interview with Autumn & ben | fawcett tattoos | alberta 30/10/2017

Today, we're talking with Autumn and Ben, the owners of Fawcett Tattoos. Their story is amazing and a true example of how two beautiful souls can join together and create great stuff, I promise to my readers that this interview will inspire them to see the world from a different perspective.

How it all started? Who came up with the idea of opening a tattoo studio?
When we got married Ben was in a band & Autumn moved to Canada from the United States. Doing an art career was always plan B for us if the band didn’t work out because we both had tattoos, liked tattoos, loved drawing & do art together while watching movies or listening to music. We would often talked about how cool it would be to work together all day on art projects. While we were apprenticing we would spend time dreaming up grand plans of how we would run things. Then when we started to have
kids we thought about the Leu Family and Filip Leu’s story. We too could have a family business. Our dreams have gotten bigger and better since those days and our children are well on their way to learning the art of tattooing.

Q: How long are you both into this business?
A: This would be about eight years in the tattoo industry for the two of us. Interestingly, we had two pregnancies that gave Ben a serious advantage in field. Haha, We both had about four jobs with different studios here in Edmonton Alberta.

Q: Opening a professional tattoo studio is not an easy step, what were some of the challenges that you faced while opening the studio?
A: Working for other artists and non-artists in the tattoo industry was okay but we always desired full creative control over the clients and projects we took on. The biggest challenges have come from other people who thought they knew best for our career or artists who didn’t like what we were going for and sought to split us up. Opening our own business went form a “someday dream” to a necessity. Other then that learning business management skills have been a challenge but nothing a determined couple can’t overcome together! We think this career would have been so much harder alone. We are so grateful we had each other to go through the hard times.

Q: What would you call a professional tattoo studio?
A: We like a more private studio setting, not big fans of open concept studios. We think a good studio is a personal space with the client where the client in the chair is the main focus. A good studio must be clean, with a hand washing sink accessible and hard wipeable non absorbent surfaces. Sterilization is really the most important factor in a good Tattoo Studio! We like to do art as much as we can so we choose to use pre sterilized tattoo supplies, it save us time so it is worth the money. We think the tattoo space should feel professional and the operator of the studio should be well informed about blood borne pathogens and sterilization
techniques, health educators does a great job with this and we enjoy their classes often. We would say that a professional tattoo Studio works very closely with their local health board. We have a great relationship with our Alberta health services representative, Thomas Cheung who does studio checks 1-3 times a year. Health Services just want to limit contaminations and infections and they are very open to giving advice to the tattoo industry on how to limit our risks. Some people tend to forget that we are dealing with peoples blood, strangers blood, so it is very important to know what your doing as a tattoo artist but also as someone who is doing a tattoo procedure. Health care workers tend to be really excited to work with artists & we should be excited to work with them too! We would like to see the Canadian Government give out some sort of Alberta Health Certificate to hang in our studios. We like hanging our business licenses because we earned them. we earned a legit health board approved studio and we want to show that to everyone who comes in.

Q: You both work on many tattoo styles, which is great, every customer can meet their own expectations. Autumn Fawcett, do you have any favorite style? What would you say sets you apart from many tattoo artists out there?
Autumn: I personally enjoy realism and all the mash ups that come with it. I have always thought that realism artists are the BEST in the industry and if you could achieve portrait artist status then you are a pro! The style has always appealed to me to me as well. Once we met Bob Tyrell for one of his seminars we were hooked on the vibe of portrait artists. Slow, patient and cool! I remember drawing so many portraits after the seminar! Now I really enjoy doing fun things with the background like watercolor, Trash Polka, Lace, Abstract and Surrealism are so appealing to me these days. I have also been playing with the Idea of capturing emotions with the subject in black & grey with a saturated colorful background!

Ben, you're a bit different than your significant other, what are some of the styles you most enjoy working on?
Ben: I also enjoy portrait and photo Realism. I like realism with a twist as well, different lighting, dramatic lighting, bold lines with realistic shading using both black & grey and full color. I am quickly becoming a fan of many different styles and the way artists are mashing up styles to create feelings and emotions in a piece. I constantly enjoy the realistic pieces that come in but I do like to tattoo others styles to mix it up from time to time. Japanese and biotech are second favorites to do for long sessions, the clients that come with these types of tattoos tend to be good old boys.


Q: Tattoos nowadays are a lot more than just a simple tattoo design from internet, people have many creative ideas for tattoo. Do you accept some reference images?
A: Yes, we actually require clients to bring some reference or email reference photos that give us a description of the vision they have in their head. It is a good starting point for us to visualize a design. We believe it is important to have understanding of the clients vision or likes in order to have a successful tattoo career. Not everyone is going to be compromising and let the artist choose every color or part of their design unless the client identified with a concept the artist put up for sale. Having a photo for reference saves us time and stress, it puts a visual to what a person likes for art.

Q: How much the team work influence you both to grow more as tattoo artists? Do you accept each other's suggestions when it comes tattoo designs?
A: We didn't always work well as a team & struggled with criticism in the beginning. Through apprenticeship & life circumstances we both learned that we are not always right and it is better to get someone else’s opinion before you make a permanent life decision. More recently, we have both been working very well together and take each others suggestions all the time. It really helps create a more meaningful image if there is a male & female perspective on an artistic concept. We have come to
enjoy each others thoughts and opinion on art because we KNOW that it is for our edification. We now understand the importance of choosing our words more wisely when critiquing others work.

Q: You both meet lots of people every day, you hear their stories, maybe that could be helpful to learn something about life, make new friends etc. What is your favorite part of being a tattoo artist?
A: We both enjoy conversations with our clients. It can feel really weird showing an artist your bare flesh! It also can get really weird for a tattooist if a client isn’t comfortable. Most of the time we think of our clients as our friends and treat them as such. We talk to them like we would with our friends & family. Many of our friends have been through some tough situations and the circumstances in their lives less the favorable but we try to encourage them and give them a piece that has deep meaning from their Life Story to add to their collection.

Any special memories with your customers?
Our most special memory is of a client friend Tyson, who passed away. Not only was he a really cool guy but so many people loved him... enough to get a tattoo for him and even replica tattoos of his Roman Gladiator Helmet & Chrysanthemum tattooed after he passed away. It is heart wrenching as an artists to hear bad news about someone you tattooed taking their own life. Since Tyson passed away, We have made it our mission to Encourage Others & Love One Another as Ourselves. #LoveOneAnother  

Q: In your creative world, apart from tattooing, you do airbrush artworks and professional photo sessions. Very nice! Who does the airbrush artworks? They all look awesome!
Ben: I have been into airbrush for a while although Autumn chooses airbrush as a medium every now and then too. I had a hobby airbrush as a kid and have been commissioned to paint canvases, several retail stores & murals since then. There was always an interest in Automotive Airbrush and helmet painting. As a creative personality I try to airbrush paling what ever objects I can get my hands on. I am currently trying to mimic my Tattoo & Airbrushing Style.

Who is behind the lens? What kind of photography is something you most enjoy?
Autumn: I am mostly behind the lens enjoying the simplicity of capturing other art mediums we have enjoyed creating for a living. I have been commissioned to do photos for my tattoo clients but mostly enjoy photography as a hobby, I like to capture life with my 50 mm prime & macro lenses. They are the best lenses to show how I see life without my glasses on. I mostly focus on what is right in front of me and the rest of the world is in BOKAH! I was hooked when I found out a camera lenses could captured how I see the world! I fell in love with my canon camera after the proper photography techniques were introduced to me by my good photographer friend Brandy Wolfram. A little knowledge exchanged as a gift is far better then any material possession could be.

Q: Being talented in something that you must be born with, but being creative is something you develop over time. How many of these creative mediums are important for the daily inspiration?
A: The ability to use many different artistic mediums helps us to refine our attention to detail. Refining many different mediums is very difficult but we see the challenges as FUN like an adventure we get to share! We deeply enjoy putting our artwork on EVERYTHING you can find with something you like. Good art should have an emotion or a feeling for the person receiving it and if you can do this with video, photography, drawings, tattoos, paintings, whatever the medium... we say... DO IT!

Do what inspires you with who inspires you every day and you will not miss a day of your life.We believe each personality and mind has a God given and unique talent that they choose to or not to exercise like a muscle. Our heroes simply out work us!

Q: What are some of the upcoming projects that you both are working on?
A: We are planning to do many more Art Collaborations with each other and other artists in the near future. We are currently doing a Crowdfunding Campaign to Open up a Community Tattoo & Art Studio, called Kingdom Customs. This will be a place for artists to come and have a collective mind set and share ideas. Each artist will be a Business Owner and take the contracts they choose and work the schedules they choose, we will provide the space for them to do so. We believe that we should protect our industry by sharing and care for one another as a community. We believe it is important to distribute knowledge of our industry carefully. Our art center would be a learning center for artists but a community for our clients and friends. Members will have access to Art Space and different art mediums with Skilled Artisans as requested. This is not a tattoo school and far from it! Tattooing will be old school apprenticeship style with volunteer time requirements. If you are too haughty to scrub a toilet how will you be with clients later, you won’t be able to make any money and you will be no good to any Tattoo Shop Owner! Humility looks good on everyone because it helps people other then itself.

We would also like to mention that 10% of everything raised will be donated to Hope Mission Herb Jamison Center Rebuild in Edmonton Alberta Canada. This is a place where our local homeless can find refuge and they cannot operate any longer under current conditions.

Q: Any motivational words for the beginners?
A: Slow Down... Learn what you can while you are under an artist that is willing to show you THEIR Refined Talent & Skill that has taken years to craft. Be respectful of the artists that have walked this road before you and give honor where honor is due even if you don’t feel like it. Feelings can change quickly but a harsh word spoken at the wrong time can end your whole career!

Autumn and Ben, Thank you so much for this interview,
Kind Regards,
Iva Green