Where were you born and where are you from?
I was born in
in 1966. Cape
Town, South Africa
How did you get introduced to the tattoo culture?
I was introduced to tattooing, as a five year old on a trip into
I noticed a long haired fella with fridge magnet tattoos on his arms and legs.
When I asked my mother what they were she told me they were Tattoos; pictures
created under the skin with needles and ink which involved lots of pain and
blood. I gave this subject a lot of thought over the next few days and thus
started a life long fascination with the craft! Cape Town
Do you remember the first tattoo that you did?
The first tattoo that I ever did was on a friend of mine. I was about fourteen; we were in his room at his parent’s pub. We used a burnt sewing needle and the ink squeezed out of a Bic Pen refill. I tattooed the “Triumph” logo on his arm, then he tattooed “motherfucker” under my navel. It was all for a laugh but my mother didn’t think it was funny!
What were you doing before you got into the tattoo business, and what made you change?
I got into the industry in my mid twenties after doing airbrush work, pencil portraits, sign writing, mural painting, and designing business cards. I spent a year traveling around
drawing on the pavement in my early twenties. I was offered an apprenticeship
by my brother in law, Rob Sutherland, from “Living Image” in Spain Greenwich,
approximately seventeen years ago and the rest is history! London
What influences your artwork?
I am influenced by life in general, textures, shadow highlights, compositions, to name a few. I find that my photography makes me look for shapes and forms and compositions. I am influenced by all the artists that I am impressed with and my own style of drawing, I have always thought, it’s a culmination of all of their influence….or at least I would like to think so, heehee!
What advice would you give to someone looking to get their first tattoo?
The advise I would give to someone getting their first tattoo is not to get anything that they might be embarrassed about…ie…names of boyfriends/girlfriends, anything that is popular/ trendy….ie stars! Don’t “try it out” by having a tiny tattoo to see what it feels like. In over seventeen years I have never-not finished any tattoos, and at over a thousand tattoos a year, that is a good percentage! People are usually pleasantly surprised as to how little it hurts. If you are determined to have something tiny for your first tattoo, then choose somewhere on your body where it can be hidden, not bang smack in the middle of an area where you might want to get something a bit more ambitious in the future!
Do you see your self doing anything other than tattooing?
I consider myself to be an artist who happens to tattoo, and I more than likely always will, but I most certainly would like to take more of a back seat in the future and do more painting, sculpture and also woodwork. I am in the process of learning digital painting at the moment!
Do you have a favorite quote?
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes. Gandhi.
Only one of thousands of quotes that I like!
Where do you see the tattoo culture 10 years from now?
I believe that with the new found availability of tattooing equipment, it is going to get more and more popular with countless people wanting to become tattoo artists…so it will without a doubt reach a saturation point with huge amounts of people doing poor to average work, probably cheaply, and the cream will rise to the top, with the more discerning customer following them. There are also more and more extremely good artists getting involved, so standards will also get better. However as hard as it is to believe they can get better!
Anything else you would like to add?
On a personal note, I would like to thank Rob Sutherland (Living Image), Steve Coulson (Styx Studio), Mick Cope…an absolute diamond of a man, Tom Ptolomy(Silver Needles), John Slack (Classic Ink) and anyone else who has been instrumental in my artistic, tattooing development.
Thank you all!!
Oh yeah, and thanks to my Mandy for believing in me and putting up with me over the years xx.