I’m a pretty good painter now, but I used to draw a lot when I was younger, so I can’t claim to be a first of its kind artist.
You got into tattooing when you were 17 years old, how did your experience there compare to the “golden age” of tattooing in the late 60s?
I think it felt like the ‘golden age’ of tattooing, but I would say that I went through a few phases that was more like something akin to ‘the 70s’ because by ‘the 70s’ if you go from the ‘golden age’, the culture was very different. The ‘golden age’ of tattooing was the early 1980s. So I don’t think that I went through anything that was as bad as it is or close to it—in fact I think it was better if by this point it was a bit better. A lot more artists that took it on and made it a successful business at the same time.
I remember that there were a lot of people working there who never learned to draw. They didn’t have any concept, it was either ink or a tattoo. A lot of art studios made it that way and that’s why they weren’t as successful. A lot of the time we ended up at a lot of shows that were a lot different than the one we wanted to show or was intended to be. It was either ink or a tattoo and a lot of times I don’t think they made it as much as we needed it to be to move on. But that wasn’t the end of it—it just ended up in that corner. I think the more people that learned to draw and understand the medium started taking the medium more seriously.
There was a lot more competition for the artists when there was a lot more opportunities in the industry then.
There definitely were, there just wasn’t as much competition—the other times they were just being pushed to the bottom. There was so many people who were going down, they just weren’t even getting paid for their time—I wish they had been paid when they were on the top, they should have paid more than maybe one time the artists made less then they were earning.
So at this time most of the artists ended up working as a team. A lot of things were done in a team. So there were several artists working together but it was mostly artists working as a team.
Can you talk about any
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