tattoo | interview with Glen Decker by iva kancheska 02/04/2014
Hello Mr.Glen Decker! Thanks
so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our
In the very beginning, please start by telling us something about yourself.
Q: How did you end up working as a tattoo artist? What inspired you to get into this business? How long have you been tattooing? Btw. When was the "big" moment when you set your mind and finally get started as a professional artist?
A: I can't really pin down where I got my start. I was first introduced to the world of tattoos at the age of 15 when my cousin showed me how to do Sewing needle tattoos with indian ink he acquired in Juvenile detention. My friend & I then tried making a machine. That did not work too well. At 16 a family member had come home from being away for many years. He was covered in a full body suit of tattoos. This planted the seed but it wasn't till the age of 22 when I got serious again about art by starting to draw again. At 25 my brother helped me out with some gear and a place to tattoo. By 26 I had a machine in my hand tattooing out of a trailor park. I have been doing professional tattoos for about 5 years.
Q: Do you have any influences, people you simply admire and follow their steps?
A: Yes I have so many friends in the industry now that keep me on the right path. Sometimes I have to make a trip to the Sacred Temple to clear my head and hang out with Jamie Mackay. An artist I look up to not only as an artist but on how to live right as a person. So many of my friends who are just living the lifestyle everyday. Saga Anderson who has taught me to focus on balancing tattooing with other forms of art that I do. Or Chiwon An & Will Woods who are always amazing me with there work ethic. Just to name a few.
Q: Tattooing is very creative work. How do
you usually get inspired? Do you use other art mediums such as
painting, photography etc to get some ideas?
A: Painting is mostly what I do to get inspired. I am a realism artist so photography comes into play. However it is more of a tool than a source of inspiration.
Q: Seems like you're very inspired by the human nature, since almost all of your tattoo designs feature some face-expression combined with a bit of surreal note. Would you say that realistic tattoos are something you most enjoy to work on?
A: Yes very much. I have also tattooed in American & Japanese traditional styles but realism is something I have been painting since I was a child. This makes it my genre of choice in tattooing. I now do realism exclusively.
Q: Do you remember when the fascination for this style first began?
A: Yes my fascination with this style started very young. In my primary school days my friends & I would compete all the time on who could draw the best realism. This set the foundation for what I do today. I began private painting lessons for a while at the age of 10. This also helped very early on with sparking my interest.
Q: Do you have any preferences when it
comes to choosing the tattoo inks?
A: Yes. Right now I am using a combination of FUSION, ETERNAL & a couple of select INTENZE inks. I have been using Fusion for years now. RON MEYERS is by far my favorite for Black & Grey though.
Q: Can you tell me about the making process? How do you usually develop your basic ideas to the final one?
A: Even though I am appointment only I treat everything like a walk in. I design everything at the day of the tattoo. Unless it is a larger tattoo like a sleeve or back piece. I then try to have a concept either in a drawing or using photoshop with a series of photos to give the client an idea of what I have planned.
Q: Custom made designs are something that sets you apart from many tattoo artists out there. Even when it comes to portrait tattoos. Do you use your imagination to create some unique details, representing the personality of the person and create a whole image? How that process usually goes? Do you talk with your clients first, do you ask them about their hobbies/loves or it's all about intuition? hah!
A: I use my imagination quite a bit. Since I rarely plan things ahead I work on the fly very much with my colors & how I put it together. Photoshop is a very helpful tool as well. I use it every day.
Q: So far, do you have any "dream" piece that it's still undone?
A: I am very lucky. All of my clients give me full creative control. This has allowed me to do dream tattoos all the time. I am really wanting to do another Bob Marley portrait. It has been a while & I am really looking forward to the next one. Also it would be great to do a Kurt Cobain portrait. It's been years since I have done one of those.
Q: How long do you usually work in the
studio on the newest designs? Do you also set up some "dead lines"
for yourself and your clients?
A: I usually spend 2 or 3 hours designing before the tattoo. There are never deadlines for me since I treat every appointment as if it were a walk in.
Q: Do you still have the same enthusiasm for your work?
A: I have more enthusiasm now that ever. Even though I own a shop most of my work has been done on the road for the last couple of years. This keeps me inspired. Canada has so many talented artists that you have to stay inspired to stay relevant.
Q: I guess you attempt to improve your style even more. What's the next challenge you want to accomplish?
A: I have been painting with water colors only for a few years now. I really want to bring my style of tattooing in that direction. I know I can learn a lot from making the effort to go this way. The challenge keeps me excited.
Q: Would you say that a bit of competitive personality is helpful when it comes to art progress? At least a competition with yourself? Sound challenging, ha?
A: I think being competitive is a good thing. To me it seems that the tattoo world embraces competition much more that other forms of art. I really like to look at my work from the past and compare it to my recent tattoos. Just to be sure I am progressing.
Q: Getting a tattoo could be painful at
times, especially on some extra sensitive parts of the body. How do
you usually cheer up your clients when they are afraid to get
A: I do a lot of memorial portraits. With that I get a lot of people getting there first and only tattoo. I don`t know if my experience makes me good at it though. They seem nervous sometimes. I do however make an effort to explain the whole process in great detail for the client. That usually helps.
Q: You also travel a lot. Do you visit tattoo conventions? How much does the current place help you to get inspired?
A: I have done 10 conventions in the last 3 years. I stay inspired by having a balance of inspiration through travel & inspiration in my home. I am very lucky to have a family that has supported me. They are my biggest inspiration.
Q: Art in general is like an endless salvation from all the negative aspects in life, what is the best lesson that you've learned from your art journey?
A: Art has always been my escape from the negative. It has taught me so much throughout my whole life. I think the biggest lesson it has been to appreciate the real things in your life. It has also shown me that hard work can really pay off. Only when that hard work is combined with the right choices though. Hard work alone does not guarantee success.
- Any advice for those who are starting out their career?
The best advice I can give beginners is FOLLOW THE RULES. No matter what your style is there are basic rules that dictate what makes a good solid tattoo.
Please feel free to share your contact info/website.
Thank you Iva for the opportunity. Here is my contact info:
Glen Decker OUTPORT TATTOO COMPANY
59 Broadway Corner Brook Newfoundland
709 637 6574 firstname.lastname@example.org / www.gdtattoo.com