tattoo | art Interview with Liz Cook by Iva Kanceska 13/06/2011
Q: How long have you been tattooing?
A: My formal apprenticeship was in 2009.
Q: Tattoos are very unique signature for everyone. I bet you have some on your own skin, if so do you remember your first experience with tattooing?
A: I got my first tattoo when I was 20. It's a horrible blue and black butterfly about 6 inches wide and mostly just scar tissue on my lower back. The design was fine but the tattooer just didn't have the ability to do it properly and I didn't do any research to learn that there were awesome artists elsewhere. I didn't get another tattoo until 7 years later when I got an apprenticeship!
Q: To be a tattoo artist is a very unique job, can you tell us why did you choose the tattooing as a form of expression?
A: When I first started, I had no idea that it could be as rewarding as it is. I still thought tattooers just did flash and that was it. The first time I saw Guy Aitchison's and Mike DeVries's work, I was disappointed in myself for not knowing that this type of art was out there and I hadn't seen it yet, and I knew that was the direction I wanted to go.
Q: Do you have an artistic background growing up?
A: I have a Bachelor of Fine Art in Studio Painting and Drawing and my grandmother is an artist and everyone always encouraged my pursuit of art as a career, though they were worried when I chose fine art instead of advertising or commercial art. Mom said they didn't want me to end up a “poor and starving” artist.
Q: What is your biggest inspiration?
A: I would say I am most consistently inspired by the randomness of real life. I take my camera with me everywhere.
Q: Do you have any role models?
A: I really look up to people like Byron Drechsler and Nikko Hurtado. They have achieved so much in the industry and still are really nice, helpful people. Also, Theres Karlsson, owner of Zoi Tattoo in Malmo, Sweden. She is a fully dedicated owner who takes care of her artists like they're her own family while successfully maintaining a cool shop, doing laser removal, and making a crazy guest artists schedule run smooth as silk, while also being a full time mom.
Q: As we can see you have a big stunning portfolio. Seems like the portraits are maybe the most remarkable designs ... Why portraits? Is that a great opportunity to express your talent or more challenging for one tattooer?
A: All of my art prior to tattooing revolved around portraits, pin-ups and realism. My first experiments with drawing were with comics and in university I really began to focus on portraits. They just “make sense” in my head. Some artist are really great at drawing out of their heads or doing traditional Japanese, etc., but I feel like I can't wrap my head around those styles as much as with portraits and realism.
Q: What do you find as most difficult in making a photo realistic portrait?
A: I think most difficulty is in compensating for the dimensions of the body part that the tattoo is going and compensating for the color of the person's skin.
Q: So many tattoos in your life... Can you pick one as your favorite or tattoo done with a major pleasure?
A: I would have to say, the Mike Kelly portrait because he's an awesome dude in real life and the whole time I was working on it, I kept laughing because that face is just so Mike. I also enjoyed this piece from a technical standpoint because it has a lot of different elements to it other than just a face.
Q: Seems like tattoos gone into a mainstream. What is the opinion about tattoos in Miami Florida?
A: Tattoos are definitely a lot more mainstream these days. Although I'm not based out of Miami any more, from the work I have done there, tattoos are pretty well accepted. I think that anywhere in the world there will be still be people that look down on tattoos, some places more than others but I'm trying to help change that.
Q: How do you feel as a woman tattooer? Are there any prejudges?
A: I don't really think of myself as woman tattooer, I just think of myself as a tattooer. I haven't really had any issues come up so far because I'm a chick. I just try to do my thing and I'm not really bothered if anyone ever did have a problem with it.
Q: Is there anything you want to change about your job?
A: Most of the time I love my job just the way it is. I guess if I could change anything, it would just be to open up my own custom studio and set it up to where it is good for the artists physically and mentally and still comfortable and inviting for the client.
Q: What are your feature plans?
A: A lot bigger multi session pieces and hopefully more of my original art in tattoo form.
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facebook.com/lizcooktattoo Website under way and coming soon! Thank u for the interview.