interview with Jason Everett-Brown by iva kancheska 10/10/2014
Jason Everett-Brown is a fully licensed tattoo
artist who’s Local Health Authority registered studio is based
between Exeter and Honiton in the beautiful heart of Devon, in
Feniton. He is fast becoming known as the go to person for tattoos,
not only for his unique and relaxed studio, but also for his
specialty in creating custom one-off tattoo designs for men and
women. He maintains, as an artist, that his tattoo designs will only
ever be inked once by him, giving you the reassurance that your
tattoo is truly unique.
Q: How old were you when you first got interested in art? What kind of art interested you?
A: Hi Iva and Skin Artists readers. You know, for as long as I can remember I have had an ability to get what is in my head down onto paper. Right from my first day at Beacon heath first school when I was only 5, I remember the other children gathering around to watch me draw and to ask me to draw them sharks, Superman and other random images. As I grew up the art that really interested me was comic book and graphic novels, where I would spend my weekends copying images from Star Wars, Batman and Judge Dredd comics.
- Do you have any influences?
The things I see and hear all influence me in some way, whether it’s another artist and their work, such as Frank Miller or a great film like the Usual Suspects. Statues, twisted tree’s, fierce storms and waves lapping the shore. There is simply something in everything to inspire an idea!
Q: One thing that I really like about your work, is that every piece you do is completely unique, you draw for each client... How do you get inspired? Do you draw first lots of sketches and then tattoo?
A: Thanks Iva. Yes, it’s a lovely part of the process and I guess stems back from my days as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator, where you needed gather your information carefully and truly understand a brief. I like to spend time with my clients first, and over a brew, listen to their stories. Everything I do comes from the heart of the client – I simply try to capture that feeling and put it to paper. I then make a draft and discuss it with my client where it is sometimes tweaked a little. Generally though I seem to get it fairly close with the initial concept. Only when my client is 100% happy do we then commit to skin.
Q: What kind of designs you most enjoy to work on?
A: Without a doubt it’s when I am challenged with something different or when a client says to me “Just go for it and design me something in your style”. I love that! It shows great trust and I consider it a massive honor to be creating something that a client will wear forever.
Q: Would you say that there is a special style that describe
your personality as a tattoo artist?
A: Yes I would – well I actually I see it more as personalities. My style certainly has a look to it which is how I nurtured it while studying illustration at University in Exeter. The two personalities are split between the lighter – me, Jason, who tends to help people with cover-ups, butterflies, flowers etc. and my darker half – Jodypig, who does the more insane stuff. There is no favorite between the two - just a balance.
Q: Talking about the unique designs, what are the most common details or themes you constantly keep trying to refresh, do them differently?
A: I suppose that when it comes down to themes, things like flowers, butterflies and birds, which seem to be fairly consistent for women, I like to try and create something a little different to maybe something they have seen online or on a friend. Keeping those designs fresh can be a challenge at times. When it comes to detail, I like to think that this is where my niche lies. I love the fine detail and prefer to work with 5/7 RL needles even for the shading – it sounds a little unconventional but the way I tattoo it the same way that I draw.
- Btw, is there any "dream" piece that just sits on your sketchbook waiting to be tattooed on someone's skin? heh is so, what's that? what type of design?
:) So many I would like to do and they would all be large pieces. The two that I would love to do are actually illustrations that I produced during University many moons ago. One is called the Fearless Vampire Hunter which 90% silhouettes, with a long tailed Vamp walking two hell hounds in a moonlit night and in the background leaning against a lamppost is the hunter, coolly smoking a cigarette. The other is one of three Theories – The Butterfly Effect, The Gaia Theory and Life after death. Each has 22 drawing in it telling a story. These would be high detailed black and grey pieces.
Q: Being a tattoo artist, requires lots of patience, how do
you manage your busy schedule and the crazy customers wanting to get
tattooed in one session? heh
A: Actually I find it fairly manageable – in a way I have had to. As I said before I was a Graphic Design Manager for a very large International business – unfortunately the stress involved lead me to kind of Sudo Stroke where I was rushed into hospital. Luckily I am only left with managing persistent headaches and a few other symptoms. However I was advised to seriously think about changing my lifestyle which lead me to do what I had dreamed of for many years – becoming a Skin Artist. Now I balance a great work and home life giving me more time to see my three boys grow up and enjoy being an artist. When it comes to tattooing, I segment the day into 4 three hour sessions – morning, afternoon, evening and night. My studio is open from 9am until midnight which means I can create the flexibility to offer a service to clients who work shift patterns. It’s great because neither I nor my clients feel rushed and it gives me the scope to chill between sessions.
- Would you turn off someone's mind, when it comes to choosing a design or placement etc?
Totally! I’m in it for the art and not any kind of shock value. Personally I would not ink above the neck and rarely touch the hands unless it feels right. I would also not entertain a design that was outright offensive. My designs are a representation of me and the Jodypig brand and as we well know, its takes a long time to build a brand but only a moment to destroy it.
Q: Have you ever heard any memorable stories told by your clients? How is the feeling to be full-time job tattoo artist?
A: It’s like living a dream. I have to pinch myself at times to remind me of how things once where. I never feel so a peace as when I’m creating something new. I love my clients and the time that I spend with them. Everyone is unique just like their design and all have amazing stories which they share freely. Unfortunately due to client confidentiality I cannot divulge, but believe me, there is far more trust between a tattooist and their client than just doing a great ink job.
I can tell you something that happened that was a little odd but doesn’t break any real client confidentiality. Earlier this year I received a call from a woman who was after a memorial portrait of her mother who sadly passed away. A few weeks passed and the design was ready and booked in. A very slight and angelic young lady arrived for her evening session. She was very quiet but sweet with it. I thought that maybe it was the usual first time tattoo nerves. She still said very little while I prepped the equipment. With the stencil on I set about starting the tattoo. Total power cut! Couldn’t see a thing and from within the dark she giggled and simply said “Mum never did like tattoos!” With no way of continuing, all I could do was apologies and lead her out by torch light. Power came on around 20 minutes later and I never heard from the girl again…. Bit weird! If you like that sort of thing.
- What you do when the inspiration just turns off,
especially in the busy days?
You’re right of course – no one is creative all the time and often I can sit in my studio feeling totally void of any creativity. Luckily though I do not run a studio where people can simply walk in off the street and pick something. Everything I do has at least a three to four weeks lead time so that I can get the design perfect. That’s the hard part. As much as tattooing has its challenges through differing skin types, pain thresholds or tricky areas it rarely comes close to getting the clients vision on to paper. Plus I find the inking process is like a kind of therapy for me – it’s one of the only times that my head doesn’t hurt :)
Q: Do you also travel a lot? Hit me up with some of the best experiences during the road.
A: I don’t travel as much as I would like but tattooing has hooked me up with some great bands. In particular the up and coming band called ‘These Reigning Days’. Three amazingly talented lads from the South West. It doesn’t get much better than chilling out as back stage VIP’s with my beautiful wife, chatting to the likes of Moriarty, The Feeling and Razorlight.
Q: Outside tattooing, you're also a great illustrator. Gotta say, many of your creations feature dark motives, is there any hidden message or just a symbolic meaning?
A: Well thank you again! That’s very kind. Well as I mentioned before, Jodypig is my darker half and he seems to be pretty active during the night when all is quiet. We all have a dark side. I guess I am just able to channel it through my drawings. I’m not sure where it comes from and know that my dear mum would rather I stuck to flowers and fairies :) But there is passion in the dark recesses of the mind– It’s the unknown and the unspoken that scares us. Maybe that’s why people like what I do for them. Maybe it says something that they find difficult to say or maybe it’s just a little harmless madness in me.
Q: Do you also work on customs for sale? If so, share some
basic info, such as where viewers can buy your artworks etc.
A: You know… not as a rule! I am always happy to design specific work for a client which is charged at my hourly rate, and for them to then take it away. But! And it’s a big but. There is a bond between the artwork, the client and the tattooist and I feel that unless you created the original, how can you possibly feel what is needed to do the tattoo justice on the skin. I do have a back catalogue of work which I do show my clients if they are unsure of where to start. It usually gets the ball rolling.
Q: Do you have some plans for the near feature?
A: Yes, definitely! My plan is to build a new studio close to my home. Maybe a log cabin or a customized shipping container. I think that could be cool. I would love to make it from an abandoned railway carriage but think that may be pushing it a little.
Q: The three challenges that keeps you busy and push you forward?
A: There are plenty of challenges especially as tattooing is more popular than ever, but I suppose my top three would have to be:
1.Maintaining the rule of one off designs so that my clients don’t pass someone on the street with the same artwork. This is only a challenge because many people ask for an image they have found via Google and I don’t want to fall into the trap of plagiarism for pounds.
2.As a non-high street studio, I need to maintain visibility to new customers by keeping on top of web and social media. This can be difficult when things are really busy but it is so important in any business.
3.Making the most of any quiet periods – sketch, draw, create! And never take your gift for granted.
- Any advice for the beginners?
Yes – invest your time in becoming the best artist you can possibly be. Tattooing is only half the job! Many people think that Van Gogh only painted some stylized Sunflowers and a chair. Not many people know that he was as good a draftsman at 13 years old as Michael Angelo was in his heyday. Whatever you do make sure you enjoy it as it will show through your artwork.
Jason Everett-Brown Jodypigs Tattoo Artistry
www.jodypig.com firstname.lastname@example.org / 07564553096