Exclusive Interview with Brandon Bond

   Hello Mr.Brandon Bond - The One & ONLY - The Legend! It's a great pleasure and honor to do this interview. Thank you so much. The world knows you as a tattoo artist, professional and always hardworking, but we also love your funny side! You can be seen with mega famous artists like Paul Booth, but also with youngsters at conventions and seminars willing to share your knowledge. You're a person who literally lives for what you do best - tattooing!

Since the early 2000s I remember watching YouTube videos, MySpace... I was like this man is sooo talented, the style, the level... You changed tattooing forever! So we started seeing more unique tattoos, weird and complex designs but also technically way better than anything else prior. The other artists just tried to follow or copy ha! Rip to those tribal tattoos and cross with rose tats! No one wants that stuff anymore - Thank You! When I say Legend, I mean it!

I'll not bother you with basic questions about tattooing, like how do you set up your machine or do you do cover ups... haha! We want to know more about you as a person and as an artist. As I said, you are know as a really hard working artist. Recently, you've been through some challenges like spinal and nerve problems and diagnosis of Radial Nerve Palsy. How are you?

Q: How has this affected your mental health?
A: It was probably a good thing because it slowed me down. I'm working like a “Lunatic.” Working 12 to 15 hours, five to six days a week. But with this diagnose, in my non tattooing hand I still find it difficult to stretch the skin and wipe down that area with that hand. But the biggest challenge is remembering that I'm not 25 anymore. I'm almost in my 50's and tattooing has taken its toll. So, running a mile a minute and conquering my ambitious schedule required me to find ways to work smarter rather than harder. Especially after I had the procedure of numbing the nerves and then burning the nerves off but eventually the nerves replenish themselves. The only catch is, you don’t know how long it will last. It relieved the pain, but hasn’t cured me. It can come back in a year or five years. “You never know”. It's probably good for my mental health because I will slow down.

Q: What was the one thing you had to do to evolve with the industry as time went by?
A: One of the tasks I've learned while I was dealing with my health issues was, I learned to use the rotary machine. I had to plan my learning time into my already busy schedule. The new rotary machines are a new vamped technology that took the industry by storm and it was an inevitable thing I had to figure out. I had my assistant with me, I was learning how to use it and at first I hated it because I'm so used to using a coil machine. All this new technology was nonesense to me, but as an artist I knew I had to keep up with the times.

Q: What method do you prefer now?
A: By far the rotary machine. I definitely had to humble myself to learn how to use the new machines. Even though I absolutely hated it, I knew I had no choice. Once I learned, I loved it along with the quality of work I was getting from it. But if I have to line a full Japanese style sleeve, I might still pull out a coil machine. However, I haven't used a coil machine in almost two years.

 Q: How do you feel about the modern day artists?
A: I'm fascinated by how progressive they are. Especially international artists that have conquered the skill in such a short time. What took others in the past is now taking the artists less than a quarter of that time to learn and be at the almost 30 years of their talents. They are doing a great job. As they should. Every new generation should be better than the last.

Q: Artists you admire?
A: A.D. Pancho, from the Netherlands as well as Waler Montero, who is in Germany but he is from Argentina. They are by far better than me. But that is the way it’s supposed to be for the new generation. Some artists I collaborated with have been tattooing for less than five years, and you can’t really tell the difference between me and them, even though they have almost 30 years’ difference in the amount of time they have been tattooing. This is fascinating.

Q: When was the last time you did a tattoo convention? Will you participate again?
A: I did hundreds and hundreds conventions on four continents teaching people how to tattoo better with my tattoo seminars. I also won thousands of trophies. I retired from it after just flat out doing too many. I've done a few in Atlanta since 2012. I have my team at the conventions, but I usually go to hang out, so I can catch up with friends. Since the pandemic, I haven't gone to any but I plan on doing one more tour when I will be ready to “hang it up.” As I look back, I remember, tattoo conventions were very different when I started. Back in the day, you had to be invited. There were only a small number of booths (about 30) and you had to send the owner of the convention an article about yourself and wait to be invited. Now there are 100 booths. Having only the top 30 artists in the country ensured you were always going to get an exceptional tattoo. Now, you never know what you will get because the qualifications to purchase a booth have loosened.

Q: How do you feel about some artists calling themselves award-winning artists when they have attended smaller conventions that don’t have the elite artists attending the shows, so there is less competition but they become award-winning artists? The same question regarding your thoughts on Tattoo TV celebrities and “influencer” tattoo artists getting the same status as a reputable artist?
A: The distinction is monumental. There needs to be a way to label artists if they are a legend like Paul Booth, who is a giant amongst men or pioneers. Separating influencers and celebrity TV artists and identifying reputable artists from award-winning artists from established conventions is critical. Customers have to do their due diligence to ensure they are getting an exceptional artist based on the quality of their work. It’s necessary for the industry to come up with a way to articulate that, so that the public has a better understanding of who is who.

Q: What's the best way for the potential artists to enter the industry?
A: Most of the time people come in with a machine that they brought online or one of their parents gave to them because they thought their kid was a good artist or a half-ass good artist. I suggest to leave the machine in the shop for at least a year. When I apprentice a person, I explain to them that there is more to tattooing than using the machine itself. You must learn the ins and outs of the industry because this is a career and a your life will change. My opinion about the tattoo schools pretty much align with most reputable artists in the industry. They aren’t qualified enough to teach tattooing, especially to give people the idea that the trade can be done in two weeks. It’s unrealistic to think you can learn a trade in that amount of time. They should also check out some seminars and streaming videos in addition to an apprenticeship. There aren’t any reputable artists attached to any of these tattoo schools. Yet.

Q: What other mediums of art have you been dabbling with?
A: I minored in sculpting and photography. There have been thousands of paintings that have come out of my shop in the past 20 years, but my main focus was always tattooing. Before I retire, I want to do the perfect piece. I feel it hasn’t happened yet.

Oh come on? I think you are very self critical.
Well, if you think you are good enough you aren’t learning. You have to think that you can learn more as you go. I'm always trying to improve. I want to go out “leveled up,” instead of an artist that has just plateaued and hasn’t reached his highest level. I'm fully dedicated to this craft. So much so I'm always the first one in the studio and the last one out. Even on my days off I find myself working on the art for the upcoming appointments.

For a long time Brandon was running the shop and 12 artists and his artwork, but felt like his artwork wasn’t reaching its potential. Now he has decreased his shop by having fewer artists and started focusing more on his artwork. Now that there are no cameras or videos and artists flying in and out of the shop, he feels his artwork has improved and all the hard work has been showing in his work. He is really glad he down-sized.

Q: How do you feel about digital art and AI?
A: It's fascinating how using that tool to perfect your tattoos brings another element into the work. I'm using the iPad to switch the direction of a face, or to use a certain light source and angle. It helps me to perfect my reference work. About the AI, I feel like there is always some dark vibe. I gotta work hard in directing the AI not to put such a morbid spin on it. But either way the work you can do digitally and with AI is amazing.

Q: You are a father of a ten year old son, is he following your footsteps?
A: My son Remington Cain Bond gained his parents’ talents in art but he is also great at math. The numbers he works with in his head are fascinating and amazing to watch. I was never good at math. It wasn’t my thing. I would never say no to my son getting into tattooing, but I wouldn't encourage it, because the tattoo industry isn’t heading in a good direction, and it's really hard way to make a living these days. Besides, his math and science skills can lead him in another direction.

Q: Hollywood have James Bond, the Tattoo Industry have Brandon Bond. That badass, succsessful, legendary men - oh and that gorgeous Bond Girl... Ultra Bond Vibe! I'm so happy for you two. 
A: Brynn and I have been trying to get married for four years. Due to the pandemic the wedding wasn't possible along with my mother’s illness. Finally they pulled up to my mom’s house and at the beach we vowed our undying love last year. It was really important for me to have my mother at the ceremony. Brynn is part of the All or Nothing team. She helps run the shop and is on top of everything so much that I wish I could have ten of her. She is hard working and helps to ensure the shop runs smoothly. She has no tattoos. Brynn actually does tattoo removal. She is a part of the medical side of tattooing.

 

Mr.Brandon Bond, Legend,
THANK YOU for this interview,
Believe me, there are many more questions,
but it's ok for now, hey, till next time.

Greetings to all the lovely people at All Or Nothing,
your family & your beautiful Brynn.
Kind Regards, The Team

Bandon Bond | All Or Nothing Tattoo
Instargram/brandbond11
TikTok:@aontattoo
www.allornothingtattoo.com