tattoo Interview with Shane Munce | Milford, Delaware 01/03/2010  

Q: Are you a self taught tattoo artist?
A: I am not a self taught tattoo artist. I began my apprenticeship in 97 I believe. Under Brian Ulrich in New Hope, Pa at the shop "living Arts".

Q: How long have you been tattooing?
A: Since 97 pretty much. Nothing really started coming together until around 99, when I kinda fell into the "realism" category.

Q: Are there any famous artists that have influenced you down the path of your career?
A: Obviously Brian Ulrich for getting me in the business. I have always admired H.R. Giger since I was around 8 or 9. I love the gore and realism coming out of special FX artists like screaming Mad George, Tom Savini, and Rob Bottin. As far as tattoo artists go, Its people like Nikko, Mike DeVries, Nick Baxter, Tim Kern, Josh Carlton, Bob Tyrell, Robert Hernandez, and Paul Acker that make me bust my ass everyday to even keep up!

Q: How has your work developed over the years?
A: God I hope so. No it has. I remember when color portraits were unheard of. And reading an interview with Deano cook and him saying he thinks he had color portraits down. hahaha. Now look at what people are doing! Its not only me its the entire industry. The economy cant even keep up!

Q: It seems to me a lot of younger artists have college degrees in the fine arts. The things they can do on the skin are outstanding. Do you think it is necessary to have a background in fine arts or any formal training?
A: Yeah, obviously so. Its so rare you find raw talent nowadays. I learned so much in college, that are fundamental art skills that I'm sorry no tattoo artists would or better yet should have to teach an apprentice. Having skills mastered on paper or canvas before doing it on another persons skin permanently is what I feel should be the case. I feel it should be mandatory that in order to get an apprenticeship one should have been through art school. There are too many artist nowadays that are mediocre and jump into a certain style so their shortcomings don't show in other styles, or just do flash because that's where their capabilities lie.

Q: Your style leans toward bright colorful portraits and horror designs. Do you remember when your love and fascination with that style first began?
A: I guess you could say my fascination with horror started at a VERY early age. My parents bought me toys that were of monsters and stuff as a kid. I remember one of my Christmas presents in '79 was an 18 inch kenner alien. Even Star wars and other films like clash of the Titans (which they are remaking), I always liked the bad guys. They were always more interesting than the good guys. My father was a engineer and specialized in drafting, so as a kid I used to ask him to draw me pictures when I was incapable. That talent alone always intrigued me and I see the same thing with my son, Gage wanting me to draw and do art for him.

Q: Have you ever thought to change your style?
A: Yeah. When I first began tattooing I was wanting to do all kinds of tweaked graffiti style new school tattoos and knew absolutely nothing about the art in general. All my life I did everything in a realistic perspective. I have no idea what made me think tattooing was going to be different. SO after plenty of horrible attempts at that style I kinda stumbled into doing a portrait for a client and everything sorta fell into place.

Q: I suppose you are traveling a lot. How many often do you go on tat conventions and which one left you the most memorable impression?
A: I don't do conventions as much as I travel to tattoo friends of mine. I know in the past year I have traveled a few times to tattoo Corey and Paul from slipknot. I have known them for a bit, and traveling with them and hanging with them and their families go above and beyond most conventions I've done. Very gracious people and I'm happy to consider them my friends.

Q: What advice would you give to the new artists coming through and trying to make a name of themselves?
A: If you don't posses something that sets you apart from others or being the best than you can possibly be then find another profession. The world needs more bankers, and house painters. Not more people doing irreparable damage to others skin permanently. STAY in school. get your degree. Then ask yourself that question. I see too many kids buying machines on eBay and "tattooing" their homies up at a tattoo party. Spewing out crap that my son (7) could do better at. Sure this profession has perks. I've gotten girls that I wouldn't have thought would look at me twice beforehand, but that's not WHY I got into this business. Some things you either have or don't have, and if you don't have it, leave it behind you. If you do, it'll fall into place.

Q: What are your feature plans? Please feel free to share your contact info.
A: I guess just more busting my ass to pull off more cool shit. If its not on someone's arm, it'll be in a gallery.

Thank you Iva for the interview, my website is  WWW.REDRUMTATTOO.COM