Scott Sylvia

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Everything posted by Scott Sylvia

  1. Keet D'Arms of Southern Star Tattoo in Atlanta, GA is interviewed by Jeremy Swed and Brian Bruno for LST in a hotel room at the 2014 Richmond, VA Tattoo Convention.
  2. DJ Rose and Chris Lain are interviewed by Jeremy Swed and Brian Bruno at Abosolute Art tattoo studio in Richmond, VA, during November of 2014.
  3. book published by State of Grace My first experience with Bob Roberts was in 1989. I had just moved from Monterey, a nice quiet place, to this mega asphalt hell called southern California. I was 17 and working as a union apprentice butcher. I had been tattooed a few times by my high school friend Aaron Cain. He had told me where to find Bob Roberts, who was know to me as the guy in the "tattoo times" who tattooed all the punk rock folks, so away I went. I drove from West Covina to Hollywood, which coming from Monterey was a long haul, to see Spotlight Tattoo. I walked in the door and no one was there. "What the fuck?" I thought. "Mecca and no worshipers?" so I went about my gazing. Bob was tattooing, greeted me with a squint, and I stared and stared at everything for what seemed like an eternity. It made such an impact on me that I can remember it to this day, and I have a terrible memory. The flash, stickers, little signs... man, it was cool. Where I came from, the tattoo shop look like a trailer or something, like you could pick it up and run with it. This was probably for good reason, the owner was no good. So I'm there for maybe 1/2 an hour maybe 45 minutes and bob stands up with this sort of bull grunt, walks over and says, "Well you gonna get tattooed or what?" I could feel my self get hot and start to sweat when the words came out, "Ppbff, no man, I don't have any money." This, apparently, was the exact thing that needed to be said to receive this gift - "What the fuck you think this is, the god damn library?" He glared at me and I think he may have also gotten a little taller. I decided that my stay was over, thinking that I'd better go before this before this dude popped me in my mouth. That is what tattooing was to me, and at times, it still is. I can't possibly thank Bob Roberts enough for teaching me that I was standing in his church, and I had brought no offering. Nothing but stares of amazement at all the reapers and tribal designs, which ruled long before the Chili Peppers made them popular. So here's his book, and at first the price hurt my ass, dispite the fact that this printing was part of a limited run of 1000. Sometimes I think that book prices are being driven way up for no real reason these days. At first glance I thought this was confirmed, but then I started to get into the book. I mean not just the pictures, I started really reading it. First the forward, then the intro from Ed Hardy, which is pretty cool. Ed gives a nice time line, and there's a ton of respect praised upon Bob without too much self celebration. Then I read the Bob interview, which is really more of a manifesto, 'cause he's sort of staking his flag in the back of tattooing. As I thumb through the pages, I'm reading this awesome history of tattooing and life. There are some real moments in this book that really inspired me, like his relationship with his kids, and how much he adores charlie is incredible. Also his friendship with Horiyoshi, and how he speaks of the connection they have. I am especially grateful to hear him talk about how that we aren't shit without the customers. It's an awesome point of view and well worth the read. Bob Roberts' life is amazing, with all his ties to Ed, Greg Irons, Zeke Owens, Jack Rudy, and on and on. How could this book this go wrong? It can't. I don't want to go into every detail of the book, but it's refreshing to see a man that's been tattooing that long and is still inspired and can be honest about himself. Bob Roberts is man is full of integrity and opinions, and he shares them all without apologizing. The book is probably 7/8 photos which is good, 'cause man, his paintings are incredible. There's big sections of tattoos, then line drawings, then tattoo paintings and non tattoo paintings, some of the photos are a little pixelated but makes no difference. The only thing I find strange is that he has his current crew in the back of the book. I understand why, but it dates the book, so in three years when people have moved on they'll still be there, in the back of Bob's book. I was told that was one of his requests, so God bless this man, for never giving in to what everybody else wants him to do, and still reminding me that it's his church and I'm just standing in it, looking at pictures. You can buy it here: Horitaka's State of Grace.
  4. Scott Sylvia

    Hanky Panky's awesome new book

    ENCYCLOPEDIA FOR THE ART AND HISTORY OF TATTOOING BY HENK SCHIFFMACHER, AKA HANKY PANKY I believe my first true encounter with Henk was at the last Amsterdam convention in 96. I had met him before, but never got the full experience. I had flown to Europe with Jeff Rassier, it was my first trip there and I was stoked. We got to our hotel, threw our shit in the room and headed straight to Henk's shop. The red light district was full of dirt bag tattooers roaming about, lurking on the hookers and being amazed by all the the weed, pussy and down right foreignness of the place. When we got to the shop we found Freddy Corbin and Mike Wilson working. When Freddy introduced me to Henk, I was greeted with a great big smile and a hand shake that made me feel as if I was child shaking a grown ups hand. He was as welcoming as you could ever want. With a hundred people there to kiss his ass, Henk still had the ability to be genuinely hospitable. The trip was extraordinary, and by the end of it I think my life was different. I have never looked at tattooing the same way since. It was then that I realized that this was a sacred family, and I was welcomed to it in Amsterdam, with Henk sitting at the head of the table. There are so many stories from that week and those experiences make it all worthwhile. I was there for the unveiling of the museum, and had the good fortune of helping Henk and ten other people get the last bits of it together immediately preceding the opening. I believe that Henk has the most extensive collection of tattooing machines in existence, he even owns the Samuel O'Riley machine. In addition, he has everything from a hippo skull to tattooed skin, chopped off fingers, and mannequins in full samurai dress. I'm pretty sure he even has a dick in a jar. Hank has a library that can't be beat, hundreds of books that I had never before encountered. Hanky Panky is ostensibly the worlds best historian in the field of tattooing. He has the most extensive collection I have ever had the pleasure of investigating, and the walls of his home are stacked with more museum artifacts. I have heard that he is to open another museum soon, I hope to God that this is true. So Hanky Panky has made another book, and man, it's a doozy. This hefty family bible size book could just about change your life. With all of the information that he has, combined with a tattooer's background, he’s put out an amazing book full of everything anyone could think of to include in a book on tattooing. It's all in there, the full spectrum, from bands who are tattooed, as he does know a lot of them, to the rarest of tattooed tribes. Ritual, spiritual, and clinical forms are well covered. As for tattooers, this is where Henks sense of humor and shear lack of giving a fuck comes into play. There are so many tattooers in it that I know are historically significant, and there are some that I have never heard of before. This Encyclopedia has a wealth of flash, machines, stencils, photos of tattooed tribes, I can look at this thing for hours then come back to it and start over again. This is a must for any tattooer's book collection. Just the brief history and hilarious shit said about people is great, even syphilis gets showcased. This man has kept the spirit that is tattooing alive. If anyone had the pleasure to see his original shop or the museum you know what I mean. So I say thanks to Henk for adding this gem to the tattoo world. It seems tattoo books are never ending, whether people are putting them out about them selves or regurgitating flash into new books, but this one actually has a purpose and is separate from the rest. All hail Henk. Thanks, Scott The Tattoo Encyclopedia is available here, and can be found at Temple Tattoo in Oakland, CA this winter.
  5. Tim Hendricks is a world renowned bad ass. He lives a life most of us could only dream of having, and somehow pulls it off. From pro skateboarder, to surfer, to incredible tattooer, to TV notoriety, he has encompassed all things cool in his life. Tim and I have a good friend in common who's responsible for our introduction, Demian Cane. Demian has a body suit that I believe Tim has redone three times or something absurd like that, Tim finally had to cut him off. His tattoos are like that, they can make a collector act like a dope fiend. I respect Tim Hendricks so much because he puts all the work into the tattoo and it seems effortless. If you've ever been fortunate enough to see this dude execute a portrait, you know what I mean. Most tattooers peck at them like chickens, where Tim is hauling ass, dumbfounding speed and ability rock his tattooing. Tim Hendricks produces line drawing books for tattooers, but he's also made power supplies, tattoo machines, his own needles, his own gloves and motorcycle grips, and god damn ball point pens just for tattooing. Yeah, they write on paper, but they really show their stuff on skin. If he thinks of it, he just does it, that simple. Tim has tattooed me three times, and my wife two times, one of which is a portrait of me that is so good it weirds me out. It's strange to see yourself on someone else's body. My wife didn't tell me she was getting it done, so when I first saw it, she said that I stared at it so long, speechless, that she started to think I was angry. Truth is, that's just my face, it makes me look angry even when I'm just thinking about a sandwich. I have had the pleasure to travel across the globe with this man, and in addition to being a great person, Tim is also a great traveler. How well someone travels, in my opinion, tells a lot about a person's character. Tim has a great sense of humor and can tell a story like no other. This interview takes place at Danny Dringenburg's place, I drove down to catch him before he headed out to NY to start filming New York Ink. I am glad and grateful that he shared this time with me. I find this interview to be a lot of fun, I hope you do as well.
  6. I am not really sure when I first actually met Josh Arment, but we went on a very memorable journey right before my daughter was born. He had arranged for us to go shark diving with great white sharks off the Mexico coast at Guadeloupe Islands. There were seven or eight tattooers on a boat for five days with some really, really big sharks. One of the highlights for me was when I got to high-five a 16 foot great white shark, it was pretty awesome. Unfortunately for Josh, he shared a room with a sea sick Oliver Peck. Oliver seemed to think that puking in the garbage can in a room the size of an airplane bathroom was acceptable shipmate behavior. I got to know Josh well, and our friendship solidified on that voyage. I mean how could it not? What with the combination of sharks, food, a small boat, and little tattoos being done on sketchy and rough seas, what's not to bond over? Before moving onto the world of tattooing, I need to mention that Josh is a truly amazing person. His dedication to this profession is remarkable, and he is both humble and gracious. I have never guest spotted at his shop, but would love to, as I've heard nothing but great shit about it. And the fact that the Aloha Monkey has deep roots to the late Mike Malone, aka Rollo Banks, does nothing but add a sense of dignity to the shop's name. Josh has no problem keeping it up with his well-schooled style that lies somewhere between Malone and Roberts, as he's been heavily influenced by both. Josh has one of the most amazing bodies of tattooing I have ever seen, including a Bob Roberts back piece and an amazing Ed Hardy panther on his chest. Ridiculous. Family keeps me on the home front now, so I was not able to fly to Minnesota to do this interview, as I can't hop on a flight anytime I want. Luckily, my co-worker Cody Miller was going on a trip to Florida and then to Minnesota, so I asked him if he would interview a couple of people I thought should be up on here, and I'm grateful that he somewhat nervously agreed. I would like to thank Josh for agreeing to do this, and Cody for making it happen. Enjoy it, and make sure you check out Josh Arments work on his website, and definitely add him to your list of artists that you must be tattooed by. Thanks again, Scott
  7. Jeff Cribb is a great man. One of those men you have undying respect for. He is honest, loyal and most of all humble. My experiences with him all started and until recently have all been at tattoo conventions. There are a handful of people I am always looking forward to seeing at conventions, Jeff is one and Beppe is another. So when I get to see him it’s a great gift. The laughs are endless and the moments of serious talk are equal in magnitude. I have two kids but when I had just my boy I had an American Bulldog named Stella, which I loved though she was never that keen with kids. At the time when I got her I had no idea I would even have a relationship good enough to have kids. So a dog that didn’t do well with kids was fine....until along came Henry. She was fine til he started to crawl and then you could just see the tension in her when he would be near her. It was like she was afraid of a 20-pound kid. It slowly escalated to a point where she nipped at him then they had to be kept separate when food was around. As he got older she just didn’t get any better like I had hoped she would get used to him or something, however, I was just asking too much from her. The day came when she went nuts on him as he walked up to the crate to let her out for breakfast, same as every day. Though that day was not everyday. Jeff was the only person I trusted to call who I knew would understand that I loved my dog but loved my kid more. His reply was send her out I’ll take care of it. Kindly, he walked me through the process of shipping a dog cross-country and he still to this day has her. She has gotten old and I see pictures of her every now and then and am glad that someone could help in such a shitty predicament and gratefully it was Jeff. Jeff recently made a trip out to California to work at our shop while I was in Long Beach. I hated the fact that everyone was hanging out with him at home and I was juggling retards with pompadours. Thankfully he extended his stay a few days so I got to get in some quality time with him and that is when we did this interview. The setting for the interview was just there, the flag was still hanging from an interview with Tim Lehi for a magazine and there just happened to be a shotgun on the couch. Swear to god it was sitting there! So when the guys at the shop heard I was going to interview him Nick Rodin and his faithful sidekick Cody Miller decided they were going to side bust the interview. Lets just say they had been sipping and toking and make a great tag team for any train of thought. I think the interview turned out great, serious in the beginning and a fucking jackass festival by the end. Our shop will forever be grateful for having him work with us and we are better for knowing him for he is an inspiration of a man and a fucking great tattooer by the way. I guess I really want to celebrate the person as much as their craft. I believe they are one and should be judged and treated accordingly. Jeff comes through shining. I hope you find him as great as I do.
  8. Mike Wilson is interviewed by Jeremy Swed at the Inksmith and Rogers Atlantic blvd shop during fall of 2014, late at night.
  9. I first met Mike Rennie when he moved to Jacksonville, Florida to work at Inksmith and Rogers. We then became quick friends over late night drinks and riding in the midnight toucher. A short time later he moved back to Richmond, Virginia to start work at Absolute Art. Through Mike, I met and became friends with Brian Bruno; a tattooer at Absolute Art. These two guys are a couple of my favorite tattooers. They may have their own styles, but one thing remains the same; and that is their passion for this industry. When I am around these two watching them tattoo or listening to them discuss the history of it, it makes me excited about tattooing all over again. Hopefully this interview will give you some insight on their personalities and also how amazing their shop is. One thing is for sure, and that is, no matter how many times you come and go from their shop, you will always find something new and interesting on the walls. -Jeremy Swed
  10. Todd and i have been friends for quite a while. we have been to many conventions at the same time and spent plenty of time together. a trip to Sweden together is what it took for me to get to know him well. we spent a week at Drew Horner's place. then off to the Stockholm convention. many laughs and many hours of talking. i found a new respect for him by the end of this. to be honest before this i just thought he was another loud party tattooer. i was glad to find out what a loving father and passionate tattooer he is. i am always happy to find a great person lying in the ash of the burned out mediocre masses. Todd's drive and ability has set him apart from many tattooers. We did this interview in the back of black heart tattoo when Todd was visiting i would like to thank him for taking the time do this. i would also like to thank you for taking the time to read this and watch this interview. thanks Scott You can find Todd here: @noble1 (instagram)
  11. People throw around the terms "godfather" and "king" all too much in reference to tattooers. Don and Deb Yarian however deserve more than a grandiose title. I see them in a protective honorable roll in tattooing tied deep in tradition and history. They are not lost in overnight hype or international stardom. Instead they tattoo in a real shop and have taught all of their kids to tattoo. Keeping it a family tradition that seems to work so well for them. This is why I refer to them as the mother and father of tattooing in our times. I have had so many great interactions with them and always leave feeling better than I was in the beginning. People like this are attractive to me. It becomes infectious. Good will and good intentions go far in this world of struggle and savagery. I am so grateful for the time they gave me to do this. It was my first time interviewing a couple. I enjoyed the story so much and am glad that the world can hear it now. I'm sure it will be a better place every time it's sounds bless the air. Thank you in the most humble and grateful way to Don and Deb. I hope you find this as great as I do. -Scott
  12. I first heard the name 'Uzi' from a couple of snot nosed, drunk crust punks named Alison and Adam, who kept coming around Spotlight Tattoo and lived out of a nice craftsman home they turned into a shithole around the corner from the shop. They had these really bold, well designed tattoos, but what made them stand out was a little bit of flair, a certain sensibility to the girl heads, a touch that most tattooers doing traditional work never seem to find. I imagined some scrawny Israeli hipster kid, who thought calling himself Uzi would be clever. Then one day on the porch of said house, drinking and hanging out, I remember asking 'who's that Mexican biker dude over there? He looks pissed...' 'That's Uzi' was the reply. Years have passed, I think Alison became a Mormon, and Adam... Who know what happened to that kid. But Uzi's still with us, and in the odd case you don't know, he's kicking some serious ass in the tattoo department. Miguel has taken American tattooing in, processed it's strengths completely, internally combined it with his other visual influences (people like R. Crumb, Jim Phillips, Tex Avery), and has projectile vomited out a tidal wave of neon colored, in your face, next level All-Native-American Awesomeness. And when I say Pro-jectile, what I really mean is Pro-lific! This dude draws and paints like it's goin' out of style. If he doesn't have 100 sheets of flash under his belt by now, I'm a monkey's uncle. Along w a few other choice heads, like Aaron Coleman and Danny Reed, Uzi has truly moved the big unwieldy steer of 'Traditional Tattooing' into new pastures. This has been done the old-fashioned way, with a lot of elbow grease and a little of that most rare commodity in today's world: Creativity. He's a key player in the new movement, and is now being imitated not only by all the new snot-nosed crust punks on Instagram, but has come to rub-off on damned near all of us. And personally, I think tattooing is better for his influence. The lessons Uzi's tattooing has to teach are useful: how to turn the most wacked-out, Mad Magazine idea you can think of into a strong tattoo design that works. How do you molest people to into wearing them? Paint tons of it up to show them! Simple as that kids, yet don't be fooled! Miguel makes it look easy, but that's because he's mastered his game, not because it is. After spending a little time in Southern California at Dark Horse Tattoo and Port City Tattoo, Uzi has once again taken up residence at American Graffiti in Sacramento. Just like he and I, this interview is now a little old, but I like it and it all still rings true. Party on Brother, This Bud's for You, Miguel! Bryan Burk
  13. I first met Juan Puente in 19-something-or-other at the San Diego convention at the Bahia. The convention was righteous, I believe that it was the one Zeke Owens rode his bike cross country to attend. It was the first time Juan and I ever hung out, and we have been comrades ever since. We have worked together at two shops and have traveled the world together, including Japan, Italy, France, England, Holland, Bali, Mexico, even the cultural mecca of Long Beach. Juan and I have a brotherly bond and have been a part of each others' families. I am honored to have witnessed his daughter grow up to be an amazing young women, it is both cool and strange at the same time. We have worked at possibly a hundred conventions together, me bringing the littlest amount of crap possible and Juan carrying enough foolishness for three families to first tattoo and then film a movie afterwards. Jesus, this man does not understand the concept of traveling light. However, if you happen to need a clip cord, he probably has two extras. No joke. That's what makes Juan, well, Juan. So when I wanted to do my first interview for the site, I immediately thought of Juan, knowing how easy it would be. I always thought I could just ask people questions while we ate dinner or had coffee, but that's not how this one would go down. This one conversation? Takes place at our shared space where we build machines. As you will see I didn't have to say too much, Juan makes it easy, and interesting. I hope that you'll enjoy this dialogue and all the future ones that will be coming. We have an amazing list of people to interrogate, and it won't always be by me. I have devious plans to hoodwink all my best friends into picking other tattooer's brains for your viewing amusement. So please have fun watching Juan Puente talk about Juan Puente, trains and all. Many thanks and much respect to Juan.
  14. Interview by Jimmy P. With the ease of information now that comes from basically having a supercomputer in our pocket, it seems strange to think of a time when we were "floored" by anything visually. I can vividly remember the first few times I saw Robert Williams artwork. The impact it had on me was instant and overwhelming. I didn't exactly know what would come from being exposed to this powerful, outrageous, wonderful and over the top art, but I could tell, even at that age in my life seeing it was the beginning of something that was going to help shape my artistic and aesthetic vocabulary forever and although his art specifically didn't pave the road for 90's era tattooing and tattooers it damn sure helped clear the forest. Immaculate Tattoo's Aaron Coleman is the kind of tattooer whose art hits the viewer like a lawsuit! It's no coincidence that the "low brow" art movement of the early 90's, spearheaded by Williams, and nurtured by other artists like R.K.Sloane, Ed Roth, S Clay Wilson and XNO, along with teenage angst and punk rock was a driving force in the artistic education of Mesa Arizona's finest. Throw a little Bob Roberts,Ed Hardy and Dave Lum into the mix as Aaron's early and constant tattoo glossary and one can easily see how this beast was born. We've all heard the term "A tattooers tattooer" but he is truly that. One of the most prolific artists out there, he produces countless huge tattoos including multiple body suits, back pieces, and sleeves every year. Besides tattooing, he is constantly making piles of flash, books, posters, skateboards, shirts ,etc he DOES NOT STOP! Aaron's work ethic is serious and when you are around him you can tell he's compelled, almost possessed to draw. A fantastic artist and a great guy with a keen wit and sharp sense of who he is and what he wants his tattoos to look like. I first remember seeing Aaron's work around 1993-1994 in the Phoenix area on local folks at punk rock shows and the tattoos he was doing even then were super powerful, bold, electric, sometimes even skateboard graphic-like. Since then I'd seen his stuff everywhere, from show flyers to flash books and flash hanging in nearly EVERY shop i've ever been in. His work blew me away then and I knew I wanted to get tattooed by him. Years later I did, and it was the beginning of a great friendship. Anyone who meets Aaron loves him and if you know him or his body of work you probably feel, as I do, that the world needed an interview with this art-mutant. So, needless to say I was honored to sit down and have a conversation with a guy that puts out more work in one month than most of us do in a year and makes it look so easy while doing it. Thanx for EVERYTHING Aaron, I hope you dig it! Keep amazing us. Jimmy P
  15. Me and Jeremy have been friends for a while, and I was fortunate enough to get the chance to do this interview while he was doing a guest spot at our shop. Jeremy is a very talented tattooer - he is from an era of tattooing when you didn't specialize, which makes him incredibly well rounded. He has the ability to do amazing black and grey and then do a perfect traditional tattoo, all the while being able to handle all the modern requirements of contemporary tattooing. You shouldn't miss out on this man. If you have the opportunity to get tattooed by Jeremy, you should definitly jump on it. Thanks so much to Jeremy for doing this interview, and my apologies for this taking so long to be put up! I hope you all enjoy this and I'm sure his character will come across as well. -Scott
  16. I met Nick Colella in Salt Lake City at a convention. He is childhood friends with Maya, who was our shop helper at that time. Meeting him was like meeting an old friend. We have spent time in each others towns, we have traveled to Sweden together, his wife even wrecked my car (gotta rub it in when I can.) Nick's tattooing style is traditional, dynamic, solid and distinct. I appreciate that he does not show boat in his work, it gets straight to the point. He works at Chicago tattoo, which was Cliff Ravens shop, and those are some big shoes to fill. The crew there is top notch, you can't go wrong with any of them. From a good friend, to a good tattooer, to a good gent, and most importantly a great dad, he is just about the most well rounded tattooer I have ever met. I look up to him in many ways, and I'm glad to have made his acquaintance. I feel as though our association could possibly have helped me become a better person, as I respect both his personal take on tattooing and life in general. This interview is great, even with my now patented train sound, as it takes place at my machine shop/warehouse space near the train tracks. Scott Sylvia
  17. You know how when you were a kid there was always that guy a few years older who was just beginning to grow a mustache and had the sweetest feathered hair? He always had a cute girl hanging around, and had the ten speed with the handle bars flipped up? Remember how he could ride wheelies forever on that thing, up and down the block, never missing a beat, looking so cool with his feathered hair blowing in the wind? Remember how you just hoped when you were older that you could maybe be half as cool as that guy? That's how I have always felt about Freddy Corbin. I just celebrated 21 years in tattooing, and I have known Freddy for about 19 of them. I met him early on in tattooing, and have looked up to and respected him ever since. Freddy was an untouchable persona at an early age. Being a few years older than I was, and tattooing a few years ahead of me, he was the bridge in the gap between the older generation of tattooers and the younger ones like me and my fellow upstarts. Freddy was working at Tattoo City when I got to know him, and he was part of that unstoppable force. The shop consisted of Freddy, Eddy Deutche, Dan Higgs, Igor Mortis, and of course Ed Hardy. Those were the days that changed tattooing forever. You can't do much in modern tattooing that cant be traced, directly or indirectly, to this team. Freddy started doing these amazingly dynamic religious tattoos that he is so known for today, and I also loved his new take on tribal. Eddy Deutche pioneered the American-styled Japanese and was a front runner in the biomechanic style which now covers the bodies of so many great tattooers. I don't think what Dan Higgs needs to be discussed, although we have a great thread on him here on LST, and the same goes for Ed Hardy. I had the pleasure of working for Fred for four years. He treated me with the love and respect that is not easily found in this world, let alone in this job, where everyone is trying to run each other over for notoriety and fame. Freddy just came to work, laughed, smiled, and did the job right, while treating everyone righteously at the same time. I have learned so much from this man in so many ways, but the most important thing that I learned from him is that a friend is hard to find and should never be taken for granted, and most of all, that I'm livin' the dream. I really am, what would my life be without this? Every once in a while I remember to let out a scream of thanks to the universe for putting me right where I am,exactly where I belong, because anywhere else would not be home. And thank you Freddy for being that truly spectacular person that you are. Anyone who has ever met you, or had the honor of being your friend, knows what a gift you are to this profession. We did this interview in his back yard, and his son, Sonny, was kind enough to join us. It's pretty cool to see this bit of him and his life. I think it's a great interview, I hope that maybe you'll get to take away some great stuff from the heart of it. Thanks again to Freddy, and Sonny too, for letting me upset their routine, and thank you, fellow LST'ers, for having a look-see.
  18. Bryan Burk is not your average tattooer by any stretch of the word. He has been blessed by having one of tattooing greats as a teacher. Bryan has a very impressive and relaxed style. His sense of layout is unmatched, I truly love and respect his sort of Japanese/American style. Not to mention his great fashion sense, the man has his own hatter, custom hand made for his head only. I have thought for a long time that Bryan Burk was the greatest kept secret in tattooing in LA, a town full of not very talented people clambering for both fame and famous friends. None of this has ever struck me about Bryan, he takes the job very serious and has a deep respect for the roots and responsibility of it. The secret is now out, he's got quite a faithful following of local and international collectors. The first time I met him, I was working at Spotlight and he was quietly working in the side room. I still remember the tattoo he was doing, it was an amazing raven. I thought to myself, "how long has this dick been tattooing? He just did a better raven then I ever have." I still remember it to this day, and I don't remember much. We next traveled a bit together because of our mutual friend, Juan Puente. This is when I got to know him a bit, traveling from Amsterdam to Paris, and then on to London. Two weeks of hanging out with Bryan every day lead to the discovery that he was more than just another idiot with a tattoo machine. His knowledge of Japanese tattooing and art was impressive, I personally consider myself seriously lacking in this department. Bryan later asked me to do his back, which I was, and still am, flattered to have done it. In the process of his finishing his back, he scored me some of the best reference books in my library. My book shelves are now way cooler thanks to knowing him. (It seems I have more books on cars and motorcycles that tattooing.) In this interview, you kinda get a glimpse at his strange old man type of relaxed character that I find hilarious. If you are planning on being in LA, arrange your trip around an appointment with this man and you will not regret it. Bryan's shop, Dark Horse, is at 4630 Hollywood Blvd., call them at 323-401-9950. I hope you all enjoy the interview, it took place in the back of our shop, Blackheart, quite a while ago. Due to some technical difficulty it was delayed until now, but Bryan Burk was actually one of the first tattooers I set out to interview right from the gate. Sincere thanks to all of you for reading this, and many thanks to Bryan for doing this and being a part of LST. And a special thanks to you, Bryan, for all the amazing drawings of me you have done.
  19. Dan Dringenberg hails from an era of tattooing that was scary, violent and otherwise hostile. I started tattooing in this period, cutting my teeth with a big biker guy named Miller. I'm sure that many people will understand when I say that Dan has changed tattooing in many ways, but most notably with his black back pack. It maybe true that every corner of this business is currently saturated with suppliers ripping each other off, but it wasn't like that back then. Dan was one of the first people to produce a high quality tube. Up until that point, you either used super small Spaulding tubes or crappy brass National ones that turned strange colors in the autoclave. That's where Dan's genius began. He produced a remake of the tattoo Sven tube which is now known as the "open top shader." Philip Leu had been traveling around the world tattooing with these, but they were just legend to us, until along comes Danny. In his great wisdom, he figured out the jig work needed to make these things. Now I have seen these things, and they are really complex pieces, multiple actions happening at once. But cut, polish, press, and blamo! There goes Danny, out on the track pimping his wares out of a black back pack. I still have the first tubes i got from him to this day. They've been beaten useless, but i still have them. Dan has since been through the gauntlet of ups and downs and has come out on top. His machine shop has become a corner stone of innovation, and the quality of the machines coming out of that shop matches Danny's integrity. All of my first parts were from Dringenburg and Company, he is the only reason I was ever able to start making machines in a production form as opposed to one-offs. I did this interview at the same time as Kore and Tim's interviews, just real late at night when everyone had split except two of Dan's friends who sat next to me while we talked. I'd like to thank Dan for not only allowing me to use his place and disrupt the day to day affair of his shop to do these interviews, but also for all of his help and involvement with my own machine business. I hope you enjoy this wild ride with Danny, I know I sure did.
  20. Nick and I are good friends so I asked him to interview Katie for me. Katie and Nick are friends so he visits her shop to guest spot and vice versa often so he headed out to her place to do this interview. I like how relaxed and forthcoming she is, extra bonuses are Nick’s smart-ass comments. Katie and I had met a few times here and there but never really had any quality time until this past June. I knew she had to be cool due to the people she hangs out with who speak highly of her and I think highly of them. Then we got to hangout and have some quality conversation when she was in town before Long Beach and sure enough she is an impressive asset to tattooing. She is a very charismatic person and has a great perspective on the process of tattooing. I think she probably does some of the best lettering in the biz! Not to sell the rest of her tattooing short because she is a well rounded tattooer with competent skills in the profession. Being a tattooer who always wished I did better lettering and have constantly worked on it and has never been great, ok, but not great. To see her lettering will humble you. I watched her lay out maybe 10 pieces with ease and skill, which is rad to see. Some people will know what I’m talking about, I sit next to Tim Lehi every day and watch him draw a Japanese back piece with out even breaking sweat and it is so natural. It makes you feel good to watch someone do what they are selected to do in ones life. Chris Conn and the girls he draws is same thing, natural gift. So here is the interview that I hope you enjoy and want to give a big thanks to Nick for doing the interview and most of all thanks to Katie for being a part of this site. Interview by Nick Colella at Mt. Idy Tattoo in Montrose, Iowa.
  21. There are many people in this business that have no business being in it. Beppe on the other hand is the kind of tattooer that makes people want to become one. Not only is he extremely talented and very kind but he has a very welcoming personality. He owns a shop in Verona, Italy called Ink Addiction and is located in the most fantastic place.. Verona being the home of Romeo and Juliet it has an incredible charm. The shop is like no other tattoo shop in style and quality. Beppe and I have become great friends over the years. I have been to Verona and Love the place. If there is ever an opportunity to be in Italy, I would suggest with great zeal to not miss out and get tattooed at Ink Addiction. Everything from the town to the food to tattoo shop is a pleasure and full of memories. This interview was done at the Stockholm Ink Bash in Sweden at the end of August last year. I hope this will inspire a trip to Europe or at least to your local tattoo convention that will be hosting Beppe. I would like to thank Beppe for sitting down with me and doing this interview. It was great pleasure and a great honor. Thank you.
  22. Stewart Robson has done what every tattooer wishes he could, he has made him self irreplaceable. He works at Frith Street Tattoo in London England. He tattoos in multiple styles and has an amazing grasp on all of them from Japanese to traditional and even black and grey. Plus he's an incredibly nice person. You can tell by looking at his tattoos, the volume that he produces, and the quality that they are, how devoted he is to the end result. His Japanese work has amazing form, flow and skill. The traditional tattoos are powerful and right on target. Black and grey is what threw me the most as doing proper black and grey takes a completely different approach than any other style of tattooing and he does it flawlessly. So smooth, they are instantly timeless. The humility and approachability of his personality shines in this video! If you are familiar with this site then you probably know about his opinions and views on tattoos and the tattoo industry. I personally hope someday to get tattooed by him. So please enjoy the video and thanks to Stewart for sitting down with us as our site is a better place for it!
  23. Interview by Ryan Spangler. Growing up in Omaha, I heard Dick Warsocki's name often when the conversation turned to tattooing. I kinda knew Dick as this guy that worked at Tattooland and came back to town. Growing up, I remember seeing Dick's script on customers, and it blew me away. As circumstance would have it, I never met Dick until a few years ago. It was through the help of my good friend Chad Elsasser that I got to hang out with Dick and interview him with Chad. Dick is an honest guy, that loves tattooing and art in general. He's full of great stories about his life and tattooing, and I figured people would enjoy them. Dick was kind enough to welcome Chad and myself into his home to spend the morning hanging out and interviewing him. Dick's insights and kind demeanor make me proud to be a tattooer. Sincerely, -Ryan Spangler
  24. One can't say enough good things about this women. She is humble, smart, incredibly talented and a really nice person to be around. I don't think she needs help getting notoriety as she is one of the most in-demand tattooers you may never have heard of although I find that hard to believe. We did this interview after the State of Grace convention last October. I had the pleasure of spending a little time with her and Stewart when we sat down to do this. We did it at the shop after work one night while they were in San Francisco. I knew nothing about her career before this, so it was a nice learning experience for me. I want to start making these intro's shorter as I feel no one is here to read my opinion nor do I feel it's of matter. What I do believe the important thing is that exceptional tattooing prevails over mediocre - always. Valerie is just that, exceptional and great! She does so with amazing grace and integrity. I would like to thank her for doing this and having what some lack and we all need the most: gratitude.
  25. When I was asked to interview Scott, it didn’t occur to me that I would have to write an introduction as well. I had heard of Scott Sylvia from very early on in my career. I was really green at the time and coming from Chicago, the SF tattoo scene seemed light years away. I watched for his tattoos and flash in magazines and read articles on the shops he was apart of. We met in 2007 in Salt Lake City through our mutual friend Maya. We did some arm wrestling, shared a few meals and really had a blast that weekend. Later that year I was asked to fill in at Blackheart for a few days and Scott and I have been close ever since. To me, Scott Sylvia is a tattooers tattooer. He's helped define and shape a generation that is now taking on a senior role in tattooing. He builds great machines and has a work ethic that’s hard to match. I’ve always respected his work, but I feel a great bond with him because of who he is. Being around Scott helps make you a better person. He's as real as they come. He's lived a lot in his life, has seen many things, still struggles with things and through it all keeps trying to be good. In a business where it's a lot easier to be a jag off, Scott Sylvia is a stand up man. He's an amazing father and husband, both of which dominate his life. His insights on even the smallest things have helped me immensely in my career, my marriage and my business. He is one of those guys that people seek out just to be around. The guy at conventions who everybody makes sure to say hi to. So here it is the Scott Sylvia interview. I think I was just as nervous as Scott was. We decided to do it in a place where he felt the most comfortable; at his work space. I was very honored to interview Scott. He is a man that I respect and look up to. I'm sure you'll enjoy this as much as I did. -Nick Colella