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Bill Baker Interview: Part 2

By Andrew Goodfellow

Reblogged by:

Read Part 1 here:


Like the effect on the skin?

“Yeah, the way the work was going in. And, again, there was no internet. So I had to go the fucking library, go to the reference library, lookup needle manufacturing companies all over the world, write them a letter, by hand “Dear Sir or Maddam’ and hopefully get a sample. And sure enough, samples did come. Sometimes I would get a letter back that would come and say ‘You need to buy the samples. They cost this much’. And I would go and do that. And I would get the needles and solder them and tattoo with them. And I began to see, like, oh man this really makes a difference.”

“So I began to get excited about the potential. So I went and registered the company name, and I realized that I could probably make needles myself. Buying them was hit-and-miss. They would come and some of them would be measured in a weird way. I would get some that were big and short tapered. And I’d get some that were big and long tapered. And I’d get all different types. But if I could get stuff in between, it seemed reasonable that I could make a better needle. These are just sewing needles! They’re just getting thrown at me. I’m just doing what I can with them. So that’s when I started to believe that it was possible. I registered the name and started thinking about what potential there was there, and what it might cost and what it might not cost, and what that would mean.”

“So, before I left, I had said to people, I really wanna become a better tattooer technically and mechanically. I really want to understand what the fuck I’m doing. Cause I felt bad. The same way I felt like I was a jerk cause I never even had my grade 10, I felt like I’m a jerk cause I’m making a lot of money and people think I’m doing real good, and I am just flailing away. I got no fucking idea what I’m doing, you know? And I thought I really owed it to everything that came before me and I owed it to myself to try and master the craft, and that was part of it for me. For most people, there were other reasons. They were doing their best, or whatever. But for me, it wasn’t enough to be successful and have money – that stuff didn’t matter to me. I didn’t understand why certain needles were doing certain things. I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it.”

“So going to the South Pacific was the other way that I figured like maybe I won’t have to come back and deal with this fucking crazy thing that I’m thinking about. And, you know, I thought and thought and thought, and drew the logo, and thought why are those needles doing that? And the other part of the thing about the South Pacific, is they had been tattooing there for thousands of years. And I kinda figured, well those tools must have developed the same way the imagery did. Like I’m sure they made them bigger and smaller and tried every fucking thing that they could come up with, and this was the best. Like there’s no way, in my mind, that I could believe that the way they made those tools was not the fucking best.”

“So when I got connected to the guy in Samoa, closely, I paid him to make tools so that I could watch how he did it. And I watched and took pictures and measured things with a measuring eye-loop and figured out, goddamn, the points on those tools were like twice the size of what we were using for needles, and blunt, like BLUNT. They called them a comb. We were using like a sewing needle or a beading needle. And the stuff he was using, he was just cutting little teeth into it. It was just like a little saw-tooth. The point was super short compared to a needle. Yet he was tattooing super solid, solid black into people. And that just blew my mind! And I was like, okay, fuck, whatever. That proves to me that a lot of what we’re doing has just been dragged along because – because we have sewing needles and because they work. Okay. So that was part of the thing for me with the South Pacific.”


Campfires & Carbon Episode 4: Jeff Wright


Campfires & Carbon’s mission is to have and promote real, unedited conversation with local tattooers.  Here’s their podcast of a conversation with Jeff Wright…

Bill Baker Interview: Part 1

By Andrew Goodfellow

Reblogged by:


 There are very few tattooers working today that can lay claim to over 30 years of experience. Fewer still are those who can truly be said to have changed the course of tattooing. Bill Baker – artist, icon, entrepreneur, and now part owner of Pearl Harbor Gift Shop – is among those storied few. 

In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect of my meeting with Bill when he agreed to speak with me for Swallows & Daggers. Highly regarded yet notoriously reclusive, Bill casts something of a mythical shadow over the tattoo community in Toronto. Though Pearl Harbor is among the city’s premiere shops and receives constant acclaim, he is rarely glimpsed by the clientele and is extremely selective in taking on new work. Having been tattooed there on a number of occasions, I had yet to catch sight of him even once.

Little wonder, then, that I hadn’t any notion of what my afternoon with Bill would entail. What followed was an incredibly candid and fascinating tour through Bill’s 32 year career. Part raconteur, part machine technology and tattoo history teacher, Bill has managed to remain humble and utterly genuine in his love for tattooing. I learned more from him in the course of two hours than I had in the last two years of my own pursuits in the tattoo world.  I only hope that I can convey our conversation in terms that do justice to the man himself, the immense scope of his technical achievements, and to the work he has crafted since 1981. As recorded in the legendary environs atop Pearl Harbour – known simply as ‘The Hut’ – it is with tremendous respect that I relay his words to the readers of Swallows & Daggers:

“Okay, well let’s see…if you want to bust it down, I guess I’ve been tattooing 32 years. I started in ’81. So then there’s the first part, where I was learning and did my apprenticeship in Calgary.”


Tas Danazoglou

Photos and Interview by Ino Mei


The charismatic and one of a kind Tas Danazoglou spoke exclusively to HeartbeatInk, while tattooing at his booth at London’s “Into You” Tattoo Studio, about the art of the tattoo with absolute honesty and humour.

When did you first get involved with tattooing?

Twenty years ago, when I was 22 years old I began as an apprentice of Mike the Athens. Actually, Mike taught me everything I know. I still feel like Mike’s apprentice (laughs), because he is a such a perfectionist and even now calls me and tells me “what you did wasn’t that good, you have to do it like this”. He is also one of my best friends. We are like brothers.


What were you doing previously?

I was a radiologist’s assistant.

How did drawing come into the picture?

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. My father was an amateur painter. Perhaps I was influenced by him. But yes, I definitely drew.

How did the transition from drawing to tattooing happen?

It’s kind of funny. Mike was my tattoo artist and because he likes music I used to record cassettes for him with death metal bands (I think he still has them) and I would paint their covers. At some point, after seeing my designs, he asked me to become his apprentice. I had never thought I would become a tatooer…


Swallows & Daggers Interview with Mike Shea




For those who don’t know you, could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Mike Shea, I make tattoos at Redemption Tattoo in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. I have been tattooing professionally for 13 years.

You co-own Redemption Tattoo with Erick Lynch.  How did you both come to the decision to open your own place?

Well tattooing was illegal in the state of Massachusetts until 2002, and up until that point Erick and I had been working in New Hampshire at different shops.  When it finally got legalized in Boston, we got together and decided it would be good timing and a good idea to try and make a move and open something up, so we went for it.

Can you tell us a little about the shop and the artists working there?

Our shop is a custom tattoo shop that does walk-ins whenever there is time to do one (most people these days want something custom to some extent). As for artists at the shop, we have Josh McAlear who’s been with us for about 5 years now, Ben McClellan who’s been with us for almost two years, Salty Dave who was our apprentice and pretty much now does his own thing and is starting to tattoo full time, Joe Bastek who has worked with us for a few years but now does one day a week with us, Jeff the shop guy who makes our lives easier, and myself and Erick.


You asked, Dave Tevenal answered

By Kevin Miller

Reblogged from:


A while back, we posted an open call for interview questions for Dave Tevenal onInstagram and Facebook. We sent Dave more than 200 questions and he picked his favorites to answer. Those of you whose questions were chosen should get at us in the comments below for your (much coveted) Tattoo Snob sticker.


tattykat89: as you know there has been a recent saturation in the tattoo industry and culture. after reaching the caliber of finely tuned skill and recognition, how have you been able to maintain being motivated and humble?
Making sure I stay constantly inspired would sum up one part of the answer to this question the best. Inspiration is the fuel for motivation. I find it in a lot of places. Old comics, western traditional tattooing, Japanese traditional tattooing. It all lends to what I strive to create. I also love following other tattooers who are slaying the damn game right now. I see face melting shit on the regular, and those moments push me to try something new and different.

thomrein: do you ever feel your drawing or marker work is beyond your tattooing or vice versa?
No. The considerations for the two are different, but I try to find harmony between the two (if that makes sense). I want people to see either my tattoos and art and realize who made them. Technique and application is different for the two, and you have to be mindful with what medium you’re working in.

cotyart: of all the places you traveled overseas, which was your favorite and why?
London, England and Berlin, Germany. London was my first overseas trip and convention combo. I was floored to be working in the same building as Filip Leu, Shige, Valerie Vargas and so many more. It was emotionally and creatively overwhelming and I fight everyday to remember everything I saw and experienced like a vivid photograph. It changed my tattoo career forever and put some pretty awesome people in my life that I otherwise would not have had the pleasure of being friends with. Berlin was my first extended stay in mainland Europe. It was amazing to see the difference in east and west Berlin, and to wander a city with so much history all by myself. I got to work at Lowbrow Tattoo Studio and made some awesome friends. It was the gateway to much of the rest of Europe that I got experience recently. It was another pivotal point of experience in my career.

thedudeabides87: If you could hardstyle one person (living or dead) who would it be?
Sitting Bull.

jezratattoos: what do you feel is the most important thing to give back to the industry?
A sense of wonder, wrapped in some inspiration, served with a side of humility. With a tall glass of honesty.<

tattooingbywhitney: when you get burned out or feeling stale what do you change up to get inspired again and your head back in It
Aside from previously mentioning to stay inspired, my daughter doesn’t know what a burn out is. I love tattooing with all my heart, but it is also how I provide for my family. And that primal urge to provide for my offspring reminds me to tuck my pussy back in and get to fucking work.

rudeboi209: I believe with the popularity of traditional and Neo traditional it won’t be long until a artist that’s certified changes the game again by simplifying or adding unused light sources like a new school/traditional hibrid. this is actually happening now as we speak, what are you’re thoughts on style mash ups and the merge of styles
I think its cool. I’ve been grouped into that crowd I feel. Too new school to be traditional and too traditional to be new school. I think when different disciplines in tattooing come together (if implemented well and with some real thought behind it) you can expect to see some pretty awesome things happen. Approaches to tattooing that has hidden beneath our noses this whole time.<

xxlowlifexx: Do you think sponsorship is killing the industry? Less about art more about pushing products out remover when I good tattoo spoke volumes
Absolutely. Tattoo artists are not NASCAR drivers. The point is making tattoos solid, clean, bright, and awesome. To satisfy your client to the best of his or her expectations. Not to make a tattoo that only looks good the day it was made at some bullshit convention, to win an award, and hashtag thirty fucking products from your ink all the way down to the fucking rinse cups. It’s dumb. I used to be this way, I didn’t know any better and thought that being sponsored was some sort of legitimacy. After about a year of that shit, I started to feel embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I realized I’ve been acting a damn bafoon the whole time and was taking away from tattooing the very thing that mystified me about it. It’s a time that I can’t take back but taught me what tattooing was really about.

beardedtattooedvagabond: who or what was your biggest influence growing up that you can look back on and thank today for where you are now?
My father. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand times. Dude is my fucking hero.


DOC INK Episode 1: Teté

Doc Ink is a brazilian  web series of short episodes featuring some of that country’s most respected tattooers. It was introduced to us by São Paulo-based tattooer Nico Acosta.
Enjoy episode #1!


An Interview with Amanzio Nascimbene

By Molly Kitamura

Reblogged from:


I just met Amanzio recently but it was immediately clear that he is a talented guy that lives life to its fullest! Not only is he a talented chef, but he is a devoted husband and father. And oh, not to mention a lifestyle guru with an amazing blog of his own! With all that going on, I was lucky to catch his time long enough to do this interview for me. We even decided to trade interviews! Thank you Amanzio!

Please read on…

An Interview with Alex McWatt

By Crystal Morey


When I first met Alex McWatt he immediately demanded to know where I lived, in Japanese. It caught me off guard but I answered him, in Japanese, and that was it. I passed the test and we were friends. I believe the next night ended in an odd hand poke circle of amazingness, but that’s a whole other story.

Tattoos Still Taboo? NPR Interview

NPR Interview by Michel Martin


Now we’d like to talk about another way people show off their sense of style. According to a 2012 Harris poll, about one in five Americans now has at least one tattoo. And in a country of more than 300 million people, that’s a lot of tattoos. But it is still the case that not everybody is comfortable with them. Here’s a clip of actress and comedian Margaret Cho talking about her mother’s attitude toward her tattoo.


MARGARET CHO: My mother does not like my tattoos. I don’t like tattoo.

Ben Siebert SLC International Tattoo Convention 2013 Interview for Tattoo Artist Magazine (VIDEO)

Video by Luke Holley


Marina Inoue SLC International Tattoo Convention 2013 Interview for Tattoo Artist Magazine (VIDEO)

Video by Luke Holley


Stacie Jascott SLC International Tattoo Convention 2013 Interview for Tattoo Artist Magazine (VIDEO)

Video by Luke Holley


FRANK151 Leaders Video Featuring Daniel Albrigo

Courtesy of FRANK151 (more…)

Brian Bruno SLC International Tattoo Convention 2013 Interview for Tattoo Artist Magazine (VIDEO)

Video by Luke Holley