Exclusive interview with Jessica Weichers by iva kancheska 22/06/2009  

Q: What made you want to become a tattoo artist?
A: You know I'm not exactly sure what made me want to be a tattoo artist but I have wanted to be one since before high school. I have always been an artist and fell in love with tattoos and piercings at a young age.

Q: How long have you been tattooing?
A: I have been tattooing just over 4 years. It was years this March 09.

Q: How has your work developed over the years?
A: Well at first my work developed VERY slow do to a very poor apprenticeship and no one around me to teach me anything. I did work in shops but no one really seemed to know what they were doing and why so I would say that the first 2 years were all trial and error. After I started going to conventions and taking seminars during the 3rd year things started to improve much more quickly. This past year I moved to another state for some true guidance on my work and it has improved so much and I keep learning so much that I'm finally starting to be happy with what I do but I'm still learning more and more each day.

Q: Are there any famous artists, tattooists or not, that have influenced you down the path of your career?
A: It would have to be styles that influence me the most. I really like stylized work. Work that you can tell the artist had to draw and not copy off of some pic. Any thing with an illustrative quality always catches my eyes. Some artists that I am constantly checking on their work would be Kelly Gormley, Nick Baxter, Nate Beavers, Murial Stewart, Brian Reynolds, Evan Dowdell, Steve Moore... just to name a few.

Q: You've been graduated on Flo Valley College in St. Louis. It seems to me a lot of younger tat artists have college degrees in the fine arts. It's like this new breed of ink slingers. And the things they can do on the skin are outstanding. Do you think it is necessary for a tattoo artist to have a background in fine arts or any formal training?
A: Yes, I think it is very important to have some kind of an art background now days in the tattoo industry. There are so many talented artists out there that the competition is very high and they are also setting a new standard for what can be done.

Q: Currently you’re stationed at the most famous "Tattoo City Skin Art" studio in Chicago. Is that a good opportunity to grow up as a tattoo artist?
A: Working in the right shop can make a huge difference but if you can't tattoo then your clients will find that out in a short period of time. So a good shop and a good portfolio really can help an artist.

Q: Tattooing is an art. What is your biggest inspiration?
A: I can be inspired by anything really... I try and go to museums and gardens as much as possible. Sometimes when I am drawing a blank on an idea I'll do some brainstorming with other artists or even friends. Sometimes to best ideas are the most simple and someone just needs to mention it.

Q: What do you prefer a custom design or some flash art?
A: I do not do flash anymore. I much prefer custom. Some clients that come in with pics already and are hard to detour from that exact design... I'll at least redraw it so it's more mine. They won't get the exact design.

Q: Your style leans toward bright color traditional and floral designs. Do you remember where and when your love and fascination with that style first began?
A: I've always loved bright colors in tattoos. I would have to say the same thing for the traditional style. I've always been drawn to tattoos that have line work and traditional line work is part of what can make it or break it. The floral stuff is new within this past year. At previous shops that I have worked I never was able to do pieces of size to give the detail the attention that it needed but at Tattoo City the clients are much more interested in a good piece rather than price shopping. So I was able to talk people into larger flowers right off the bat. I had a lot of fun with the first larger floral piece and it has taken off from there. Now I try to add flowers when ever I can.


Q: Have you ever thought to change your style?
A: At the moment I'm not purposely trying to change my style but I hope that it does over the years. I don't want to be stuck doing the same thing all the time. So I hope that it does evolve into something in the future... but I do think that I will always keep the solid line work in my pieces. Not to say I don't like the fine line- no line, realistic work. A lot of that stuff is amazing. I just love line work.

Q: We all have our stories, sad, happy… Has anyone ever confided you about the significance of what he has chosen?
A: Yes, all the time. Usually if there is a story for the piece you find out about it either during the consultation or while you're giving the piece to them. I think people like to share a lot of things with their artists.

Q: To be a tattoo artists is a very responsible profession. Do you enjoy your work?
A: I LOVE my job. I will hopefully be in this business for the rest of my life.

Q: So many customers, drawings ... in your life, what keeps you creative?
A: Sometimes it's hard to always be thinking of new ideas and drawings but the clients usually come up with the main idea and then I can run with it. So their little bit of knowing of what they want is a huge help most of the time.

Q: I suppose you are traveling a lot. Do you have some favorite places to visit?
A: I LOVE Canada!!!!! I have been to the Toronto and Calgary conventions and they have some of the best artists I have ever seen. The clients up there too are well educated on what looks good and larger work. So some really fun and different things can be done. I also really like the Old School Tattoo expo in St. Louis. It's one of those shows that's smaller but has a lot of good artists working at it too.

Q: What is your advice to the new artists coming through and trying to make a name of themselves?
A: Draw, draw, draw....... and don't get into this business if you want to be a rock star. I would say don't try and make a name for yourself right off the bat. If you do, wonderful, but a lot of artists need at least a handful of years to really get a lot of the elements down to a point of understanding of what a good tattoo is. It's a very time consuming art form and if done correctly can easily consume your life... In order to succeed at anything in life a great deal of effort and time is needed to be sacrificed. Are you ready to do that or do you just want it instantly? This is not an instant type of business so if you're impatient maybe it's not for you... If you are one of the few that can take it and become amazing almost instantly.. than take it and run with it because you have a talent.

Jessica www.tattoocityskinart.com