tattoo Interview with John Pohl by Iva Kancheska 31/05/2010  

Q: How did you start tattooing?
A: Ever since I can remember I was always fascinated by tattoos. I had an uncle that had a lot of old ww2 sailor tattoos. When I was kid I would always bug him about his tattoos, asking him if they hurt and where his was when he got them. I remember being about 8 years old asking my parents when I could get my first one.. of course they told me never.. When I was 17 I saved up some money and ordered some crappy tattoo equipment out of a magazine. I started giving my friends some horrible tattoos. After about a year I finally got a job at shop.

Q: Where did you learn how to tattoo?
A: I learned a lot by making a lot of mistakes. There wasn't nearly as much accessible information about tattooing back then as there is now. There was no internet and what info you did learn was usually wrong. I learned a lot just by going and getting tattooed by artists that I admired. I got one of my first tattoos from Timothy Hoyer, I probably learned more in those 4 hours that it took to do the tattoo then I had learned that whole year.

Q: Who are your influences?
A: I could go on forever with this question... There are so many great artists out there... I guess some of my main tattoo influences are Aaron Cain, Shige, Mike Devries...

Q: Did you have an artistic background growing up?
A: No I don't but I wish I did it probably would have jump started my career.


Q: Photo- realistic style is one of the most popular styles nowadays. How long does it takes for you to make a portrait tattoo?
A: Depending on the size and textures about 5 to 8 hours for a color portrait.

Q: As a tattoo artist... Which style of tattooing you find as most difficult?
A: Color realism I find to be the most difficult just because you really have to take your time and try not to rush any part of the tattoo.

Q: Which style of tattooing you like the most?
A: I like all styles of tattooing I try to be good at it all because the tattoo isn't for me its for the client. i don't want to be limited to just one style. I think to many tattoo artists fall into that trap.


Q: Are there any ethical rules of tattooing?
A: Sure there is. You should never tattoo a young kids hands face neck etc... no matter how bad they think they want it. I actually just had a lady get mad at one of my coworkers because he wouldn't tattoo a name on her 16 year old daughters neck!!!


Q: How many often do you go on tattoo conventions?
A: I'm starting to do more conventions now. I'll be at tattoo lapalooza in Miami in June and Baltimore tattoo arts festival this September. I would like try and do a European convention soon. It definitely helps with creativity when you get to see so many great artists in one place.

Q: Are there any artists you'd like to work with?
A: I would love to work with Shige in Japan that would be a great honor.

Q: What is the opinion about tattoos in Alden, PA?
A: Tattoos are accepted pretty well where I live. I think that with the tremendous rise in popularity with tattoos they are looked upon as bad as they once were.

Q: What is the biggest challenge being a tattoo artist?
A: Standing out from the crowd and having a unique style of tattooing.

Q: What are your feature plans?
A: A lot more bad ass tattoos!
Thanks for asking me to do this interview. Its an honor.