I’ve been following Danny’s work for years, and finally crossed paths with him this summer. I’ve always admired his hard work and approach to the art, and I’m proud we’re featuring his work on Tattoo Snob. I always knew that Danny was one of the good guys in tattooing, and this interview does nothing if not reinforce that.
Tattoo Snob: How would you describe your tattooing?
Danny Derrick: I do tattoos that are built on Traditional American rules, but they have a lighter, more illustrative look to them. However, the longer I’ve been tattooing, the more I am leaning toward a classic traditional look.
TS: What is the most random thing you’ve tattooed on someone?
DD: In my 5 years of tattooing, I’ve worked in mostly appointment-only studios, which has afforded me the privilege of not having to do many random/weird tattoos. However, sometimes clients will request an idea that is somewhat out of the norm like a blonde wolf with antlers and the antlers becoming branches with an apple growing from them. This one, although random, still allowed me to arrange them in a way that didn’t feel too forced. At least to me it did.
TS: Imagine you found yourself stuck in an elevator with one tattooer of your choice — we’re talking several hours at minimum, so you two could really talk business. Who would it be, and why?
DD: Although a handful of tattooers instantly come to mind, I’d have to say Chris Conn. I was lucky enough to get tattooed by him recently and he has a wealth of knowledge, not only when it comes to tattooing and painting, but on seemingly most everything. I’m sure it would be an enriching experience. But let’s be serious, this scenario is highly unlikely.
TS: What would you be doing professionally right now if you weren’t tattooing?
DD: Who knows. My life could have gone a number of different ways. I probably would have pursued music more. I was in a touring band at the time I started tattooing and at that point I switched gears and gave tattooing the highest priority. If I hadn’t started tattooing there may have been another career path that sparked my interest and developed into something I was really passionate about, but like I said, who knows.
TS: Name an “ah-ha!” moment you’ve had in regards to tattooing.
DD: Seeing Chris Conn’s work for the first time. It was then that I saw how refined tattooing could be. His work gives you a window into another world and crates a narrative that tells a story that a tattoo of words never could. There are many other ah-ha moments, most of which were during my apprenticeship with Craig Beasley. It seemed, every day he’d explain a new piece of the tattooing puzzle I was trying to put together in my head.
TS: If you could only tattoo one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
DD: It definitely wouldn’t be family crests, I’ll tell you that god damn much. I’d be happy tattooing faces. There’s so many different ways to do them and show emotion They can be adorned with almost any other element I’d want to include as well. So that would be my loop-hole. A girls face with, fill in the blank.
TS: Name your influencers in life — people, things, whatever.
DD: This is something that is rediscovered every day. Everything in life influences me in one way or another, both directly and indirectly, consciously and unconsciously.
TS: Where do you find inspiration in regards to tattooing? And art?
DD: In tattooing, I’d have to give credit to Craig Beasley, Russ Abbott, Chris Conn, Seth Wood, Dan Smith and Adam Barton
TS: What kind of music do you prefer to listen to while tattooing? What about drawing and painting?
DD: I’m constantly trying to switch up what I listen to while working. A few constants would include Thrice, City and Colour, Murder by Death (especially “like the exorcist”), Converge, and Willy Tea Taylor.
TS: I’m sure you have a favorite tattoo of your own. Who did it, what is it… and any chance we could see a picture?
DD: My favorite tattoo is of a passenger pigeon on a branch of a pine tree and it was done by Seth Wood in 2009. I have to opt out of sharing a photo of the tattoo, since he never published it himself. If you take a look at his work, you’ll see what general style he does and why it would be my favorite.
Find Danny Derrick online: