Interview with Steve Wimmer | San Diego, California 15/03/2012  

Q: What made you to become a tattoo artist?
A: It actually was a case of being at the right place at the right time. I met a tattoo artist who offered to apprentice me after talking to him about art, and showing him my sketch books and other work. At the time I was just bar tending and waiting tables, and figured why not give it a try, I knew nothing about tattooing, but was open to giving it a try.

Q: How long have you been tattooing?
A: I've been tattooing for about 5 years, I finished my apprenticeship (which only lasted like 30 days) in 2006. The guy kinda just showed me the basics, and sent me on my way, the first year I tattooed I only did it part time, and slowly eased my way into doing it everyday.

Q: How did you start your career?
A: My Mom is an artist, and I think I picked up some things at an early age from watching her. I went to art school for Graphic Design, and after school, wasn't interested in graphic design all that much, and luckily found my way into tattooing.

Q: Do you have any influences?
A: Too many to name them all, But starting out I was instantly drawn to the realistic tattoo artists, Shane O'neill, Bob Tyrrell, Tom Renshaw, and through out my career many others were very influential, Nikko, Mike DeVries, Jeff Gogue, Guy Atchison, Nick Baxter.


Q: Some people say that it is possible to be self though artist. What are your thoughts about this?
A: I think it's very possible to be a self taught artist, but even a self taught artist still picked up on things through watching and asking other people, so you might have never had a real apprenticeship but you still learn things from other artists through out your career. I didn't have an official apprenticeship but I still have learned so much from many different artists.

Q: What is your favorite tattoo style?
A: My favorite style would have to be Realism, Black and Gray or Color. But I still love when people give me creative freedom to draw some original designs.


Q: Portraits are maybe the most remarkable designs in your portfolio. Do you remember when the impression for this kind of work first began?
A: I was instantly drawn to this style more then any other, I feel like realism is probably the hardest style to do, because if something doesn't look real it's very easy to see, and there is no middle ground, it's either realistic or it isn't. So you can judge the successfulness of the tattoo by if it looks like the picture or not. Not taking anything away from all the phenomenal stylistic artists out there, It's just my opinion. Not everyone can do realism, but drawing in a specific style you can do things the way you want to do them, with realism it's gotta be a certain way, and you have to figure out how to make it look like that.

Q: What is most challenging part in doing realistic tattooos?
A: I think just making it believable, and not going too far off from the photo, and keeping it true to what it looks like, but still finding a way to put your style or spin onto it. There is a thin line between a portrait that looks real, and one too stylized.

Q: Nowadays, people are coming up with many creative ideas for a tattoo. Any bizarre requests?
A: A friend of mine wants me to do a tattoo that looks like his ass has been branded with "100 % certified beef" I've thought about doing it, but I've yet to do it, for obvious reasons.

Q: Is there any "dream piece" undone yet?
A: I'd love to do a sleeve of whatever I want, were someone let me have 100% freedom as far as subject matter and how it's done. I don't even know what I would do, but that would be a lot of fun.

Q: What are some of the most interesting experiences with the customers?
A: I've met my fiancé by tattooing her, I've met a lot of cool people too, clients that have become friends, but you also meet some really crazy people. I don't even know where to begin with them. One guy was drinking Vodka out of a sprite bottle, and half way through the tattoo didn't know where he was, or who I was, and acted like he was going to fight me. I brought him back to reality and calmed him down, and he sat down to relax and passed out and pissed the couch, that's such a long crazy story but that's the quickest way I can explain it.


Q: So many customers, drawings in your life, what keeps you permanently creative?
A: I'm such a perfectionist that is never happy with what I do. I'm glad I'm like this, because I'm never satisfied and it keeps me wanting to do better. I also work with some really great artists that keep me driven because we all have a very friendly internal competition. We keep each other humble and driven.

Q: What is the best lesson that you've learned from you art journey?
A: Never stop learning and stay humble.


Q: They said " The real artist is never fully satisfied " There is always something new to accomplish, discover, something new to try etc...
A: Couldn't agree more, the goal isn't to beat, or out do others, it's to get the best out of yourself, I always say my best tattoo is the one I haven't' done yet. And that's true, as soon as I complete a tattoo, I already look at it as what could have I done differently to make it better.

What are your goals, or things that you might want to accomplish in the next few years? Please feel free to share your contact info/mail, website etc.
I just want to keep getting better and push myself to my limits. Maybe I can influence others the way that I was influenced by some of the guys I look up to.

Steve Wimmer