The artwork of artist Ray Hawse

Where were you born and where are you from?                   I was born and raised in the Maryland & Washington D.C area my entire life.

How did you get introduced to the tattoo culture?
Being introduced to the tattoo culture came from the strong influence of family & friends. Considering that they always knew me to be very artistic.

When did you get started?
I would say it all started back in 2000-2001 when Chris Smith of the Baltimore Tattoo Museum first took me in and began to teach me the fundamentals of the art form.

Do you remember the first tattoo that you did?
Yes, as a matter of fact I do. Before being in a professional environment, I experimented on myself. Now looking back at the tattoo it is quite horrific.

How would you describe your style of tattooing?
I would say the best way to describe my style is Traditional Japanese and all other Asian inspired arts.

What were you doing before you got into the tattoo business, and what made you change?
Well, I was doing home improvement for about 5 years and just felt that I was wasting the natural talent that I have. So I started doing research on the art form of tattooing and the techniques. From there I decided this would be what I wanted to make a lifelong commitment to. Since then I have never looked back and have had no regrets.

What influences your artwork?
Major influences come from the artists “Shige” & “Horiyoshi III”, and the rest I must say is due to the history and the natural beauty of all the Asian culture.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get their first tattoo?
Just to make sure that they do their research on the style they would like to get. Also most importantly, research their artist. Once all that is done don’t confine your artist on using their creativity. You always want to make sure that they have their heart & soul into the tattoo.

Do you see yourself doing anything other than tattooing?
Honestly I could never entertain the thought of doing anything else. Due to the fact that I love being in a culture where We as artists can express so much through our work and really don’t think twice about what other people may think or feel about us.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“It’s not the person that makes the tattoo; it’s the tattoo that makes the person.”

Where do you see the tattoo culture 10 years from now?
This culture has grown tremendously over the past 10-20 years and will not stop. I believe there will come a point where everyone will have at least 1 tattoo or piercing. People are beginning or should I say have begun to see that we are not freaks or animals or outcasts. That what we do is a true art form and it should be appreciated.