guitguy

Bill Baker interview from Swallows and Daggers

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I found this pretty fascinating. I have been very curious about Bill's story and haven't really come up with much info in my research other than his being a tattooer of 30 years and some people singing his praises. He has no portfolio to speak of (for reasons mentioned in this interview). It seems pretty rare to have someone still in the game after 30 years. It's largely for that reason I have wanted to get tattooed by him and if this interview gets around, that may become harder than it already is, but I share this anyway ;) I have been tattooed at The Pearl Harbor Gift Shop by Tim Pausinger and I can say that the shop and crew is nothing short of awesome. Enjoy....

Swallows&Daggers | Interviews | Bill Baker Interview (Part 1)

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I remember meeting Scott Duncan who was tattooing in NYC at the time,and he had a sleeve from Bill.He told me Bill used a toothpick to draw it on.I forget the actual design,but was impressed to hear how he went about doing it.Last year I met another guy in the city who had two b&g Japanese sleeves from Bill,and they were beautiful.Hopefully I will get to meet him someday,and get a little piece from him.

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh thank you so much for posting this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean seriously, thank you!!! I got my hands on every copy of Machinegun Magazine not long ago, and I am OBSESSED with this man's life work. He is a truly remarkable individual, and I would genuinely say that I owe him a huge debt of gratitude. I'm gonna read the rest of this when I get home and contribute a little more to this discussion than fangirl-ism, haha. But yeah, cheers!

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@ cltattooing.....That's awesome man! Glad to be of service. That you appreciate so much makes me happy.

I am proud to have this man in my backyard, so to speak. I have only known of him for the past year after researching Toronto shops that specialize in traditional styles. Trying to find anything about him online has been a mostly fruitless challenge. But, wow, how cool is the interview!?!

It has made me more curious and ups the need for me to get some of his work lol. My reasons for that are not because of the legend but more to have work done by someone with so much experience. It seems that tatooers with that much experience and understanding are so very rare.

I have my pick of 20somethings in my area to get work, as I'm sure everyone does. While some is quite good, the overwhelming majority of the work I see is less than inspiring. Tim Pausinger, imho, was an exception to that rule and eventually led me to Pearl Harbor Gift Shop. But, to find someone with that many years in the game is pretty special. Anyway, I hope my next piece can be done by Bill Baker. I'm gonna get to work on that ;)

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....I just wanted to add, as a tattoo enthusiast that has a deep respect for, if not extensive knowledge of, what could be called 'old school' tattoo history, I really appreciate how this man came up, much like so many now famous artists. And, the interview illustrates the kind of heart the man has. There is something magical about artists (and musicians, a category I fall into) that have experience and heart and can really get inside a piece. I'm starting to wax poetic. Nuff said lol

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“So, before I left, I had said to people, I really wanna become a better tattooer technically and mechanically. I really want to understand what the fuck I’m doing. Cause I felt bad. The same way I felt like I was a jerk cause I never even had my grade 10, I felt like I’m a jerk cause I’m making a lot of money and people think I’m doing real good, and I am just flailing away. I got no fucking idea what I’m doing, you know? And I thought I really owed it to everything that came before me and I owed it to myself to try and master the craft, and that was part of it for me. For most people, there were other reasons. They were doing their best, or whatever. But for me, it wasn’t enough to be successful and have money – that stuff didn’t matter to me. I didn’t understand why certain needles were doing certain things. I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it.”

This pretty much is the reason why I look up to Bill. Pursuing the craft of tattooing in its entirety is what I signed up for and I just really admire his drive to understand every aspect of the craft simply as a trade. It's a very honest and humble approach, and I think you can really tell when people do what they do because it just makes their soul happy. This rules.

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I appreciate the story Joe Shit. Thanks!

I remember meeting Scott Duncan who was tattooing in NYC at the time,and he had a sleeve from Bill.He told me Bill used a toothpick to draw it on.I forget the actual design,but was impressed to hear how he went about doing it.Last year I met another guy in the city who had two b&g Japanese sleeves from Bill,and they were beautiful.Hopefully I will get to meet him someday,and get a little piece from him.

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Yeah. What you said he said lol

!

“So, before I left, I had said to people, I really wanna become a better tattooer technically and mechanically. I really want to understand what the fuck I’m doing. Cause I felt bad. The same way I felt like I was a jerk cause I never even had my grade 10, I felt like I’m a jerk cause I’m making a lot of money and people think I’m doing real good, and I am just flailing away. I got no fucking idea what I’m doing, you know? And I thought I really owed it to everything that came before me and I owed it to myself to try and master the craft, and that was part of it for me. For most people, there were other reasons. They were doing their best, or whatever. But for me, it wasn’t enough to be successful and have money – that stuff didn’t matter to me. I didn’t understand why certain needles were doing certain things. I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it.”

This pretty much is the reason why I look up to Bill. Pursuing the craft of tattooing in its entirety is what I signed up for and I just really admire his drive to understand every aspect of the craft simply as a trade. It's a very honest and humble approach, and I think you can really tell when people do what they do because it just makes their soul happy. This rules.

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i really enjoyed this interview too. i knew that bill baker had left eikon a while ago and could see they were adding products just to make money. the metered power supply is probably one of the greatest things that has happened to tattooing and it's a shame that buying one supports the people who forced him out.

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