Miguel Montgomery: On a little bit of a different note about your tattooing, I’ve seen some Japanese tattoos with American roses in the background. I haven’t seen too much of that. Did something spark that made you want to do that? Or did you just take it upon yourself, like ‘this snake needs a rose next to it’?
Bryan Burk: There were a few conversations I had when I was working with Bob about how we should try doing that stuff. And there were some kids that I had tattooed on, one was my friend Jeff, who’d gotten a bunch of tattoos and wanted to fill in all the space around them. So he was one of the first people that I filled in with roses and water around everything because it kind of fit in all these little spaces he had. On his it worked, and I think if you’re gonna do blue water with roses and some American stuff, it works. As long as you kinda keep it pumped up on the American side of town; color clouds and blue water with black behind all of that, like Eddy Deutsche, like Eddy meets late Sailor Jerry-type Japanese compositions, it’ll work. But I think if you’re doing black Japanese background with grey water, for whatever reason, roses look weird… (more…)
Crash: Okay, let’s start with a basic history of yourself and then I want you to talk about the shop and it’s crew.
Horitaka Kitamura: Sure man, basic story… Well I was born in Japan and my parents moved to America when I was a few years old. My parents were bilingual so they taught me Japanese as well, which opened a lot of doors for me later on… So I grew up here and probably had a very similar interest in tattooing like many of my generation, I was a skater, turned punk rocker and liked tattoos from my junior high school days. I do recall liking the tattoos in an old Japanese TV show, “the tattooed magistrate” where the hero shows his cherry blossom tattoos before he kicks ass at the end of every episode. So I guess I’ve long had an affinity for tattoos. I know in high school I had already decided I wanted a body suit, didn’t know what the hell that meant or what was good but I just knew that I wanted tons of tattoos! (more…)
By Molly Skobba
Colin Kenji Baker started off his remarkable career as a tattoo artist at State of Grace as Horitaka’s apprentice. He has worked at State of Grace ever since, instrumental in the shop’s growth for the last 4 years. Colin has done everything from making killer tattoos to passionately assisting Horitaka in his many media and publishing endeavors. Colin is a hard worker. His latest passion is tattoo machine design. I have a short Q & A with Colin. He is a quiet soldier instrumental in the State of Grace Army, read on… (more…)