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David Flores

Tattooers Top Five

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I know there are a million lists, but I would consider this more of an exercise.

Typical day at the shop a topic came up yesterday, who are the top 5 people in the tattoo world that directly influenced you as a tattooer? It's a question that I have seen asked of a lot of aspiring tattooers who come into the shop looking for work, but would love to hear from some of the great tattooers on the forum.

Since I am not a tattooer, I will share the best list gathered yesterday from Ross Ferrie of Acme Tattoo (formerly of Deluxe Tattoo) in Portland Oregon. This list personifies his style and attitude perfectly in my opinion.

Pinky Yun

Freddy Corbin

Eric Maaske

Chris Conn

Terry Tweed

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i think mine are, in no particular order:

Chad Koeplinger, Scott Sylvia, Ed Hardy, Chris Conn, Henning Jorgensen.

what a tight list, i think i honestly would need 10 at least to feel like less of a dick for leaving some of my other favourite tattooers out there

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I'm gonna cheat, 'cos I can and I feel all rebellious and shit.

First list is the 'big picture' influence on my work and who got me interested in what.

Ed Hardy

Horiyoshi III

Scott Sylvia

Jack Rudy

Filip Leu

Second is a personal list of people who have directly affected my tattooing and the way I approach it.

Steve Byrne

Ian Flower

Valerie Vargas

Chad Koeplinger

Joint fifth between, Dante DiMassa (owner of Frith Street Tattoo) and Tim Hendricks.

Looking at these lists reinforces how fortunate I've been up to this point.

There's only one person listed who I haven't met. I think he's the one who'd make my palms sweat the most. I still get nervous and excited when I see/have met the others and they let me talk to them. I feel like a child at the table of adults.

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First I would like to say thanks for everyone sharing their lists. A lot of very influential and important people in tattooing listed. One other topic that came up while talking over the list was the moment you decided to start tattooing. What or who was the catalyst that made you make the decision to actually pursue tattooing as a career.

Ross always tells me the story of getting tattooed and having Freddy Corbin suggest to him to start tattooing. Not quite sure if Freddy was serious Ross thought to call one another friend of his Eric Maaske and see what he thought of the idea and he also thought it was a good idea. So as Ross would put it "Those two are to blame." To me it just seems like a story that wouldn't happen as much today.

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Old Dead Guys:

1. Jerry

2. Wicks

3. Jensen

4. Zeiss

5. Waters

Living incredibly versatile tattooers:

1. Bob Roberts

2. Cory Lenherr

3. Dan Gilsdorf

4. Scott Sylvia

5. Erick Lynch

Biggest influences on my life directly as friends/inspiraton:

1. Adam Paterson

2. Alex McWatt

3. Myles Karr

4. Scott White

5. Guy Ursitti

6. Chuck Daly

7. Bailey Robinson

8. Benny Haft

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Stewart, is that Horiyoshi III you haven't met?

I haven't met Ed Hardy.

I'd be more nervous about meeting him is because I first read his name when I was in my early teens. Without Hardy, I wouldn't know about Horiyoshi III or any of the other awesome tattooers who's work moved me as a teenager.

There are so many tattooers who have influenced me, it was obviously hard to whittle it down to 5. I'm still amazed that all of the tattooers I look up to have been super cool to me.

Perez, I like the idea of the list of versatile tattooers too. Mine would be:

Ian Flower

Mike Wilson

Scott Sylvia

Filip Leu

Henning Jorgensen

I think you could ask for pretty much any style of tattooing from those guys and get a fantastic tattoo.

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I did versatile tattooers because having spent pretty much my entire career thus far in a street shop, versatility is what I've come to respect and aspire to most. I mean I have tons of friends who are amazing tattooers and have very specific styles, and they very rarely work outside those styles, But they also have a very tailored clientele seeking out their work. I just don't feel that's my path. at least not yet. I love having to push myself to rise to challenges as they come to me in whatever style the client wants.

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scott sylvia

mike wilson

dave gibson (that old ITA with mike and dave in it blew me away. and of course i lost it somewhere)

jack rudy

leo zulueta

these are all dudes whos work i saw early on in my career that made me want to do tattoos.

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