We're excited to be able to introduce a first of a type post for us here at Tattoo Tokyo, an interview with a Tattoo Artist. This weeks inaugural interview is with Trent from Expressive Ink Tattoo Studio in NJ, he's been tattooing for over 8 years and we're stoked to be able to ask him some questions about his studio, tattoo's, influences and life in general.
TattooTokyo: What is your artistic background like? And how did that lead to tattooing?
ExpressiveInk: I always had an interest in art and often found myself drawing on anything I could actually write on. Paper, walls, books, myself. You name it, I probably wrote or drew something on it. I’m not sure that my creativity directly lead to tattooing. I think it was more my interest in the art form and the instant love I had for it when I got my first tattoo.
TT: What originally got you interested in tattooing?
EI: Getting my first tattoo was definitely what got me interested. I fell in love with it. How cool is it to have a piece of art forever on you; wherever you go. It is honestly more precious than gold – it can never be lost or stolen and is the only thing you will absolutely take with you when you’re dead and gone.
TT: What were you doing before you decided to be a tattoo artist?
EI: What didn’t I do is probably the easier question. I worked as a slave for corporate America being a sales rep to fortune 500 companies, I DJ’ed, I owned a bar, I sold real estate… the list goes on.
TT: What do your parents and family think of your occupation choice?
EI: My mom was nervous but very supportive. My father is a tattoo artist and owns a shop in Greece – so naturally he was cool with it.How cool is it to have a piece of art forever on you; wherever you go. It is honestly more precious than gold – it can never be lost or stolen and is the only thing you will absolutely take with you when you’re dead and gone.
TT: What would you consider your favorite part of being a tattoo artist?
EI: The trust people have in you to permanently alter their body. I find it to be a tremendous honor that someone would let me tattoo or pierce them. That is a big commitment even though some people do not realize it. I mean, you are trusting me to do this and you are giving me the privilege of putting art on you. AWESOME! I also love the other artists at my shop. They all rock!
TT: Tell the readers, some of which I know are budding tattooists, what does a typical day in the life of a tattoo artist look like?
EI: Lots of drawings and tattooing. Tough question because I can only speak for myself. Typically I start my day at the shop at 10am. 10:30 is my first appointment and hopefully I am done with my last tattoo by 10pm. Often I am at the shop late working on bigger tattoos. All the gaps are filled with drawing and prepping future projects. Hopefully there is a point where I get 30 minutes to myself to eat something.
TT: What is your favorite tattoo?
EI: I have 2. They are both mine. The first is my grandfather’s signature on my wrist. He was my idol. The 2nd are my daughter’s hand prints and footprints on my chest. They are my life.
TT: Do you have a lot of ink yourself? I’ve always been cautious about skinny chef’s and under inked tattoo artists!
EI: If I had to count them I would say 9 but most of them were multiple sittings and a lot of things in one. My most painful was probably my fingers. 2 tear drops on the inside of my fingers
TT: Talk to us about your first tattoo, how did you get started on the slippery slope?
EI: I almost passed out. LMAO! January 1st, 1998 – Me and 6 friends all got the Chinese character for family on our right upper arm (deltoids). I was so nervous that half way through I turned white as a ghost and started sweating. We took a small break and I was fine… minus the teasing from my friends. It didn’t stop me though. I had ideas for more before I even got home.
TT: Being in the tattoo industry for 8+ years, you must have had some strange requests, any you’d like to share?
EI: Weirdest tattoo was probably the time I tattooed a women’s boyfriend’s nickname on her while her husband sat and held her hand. The weirdest place was probably a tramp stamp on a guy. I know its nothing gross just weird to give a guy a lower back tattoo.
TT: Haha, almost as weird as men with a pierced belly button.. Any troublesome clients you’ve had to deal with?
EI: I was tattooing a guys forearm, it happened to be his 1st tattoo; when he asked to use the bathroom 1 line into it. He snuck out and left with just 1 line on his arm. Another was I was tattooing a guys ribs and he couldn’t handle it. He flopped non stop and could not sit still. After 20 minutes, I stopped and he asked me to stop. The tattoo was terrible. He came back a month later with a numbing cream and went 2+ hours and got a kickass tattoo! I was even able to fix the mess from the 1st time around.
TT: I can understand why he squirmed, the ribs is a particularly interesting place to get ink done!
TT: How do you feel dealing with the public every day? I’d imagine it can be quite challanging?
EI: Everyday is a fresh new day with new faces, new ideas, new art and endless possibilities.
TT: Any tattoos that you are sick of inking? Any insight into some recent trends that you are seeing again and again?
EI: There are a few. Most sick of is tribal. I can’t believe people are still getting it and its very boring to do. Right now butterflies are still very popular and trending, dandelions, all flowers and anything on the ribs.
TT: Thanks very much for your time, it’s been a blast talking to you, and appreciate you spending time with us to answer our questions!
We suggest that if you are in the NJ area and looking for some new ink, then you give Trent a shout. Head over to his studio and see what he can offer you.
Address: 35 N. Main St. Wharton, NJ, USA 07885
Web: Expressive Ink NJ
Social Media: http://www.facebook.com/ExpressiveInkNJ
Social Media: http://www.Twitter.com/ExpressiveInkNJ