Here’s a short Q & A session between two recent contestants from TV’s Ink Master: Sarah Miller and Lydia Bruno.
Lydia’s questions to Sarah
1)As tattoo artists learn, evolve and progress , with them follows the industry and it’s tools. What are your thoughts on the rapid shift from coil to rotary machines that seems to be in motion. Do you find more artists are switching,and why.
It really depends on the style that the tattoo artist specializes in. Personally, I see people who deal in more realistic styles making the switch to rotaries due to consistency and ease of needle changing. You can set multiple needles and only have one machine out and run it how you need, rather than having multiple machines set up for lining and shading. I really like rotary machines. I feel that since I’ve made the switch, my work has improved. Saturation is easier to attain, and the tattoos heal much faster and with greater consistency than with the coil machines. It also depends on the artist, as well. I can only talk about my personal experience. I know a lot of artists are loyal to the coil, and their tattoos are perfect.
2) As an artist that has been on Ink Master, I know we constantly have to switch between being “the Artist” and “the entertainer” is this something you find has prevented you from falling into the all important “artistic zone” while tattooing in the convention circuit?
Yes. With my best pieces to date I’ve been able to do them at my shop in a situation where I can get “in the zone,” so to speak, with no distractions. In a convention setting, I’m constantly being taken out of my comfort zone, having to stand up and deal with the public. I’m grateful that I’m in the position that I am, and that they like me and my work so much that they will wait to talk to me, but it does make it harder to focus.
3) If you could hang out with any person on this Earth (dead or alive) and ask them anything who would it be , what would you ask?
Adam Hughes. He seems like a lot of fun to hang out with, as well as being an amazing comic book artist. His designs and layouts take what he does to another level, and I would love to pick his brain about it!
4) How has the type of shop and start you came from effected your views on our industry and the “newer” artists in it. How does it effect your personal drive and work ethic.
The first shops that I worked at were pretty old school. You were expected to go out and talk to people and sell yourself. Learning to tattoo was similar, someone took you under their wing and apprenticed you. It makes you really grateful for the opportunity we have as artists, being creative for a living! We are very lucky.
It makes me want to work harder now than ever before. I love that there are new artists that are pushing the limits and expanding the field.
5) You have recently launched a bad ass comic book called “The Valkyries Wode.” What can we expect from this and other projects in the future?
I want to focus on finishing more of the series. There is a whole story arc that we are in the process of illustrating! This is the only huge art project I’m working on for the moment, but this baby is gonna be going on for a long time.
Sarah’s questions to Lydia
1) How did you get into tattooing and what drew you to that particular medium? What experience with art, or other mediums, did you have before tattooing?
As far back as I can remember I have been creating art in one way or another. Being the daughter of a brilliant mathematician and a nuclear engineer, there was a huge importance placed on my education while I was growing up. This being said, I pursued my secondary Interests of astro-physics and abnormal psychology. I went to school for both and found myself working in a mental hospital shortly after graduation. By a random chain of circumstance, I was presented with the opportunity to apprentice at a tattoo shop after working there for three years. Becoming a tattoo artist took a leap of faith, but I have never regretted it and haven’t looked back since. Sometimes if you follow your heart instead of your brain the analog form of the future, can present itself in HD.
2) Did you have a tattoo apprenticeship, or did you teach yourself how to tattoo?
I was thrust into an “old school” apprenticeship at a busy street shop in a tourist town. My mentor was fired about a week into my apprenticeship and I was left to fend for myself and ultimately teach myself from then on out. I firmly believe you have to earn your place in this industry and also the respect of your fellow artists and collectors through hard work and gratitude. Although it was unconventional, I am grateful for the path my apprenticeship took. It has given me the drive to push myself to the limits, and respect the limits I push while understanding where they came from.
3) Where do you see the tattoo industry going in five or ten years?
I would like to think our industry will stay true to it’s roots, perpetuating and evolving from a solid base of good art, innovative artists, and rapidly evolving tools relative to the need within. We are at a transitional moment in our industry. New and incredibly talented artists are coming out of the woodwork, with new ideas and techniques that create mind blowing artistic outcomes. They are molding the mailable structure into uncharted territory, and my only hope is that they stay true to their craft and it’s origins so it is not lost in a sea of commercial saturation.
4) What are some of the themes in your poetry book that you’re working on? Is it strictly text or are you illustrating it as well?
I have been working on a collection of “art and words” to be released in book form sometime in early 2015. There is no theme per say, but every page of my art is coupled with a side of semantic tomfoolery and nonsensical trickery that will carry you into the next piece seamlessly.
5) What do you think about working at a new shop? What can we expect from working there?
I am beyond honored and excited to be a part of the Wyld Chyld Tattoo crew. It is always unnerving to come into a new shop as a guest artist, let alone a resident artist, yet I instantly felt welcomed. I feel inspired and at home with the incredibly kind and talented artists that reside here. I am looking forward to contributing my personality and artistic style into the already diverse pool of talented and technically sound art and artists. I stand by the fact that hard work, hunger, loyalty, and innovation are the key puzzle pieces of being part of a successful team, a happy artist and most important of all, a happy human.
Featured image tattoo by: Sarah Miller