Interview with John Wayne  | Beesting Tattoo, Canada 05/12/2012


Hello John! It's a great honor to talk with you! You have a big portfolio and a great story behind. When I first read your biography on your website, I already got inspired. I love the story! You're a very inspirational, creative and talented artist. I bet your art journey is a lot more than a bio on a website, let's start with the beginnings...

Q: What made you to become an artist? Was that like a dream profession or it just came spontaneously?
A: My earliest memories are of me drawing as a kid alongside my dad. I couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 and was drawing what he drew, he would draw plants and cars and I would try to draw what he drew. My parents saw that I had a knack for art and decided that my birthdays and xmas gifts were going to be art supplies, so with not a lot to do in a small town I spent a lot of time drawing in my room, anything from comic book characters to trucks and cars.

Q: You have a very honest and interesting story on your website. You tell about your starts in this job, how you were treated in the past... People who helped you. Really cool. During that time of progressing, did you believe that one day you will become successful and open your own professional tattoo shop?
A: Well, I am a self taught artist, I dabbled in tattooing very unprofessionally for years in my early beginnings. Any help that I got at my first shop I worked at was all wooing, I had to unlearn what I was shown there. I left there and never looked back, I ended up at another shop but soon realized I didn't care much for shop life, I wanted something different, something more personal and that's why I opened up Beesting Studio.

Q: What time was actually the most memorable and most important to you while you were still on the streets looking for a pro tattoo shop?
A: I opened my own, so I guess I would have to say when I decided to open my own. Another time was when I met Larry Brogan in 2005, he shared so much with me, information I craved and needed, a lot of artists are so tight lipped but Larry was willing to mentor me from a distance and I thank him for everything to this day , he is my brother from another mother.

Q: Are you still in touch with the people who were there for you?
A: After the first shop I left, I never looked back, anyone after them I stay in contact with. Larry and I talk all the time still even though he lives 6 hours away haha

Q: Today, your work looks amazing. You do many tattoo styles, from portraits, fantasy to organic tattoo designs. Do you connect your tattoo art with your personality? If so, in which style you find yourself the most?
A: I find that I get asked to do lots of styles, mostly realism these days, but as the TV shows go , we get asked to do whatever people see on TV. Also with the internet now people will bring print outs of tattoos they found online of different artists work and try to get me to duplicate that style and some I will try but others I find I just wont try to. But as it goes I am most known for my realism in color and Black n Grey.

Q: I can see lots of custom works. Colorful bright designs, fantasy mix with some realistic note in almost every tattoo. Can you tell me about the making process?
A: The client comes out to the studio and sits down with my wife Jax , she does all my consultations and has been for years. She gets right to the points that need looked at, if its a sleeve, color or black n grey, what kind of style, whether it be Japanese, realism, new school, neo traditional etc etc. With that being done I take what she has written down for me and I draw from the notes she has taken. Most people that I deal with look at what it is that I am known for and they get what they expect, my best. I wouldn't tattoo them with a design I have drawn unless I would be willing to get it myself as a tattoo. It has become kind of my motto in the industry I guess, so most just leave it all up to me and they all are satisfied in the end.

Q: Getting a tattoo is a pleasure, but doing a tattoo is even more than a pleasure - it's must be an honor. How do you feel when someone come up in your studio and just ask you to tattoo them? Do you appreciate their choice?
A: I still get overwhelmed by the amount of people that ask me to permanently mark up there body. It truly is an honor and responsibility we have been given as tattoo artists. For the most part I really do like the choices people make, there are a few every once in awhile that throw me a curve ball that can really make me now want to do the piece, based solely on it really has no interest for me. I will always be honest with people and let them know that there is no need to wait for me to get an idea that I figure could be accomplished by another artist that lets say could use some experience in tattooing.

Q: Any strange requests, or there are no such? What are some the most interesting experiences with the customers?
A: Oh ya , once I tattooed a dolphin in the crack of a strippers ass, she had to bend right over in order for me to tattoo it in there J I didn't complain one bit.

Q: Tattooing is like a giving an eternal impact on someone’s life. What reaction from a client makes you happy after finishing the tattoo?
A: I would probably have to say the memorial portraits , when they walk up the mirror for the first time and see that face staring right back at them and they get emotional over it, it really gets me deep inside and makes me feel a little bit of their pain. Its kind of strange but I find they are the most reactive to the tattoo, something about how its gives them the closure they have been looking for.

Q: Have you ever thought to make a change in your style and start working on something completely different?
A: Oh ya, as of lately I am really pushing toward a more new school style, I really like the bold lines and fun color styles. I find its a lot more fun to do hah

Q: You now own your shop "Beesting Tattoo" in Canada. How you feel about this? Are you proud and simply happy about your accomplishments? Or there is still something that should be done?
A: Well I have been running Beesting for most of my career, Beesting just celebrated 17 years this past year. I would have to say that there would have been no other way I could have made it any better, its just what I wanted to it be and it worked.

Q: Your artworks are know well know and featured in many famous tattoo magazines, do you think that your talent finally got the deserved attention and you as an artist got your own promotion? How do you feel, are you now laugh at the beginnings? :)
A: I would have to say in all honesty that I never figured my stuff would end up in a magazine, the first time I saw one of my tattoos in a magazine I was beside myself, it was the Marvel sleeve , it was taken by Tony Rommel of Tattoo Society at the Detroit Tattoo Convention in 2006 and I had no idea it was even taken until I picked up the issue and ran across it. When I look back I notice how much my style has evolved and at how I got better at taking pictures of them lol.

Q: Do you still feel the same enthusiasm after all those years of hard work?
A: Oh yes definitely, after every piece I finish I feel a sense of accomplishment and feel that even with that last piece there is still room for improvement but at the same time satisfaction that hey, I did that ! ;)

Q: Any advice for those who are starting out their career?
A: If you want a long career in this industry, with respect and the ability to pass along the wisdom to others, be sure of this, watch how you treat others on the way up, because you may be seeing them again on the way back down. Stay humble and realize , its a privilege and an honor to have the skin we get to work on.

Please share your feature plans and your website.
My plans are to eventually close up Beesting and work for someone else into my retirement years so I can travel the planet and tattoo around the world.