colorado. Tucked away in a little ski lodge, right off the mountain.
Classic 80s, classic rock, anything you can tap your toes to or have an impromptu dance party.
My home office with one kitty by my feet and the other plopped next to me on my drawing desk. Add a warm cup of tea and The Office playing in the background, and now I’m in heaven.
Here are some folks that inspire me… Brooke Darling (for her script), Gin Hix (for her versatility), Squire Strahan (for his attention to detail), Cindy Maxwell (for her Japanese), Ly Aleister (for her Kawaii style), Jamie August (for his dope flowers), Horitomo (for his Monmon Cats), and so many many many more!
Those who inspire me… Team 8oS
Social media has brought the tattoo community together like no other thing before! In the past (and continuing the tradition today) tattoo conventions were the place tattooers from across the globe could meet, chat, and form a bond but now you can do that from the comfort of your own shop! Also, I believe the quality of tattooing has improved because tattooers are able to share insights, tips, and other info via SM. And what’s even greater is customers seem to be more knowledgable than ever before because they now have the ability to understand tattoo etiquette and how to review a portfolio right from the palm of their hands. I love it all!
Bringing joy to people’s lives.
I’ve got two cats, Lion-o (an orange tabby who is dumb as a doornail and sweet as pie) and Petri (a fluffy tuxedo who’s an adorable snuggler). Both rescued from NY animal shelters. They’re the coolest!