The artwork of artist Brent Olson

Where were you born and where are you from?                               I was born in Long Beach, C.A. Raised in Apple Valley, C.A.

How did you get introduced to the tattoo culture?                         I was introduced by my father. He and my uncles had tattoos and I would draw stuff that they were thinking of getting when I was like 15-16ish. I had been into a shop once during that time in Arizona, a random street shop, but never fully understood much about it, just seemed intimidating. One of my best friends in high school had told me I should be a tattoo artist and I told him hell no, I thought it was all bikers and gangs. It just didn't seem like my scene. But I thought I could maybe do my own thing. So I went to college for business and soon realized I was learning valuable business knowledge, but had no idea how to tattoo. So I sought out for an apprenticeship.

When did you get started?                                                                       I got an apprenticeship offered at a street shop, but went to Art Junkies Tattoo Studio the following day with an ex girlfriend who was going to get tattooed. I was completely blown away with the tattoos that were being done there. Their stuff was on a whole other level and I made my decision then that it was where I needed to be in order to succeed. I talked to Mike DeMasi about getting an apprenticeship there and he told me, "nope, sorry dude I'm not taking anyone." I convinced him to at least look at my artwork, so he did, and he was even less impressed and said no again. I asked if he would give me some pointers to help me better myself. He said sure and gave me some on one of my "best" pieces and sent me on my way. So I came back in two days later with my changes and asked for more help. A day later was back in with more changes and this went on for about six months or so. I then asked if I could just sit in there and draw and he could look it over and see what else I needed to work on. Well, one day Mike and his co-owner Mario Rosenau asked if they could talk to me over on the couch. In my head I was thinking "Holy shit, I pissed these guys off, bugging them this whole time!" Much to my surprise they asked how serious I was about this. I explained how I saw that they were the best and I wanted to learn from them and that with or without them I was going to become a tattoo artist. Mike then told me he wanted to try me out and started my apprenticeship 2008.

How would you describe your style of tattooing?                       I'm not sure if I have discovered, "my style", but if anything I would say a jack of all trades. I don't really stick to any specific style because I love them all. During my upbringing I was surrounded by phenomenal artists like Aric Taylor, Mike DeVries, Tim McEvoy, Mario Rosenau and of course Mike Demasi. So realism, portraits, traditional, neo-traditional, and script lessons were at my finger tips and I did my best to hover and soak in everything I possibly could.

What were you doing before you got into the tattoo business, and what made you change?                                                                   I was working at Target in the photo department. All I did back there was draw on all the receipt tape. I always wanted to pursue something in art and was doing my apprenticeship and college at the same time. After a while of burning the candle at both ends, I had to take a step back and look at what was truly important to me and so I decided to spend all of my time at Art Junkies.

What influences your artwork?                                                 Everything, family, life events, other artists, religion and politics are some of my favorites. Seeing a sweet ass painting in a gallery or a tattoo inspires me to go at it and push my potential, always wanting to surpass what I feel I'm capable of at the time.

What would you say is the best part about tattooing?           For sure being paid for what I love to do. My dad always told me to work with my mind not my back. I mean my back is terrible already with my poor posture, but you get the idea. I get to create something new every day. Also clients coming to me because they love my work and want something from me makes me feel awesome.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get their first tattoo?                                                                                                 Do your homework; look for a good artist whose work will best be suited for you. Invest your time and money into it. It will be worth it in the end. Let that artist do what they do best. Have an open mind. A real artist will want you to have a sweet piece because it is their name on it as well.

Do you see yourself doing anything other than tattooing?         No way, I mean maybe some side stuff, but I will tattoo until my hands fall of, and then I'll see what I'm capable of with my feet.

Do you have a favorite quote?                                                               "Have fun, but know what the fuck is going on around you." - My Dad. He would tell me this over and over when I was little and it has played a roll throughout my life and still pops up in the ol' cranium from time to time.

What’s your biggest inspiration, what keeps you going?             My ol' lady and son. They make me want to be better every day. Also, my boys at the shop. Everyone feeds off each other and with so much talent in there you gotta keep it pushing or you'll be left in the dust.

What is one thing that life has taught you?                              Live it. If there is something you don't like, change it. You are the one person that will make sure that you get where you want to be in life, so don't hang back and hope it happens... go for it.

Where do you see the tattoo culture 10 years from now?             A mad house of talent. There are so many new crazy artist out there it's unbelievable. I hope that it   continues to progress in a good direction and we continue to learn.

Anything else you would like to add?                                             Big shout out to my mentor Mike DeMasi and my other teachers Mario Rosenau, Aric Taylor, and Tim McEvoy! Thanks for pushing me and taking me under your wings.

Come by the shop some time or go online and check out me and the crew.                                                                                                   @brentolson_art (intagram)                                                                   Facebook