Interview with tattoo artist Elric Gordon

  Hello Elric Gordon! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. What type of art outside tattooing you like the most? Do you have any favourite artists that inspire you? Outside of tattooing I enjoy oil painting, drawing and anything encapsulating artistic abilities. Anything creative that I can learn from and adapt to my artistic field, is the art I like the most. There are many artists that inspire me. I draw inspiration from many sources which tend to change alongside my style of tattooing. I do not confine myself to any particular source as I prefer to collect concepts and ideas to create an overall new and authentic style.

Q: Was it hard to learn the basics? Did anyone help you?
A: In the beginning obtaining an actual tattoo apprenticeship was the biggest challenge. I knew from a very young age that I would be a tattooist and I went to extreme lengths to realise my dreams. At the start I went to every reputable tattoo studio in Melbourne to try to get an apprenticeship. Constantly, I was denied or told to consider other options. I persisted with my dream by crossing state lines and continuing to search of an apprenticeship. During this time, I drew every single day and worked as a brick layer. After almost a year of searching, I was fortunate to be taken on by small studio located in New South Wales. Learning basic skills was extremely frustrating and tedious. It took a lot of dedication and time to learn properly. When learning the basics, it often felt like two steps forward and one step back. Some days I would feel confident and the next day a new challenge would arise and I questioned my basic skills. After a considerable amount of time and an array of tattoos, I managed to cent my fundamental skills in tattooing. Early on, I was fortunate enough to have help and guidance from some of Australia’s top artists, such as: Chris Cashmore, Byron Drechsler, Jutty Stewart and Brad Barko. I am forever thankful for their guidance.

Q: Do you have one of those moments when you look at some of your old tattoos and laugh or?
A: For sure! I think every tattooist have those thoughts. You must start somewhere. Having a humble approach to tattooing affords the artist the ability to take on productive criticism, new concepts and alternative methods of tattooing. If you do not start from the bottom you will have no room to grow into a reputable artist.

Q: How long have you been tattooing as professional? ?
A: I have been tattooing for almost nine years. I think I am an incredibly determined and goal orientated tattooist. The idea of ‘pushing’ myself includes continually evolving my style which enables me the ability to create authentic pieces. I believe that furthering my skills and education in tattooing will enhance my ability to remain relevant and competitive in the industry.

Q: How would you call your style?
A: I believe that there are distinct styles in tattooing that can be labelled. However, my tattooing does not adhere to any one particular style. Instead I enjoy combining aspects of each style to create a totally different take on fundamental concepts of multiple styles.

Q: Only black and white ink… any plans to play with color inks in the feature?
A: By completing tattoos in all styles, I was able to identify that my true passion lay within black and grey. I firmly believe that every artist should attempt to tattoo in all styles so that they can appropriately select the best style that enhances their personal advantages. Although I love working with black and grey, tattooing is my passion. As long as I am tattooing, no matter the style, I am happy.

Q: Tattoo realism is very popular nowadays, artists take it even as a challenge to master it, some succeed, others don't. How long took you to gain confidence?
A: Having confidence in my work revolves around the ability to adapt, create a unique style and constantly refine my skills. I am not aiming to master realism, instead, I am aiming to continually push my tattooing to the next level. The next level can be changing the format of my stencil or even selecting different needles. For me its about utilising all the available tools to showcase my individuality in tattooing.

Q: Funniest or weirdest client you’ve had?
A: Over nine years you meet all types of people from all walks of life. Some you really enjoy tattooing, others, not so much. I have seen people pass out, vomit, cry and chain smoke to avoid being tattooed. And I have also had clients that sit well, share common interests and are a pleasure to tattoo. At the end of the day, tattooing is an experience. Clients should be comfortable, enjoy the process and the outcome. When discussing tattoo ideas with clients I always preface my business interactions in the same manner. The client can provide reference images, choose a topic and gather referral images from my portfolio that they like. I allow people the freedom to choose a theme. By allowing my artistic interpretation to be used, I can produce a more refined piece that matches their original idea. In the beginning of my tattooing career I took on anything and everything. It was about the experience which now allows me the freedom to choose my designs.

Q: Awarded artist, of course all deserved! Congratulations! Do you have any favourite award? Or simply an award that you consider as a career highlight?
A: The awards to me are a bonus. I am so grateful for every award I have received. I have never aspired towards them and am instead driven by my passion, love for the industry and the incredibly talented people in it. Receiving an award gives an artist the opportunity to see and congratulate other artists on their award-winning pieces.

Q: Any advice for the new artists?
A: The best approach to becoming a professional tattoo artist is to never give up, work hard and stay humble.