tattoo interview with Carl Grace by Iva Kancheska 27/07/2009
Q: When did you start tattooing?
A: I've been drawing my whole life, from cartooning classes at the age of 12 to college courses at 20. At the age of 18 I got into a little trouble which wound me behind bars for a few years. As always I kept on my drawings. One day I was approached if I knew how to tattoo. My answer was no. He then continued to ask me if I would attempt something on him and so I did. With no knowledge of tattooing and using a homemade tattoo gun you can imagine how the tattoo came out. Once I was released I took on an apprenticeship with a small shop called Skin Graphics in Arcadia. Though I didn't learn much with art or techniques pertaining to tattooing, I did learn how to solder needles day after day and the correct way to set up and break down a station.
Q: Which designs are your biggest challenge to tattoo?
A: I feel my biggest challenge with tattooing is color. I'm still learning the color system and how certain colors compliment others, warms and cools, value and all that goes with it. I feel more comfortable doing a realistic black and gray portrait than a color flower.
Q: What is your biggest inspiration?
A: That depends on what designs you're talking about. My freehand dark and demented comes straight from the head. Half the time I clear my mind until the client is right in front of me and I'm gloved up with a sharpie. I ask him/her a couple of random questions and from there I just go with whatever comes to mind.
Q: Your color work is awesome, do
you prefer color ink?
A: I'm going to assume you're talking about my realistic portrait tattoos. Many of them are simply black and gray with hints of reds or blues. I add these to give the piece a more dimensional affect. I've personally found the more deep shadows and light shading causes a deeper looking piece.
Q: Seems like you prefer custom tattoos, do you have full creative freedom while working on someone's sketch?
A: Always. I'm pretty known for my freehand macabre. In fact usually the only question I ask that's going to make any decision on the piece is what exactly do you not want (horns, blood, etc). The rest of it is left up to me which pushes me even harder based on these people giving me full reign to just do whatever I want and they have to live with it for-ever.
Q: What is your best advice when it comes to cover ups?
A: Black, blue, green, and purple. These colors will cover up almost everything. The green, blue, and purple are cool colors which seem to cover up exceptionally well while not looking patchy. If the tattoo looks like a disaster and you don't know what it, don't attempt it. You'll just make it harder for the next artist to cover up. Know your limits and you won't let people down.
Q: Tattooing is a very responsible work. What are the morals of tattooing for one tattoo artist?
A: I feel the morals are set highly. Here in Tucson Arizona there are 50 tattoo shops within a 15 mile vicinity. I'm no big name, I by far do not have a big head in the industry. I do however know I can push off beautiful pieces. I still love the art. While most artists are excited about the amount of money they make and all that, I still find the excitement in doing a bad ass piece way more thrilling than landing a thousand dollar pay check.
Q: Are there any harsh law regulations about the tattoo
shops in your country?
A: You have to be 18. I don't feel there are too many laws in the United about tattooing. There are however guidelines set at the shop that we live by as far as sanitary and certain expectations.
Q: What sets you apart from other tattoo artists?
A: My love for the art. This isn't a simple job where I'm putting in 40 hours for a paycheck. This is what I love, if I'm not a tattooing, I'm drawing. I always do my best, I never shortcut my pieces. And I believe that my work reflects my attitude towards it.
Q: What are your feature plans?