My interest in art began early but I never took it seriously because I found it improbable that I could support myself solely as an artist. Tattooing became the way for me to become an artist without starving. I began tattooing at the age of 30, and felt that a traditional tattoo apprenticeship was not in the cards for me. I tattooed my friends and learned by what worked for me and what didn’t. I built my portfolio and worked in street shops until I was good enough to work in a real custom tattoo studio. I worked at Mastodon Piercing and Custom Tattoo until they closed their Cave Creek location. I now own and operate my own studio in Cave Creek, Arizona. I feel that although I never did a formal apprenticeship, I have worked alongside many artists that have and I know what it means to make a good tattoo. I’ve always liked the way making art makes me feel. I get a real sense of accomplishment when I complete something, a feeling that I don’t get from anything else. I always learn something from every work I make, whether it’s a 5 min study or a back piece that took 6 months to complete. Art gives me common ground to communicate with people that I have little in common with. My life really has changed since I learned to tattoo and focused on art full time. I have always had self esteem and social issues, with which making art helps to cure. I feel that I can honestly say that without art, I would never be where I am today. Making art is what makes me get out of bed in the morning and what keeps me focused on making a better life for myself. I studied Fine Art at Paradise Valley Community College from 2010 to 2013. I rarely missed class and learning to refine my drawing and painting skills were (and still are) my top priority. I learned how the masters made their works, and focused on oil painting when I could. I would have to say that without the knowledge of color theory that I received, I would never be the artist than I am today. The application of color is one of the most valuable tools and artist has in his pursuit to make the viewer see what he sees. I am grateful for the fact that my teachers were real working artists that had real world experience to pass down. I really can’t emphasize enough how important this art education was to me. I really try to stay well rounded in my abilities and never specialize in one area too much. I feel this way I can learn more and use that to make everything I do better. I’ve always been attracted to black and grey tattooing, and all of my own tattoos are in this style. Due to the fact that sunlight destroys pigment, black holds up far better than highly chromatic color. Also black and grey just has a style all its own and conveys an image specific to that. Colored tattoo pigments have come a long ways in past years and I’m starting to see chromatic color hold up a lot better than it used to. In the same way that black and grey tells a story, color can do things that monochromatic work just can’t. I use rotary and coil tattoo machines with the best needles and inks I can find. I’ve always found that better supplies make better tattoos. There are a lot of people out there trying to capitalize on the growth of the industry by putting out cheap sub-standard supplies for starving artists. I really feel sorry for anyone trying to make a good tattoo with some of the cheaper supplies that are out there today. Right now I use a few different blacks- Intenze, Talens and Silverback are my go to inks. I choose Fusion for my color since it heals bright as the sun and blends easily. I buy all my medical supplies from Kingpin Tattoo Supply, which has been a respected supplier in the industry for years. I do prefer to use stainless tubes because they give me more consistent results so I have an autoclave in the studio. I hope to be able to continue to tattoo and paint for as long as I can. My plans for the future include a bigger studio with space to airbrush and weld. I also would like to make more series’ of oil paintings and do more shows in bigger venues. I want to stay focused on growing and improving as an artist. One day I would like to say that I am a well known, successful painter and tattooer but until then I will be satisfied by just saying I am an Artist.