What made you decide to focus more on the wildlife stuff?
“I love animals. I always have. It’s always been my aim to move towards doing animal art exclusively and I’ve been lucky that I’m now able to do that. My art training and mentoring was with Samantha Youssef, who is an ex-Disney animator. From the initial training we were working on gesture and movement — trying to capture the illusion of life on the paper. The best artist that ever lived was Mother Nature and I try to capture as much life and movement in my tattoos as possible.”
How has the COVID-19 situation affected tattooing?
“To be honest, we haven’t had to adapt as much as some other businesses have had to. Infection prevention was already number one for us and we already had extensive measures to stop blood-borne pathogens and cross-contamination. Everything we use is disposable and single use. It sucked having to close down for 4 months, but we managed and I was still making art every single day to stay sane. Selfishly, the lockdown came at a great time for me because my youngest daughter was born at the end of January, so I got to see her develop from a tiny little newborn to a full-size scream machine.”
Is the money good in your profession?
“I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. I’m lucky that I get to create art every single day and be able to fund a family of four kids. It was my partner’s dream to raise the kids at home so I’m the only one bringing in a wage and we couldn’t do that without tattooing.”
What has been your biggest influences creatively?
“I find influence in the weirdest places. I read a lot. I’m aiming to read 52 this year and I’m easily on track to hit that — I think I’m at 43 books so far. I get inspired by other people that are really into what they do. If there was some dude who’s stoked 24/7 about growing pickles, even though I’ve never shown any interest in pickles, I could listen to him talk about pickling for hours. There’s something infectious about passion.”
Favorite artists & illustrators?
“Although there are so many insanely skilled tattoo artists, I tend to look outside of the tattoo industry for inspiration. I love the old 2D animators like Milt Kahl, Frank and Ollie, Tex Avery and Bob Clampett. I’m a big fan of classic American illustrators like Norman Rockwell and more modern artists and friends of mine such as Samantha Youssef and Jason Seiler. I also like the old renaissance and Dutch Flemish painters. I try to look at everything I can, go to as many art galleries as I can and be around animals as much as possible.”
Follow: Ace Connell (Regenerates Tattoo Studio)