In de tattoo wereld heb je, net als in de gewone wereld, trends en sterren. Deze sterren krijgen via tv, internet en magazines meer dan genoeg gratis reclame en sommigen zijn zelfs zo slim om samenwerkingen aan te gaan met bepaalde merken, waardoor ze een mooi centje bij kunnen verdienen. Van kleding merken waar ze voor ontwerpen, tot een eigen lijn tattoo inkt.
Maar er lopen tegenwoordig zoveel talenten rond waarvan niemand ooit gehoord heeft, maar die minstens even goed zijn. En die artiesten wil ik in deze nieuwe “10×10″ column een platform geven om zichzelf wat meer op de kaart te zetten. Het concept is heel simpel, tien vragen en 10 foto’s. Niks meer en niks minder.
Via Instagram (goh, alweer?… Ja, alweer) kwam ik in contact met Jef Davis. We raakten aan de praat, ik bekeek zijn werk en besloot dat ik de eerste “10×10″ met hem wou doen.
Dus bij deze presenteer ik de eerste 10×10. Hij is wel in het Engels, omdat ik nog geen zin heb gehad om het interview te vertalen 😉
1. Hi Jef, tell us a little about yourself.
Well, there isn’t much to say, really. I’m a twenty-eight year old first year tattooer trying to make a living. I’m originally from California. Moved up to Portland, Oregon five years ago for school. Four of those years I was doing social work, working with homeless kids and such. I think it took a toll on me and I decided to pursue tattooing.
2. Where did you learn to tattoo?
I learned (and I am very much still learning) from a few people. Oregon is a funny state in that they require you to get a “license” before you start tattooing and there are no official apprenticeships here in Portland. I started to pick things up while watching other tattooers tattoo (the guys in the shop that I was unofficially doing an apprenticeship) in Sideshow Alley Tattoo Odditorium (@sideshowalleytattoo if you’re on instagram). After a few months, however, I was given an offer by Randy Randerson (@randy_r) to go to Arizona and get a crash course learning session with him. So, I’m proud to say that Randy taught me a lot of what I think I’m juuuust beginning to understand. Not to mention completely changed my attitude and work ethic toward the industry.
3. There are so many different types of tattoo styles nowadays. Do you try and specialize in any certain one?
I dunno, I really would like to be able to do whatever the client wants. Whether it be script, realism, traditional, kanji. I know my skills are very limited at the moment, but I am not afraid to work with people who have a specific image in mind. That being said, I am very, very interested in pursuing whatever style it is that I have been doing. I honestly don’t know what to label it as – Most of my influences are amazing tattooers/artists in other countries, Sacha madwithlove, sven kleis, sven von kratz, Julia Szewcykwka… so many people. . . Whatever it is that I am posting most of, it’s because I have the most fun with -so, whatever it is I post, or practice, that’s what I want to specialize in.
4. Has tattooing gotten over saturated in Oregon as well?
Absolutely. Everyone seems to have the the same opinion – Over saturation. And I’m sure anyone who has been tattooing longer than I have will concur that I am a part of the problem. On the other hand. Over saturation doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem. If there are 100 artists and, out of those artists, only ten of them actually give a shit about what they are doing, and provide the best service to the best of their ability each time and want to continue to be a better tattooer, they will do so. Soon enough, the customer will realize what a good artists is and will see who is getting better and who will fall off the map because they lack passion, conviction, drive, consistency in their work.
5. With the growing generation of social networking, do you think Instagram is good for tattooing, bad or both?
I think social network is both good and bad (like anything else in the world, right?). It definitely has a use.. it is 100% free advertising to get your work across the world (much like this interview). I think it kind of goes hand in hand with the over saturation.. You have soooo many tattooers on social network and soooo many of them just looking to one up the next guy. A wise man told me that Instagram is about to bottom out – It’s not about being a great artists anymore, or having skill – it’s about offering free shit to get popular. It made me think a lot about what I post and how I approach advertising on social networking sites..
6. Besides tattooing, what’s your favorite media to work with?
Other than tattooing, I would have to say watercolor. Before learning how to paint from Randy, I was just scribbling on paper with pens and doing weird shit with copic markers. Randy taught me how to paint about five months ago and I haven’t looked back. After that, I would have to say just pencil to paper. Sketching designs. Charcoal realism is really rad, too.
7. What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m not really working on any “projects” at the moment. I’m just trying to learn how to tattoo everyday. I would really like to just focus on that -tattooing. Meeting more artists, trying to do as many collaborations as possible, split sheets, trades. My friend and fellow tattooer, Cassady Bell (@cassadybell) invited me to go with him to the Evergreen Tattoo Invitational… so, I’m trying not to shit my pants in excitement and nervousness). Other than that, I am doing a lot of foot work to get my work out there.. hiding prints in Portland, offering them as a coupon for tattoos), high fiving people with tattoos. . . daily project is to tattoo, always.
8. What was your first tattoo machine?
My first tattoo machine was a jail house tattoo machine I learned to make on the internet. It was a mechanical pencil attached to half a spoon with a VCR motor. I used guitar string and pen ink to tattoo bananas, haha! I just recently gave it as a gift to someone.
9. Tattooing is more popular than ever, do you feel it will grow even more or die down?
Who knows, man, haha. Tattooing has been around for thousands of years… Popular, unpopular… who gives a shit. It shouldn’t be about popular or unpopular. It should be about people wanting tattoos from people that love making tattoos.
10. When will you come to the Netherlands, so that people here can make an appointment with you?
If someone pays for my ticket in exchange for tattoos and a place to stay.. I will be there as soon as possible! .. hint, hint… Since that is so un-likely, it will be a while. Like I have mentioned before, I’m a first year tattooer that just wants to tattoo, man. I’m broke as hell and make more money selling prints and paintings than I do tattooing, unfortunately. Check out my work if you and buy some stuff – they make good gifts.. instagram @brutalxboogie
Hey, thank you very much for the opportunity. Any time you want to talk more, or hit me up with offers of people/artists there would want to work together, let me know!