I started tattooing in 1995, and I had opened my own studio by the next year in 1996. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to serve an apprenticeship, even though I had wanted to. I didn’t have the money for one and I couldn’t find anyone willing to take me on. It was the hard way to go for sure. Luckily, I learned how to tattoo safely and be sterile about it from one of my dad’s friends who owned a studio. He helped me out a little in that aspect, but that’s about it; I learned everything else, machine tuning, needle making, piercing etc., on my own. I went on for 7 years in my studio working solo before taking an 8 month vacation. I was getting burned out on doing flash and running a tattoo/piercing studio by myself, so I decided to open Venom Ink Tattoo in Sanford, Maine. My wife runs the front of the store and takes care of the business end; I have another great artist, Chris Chubbuck, working with me as well as an apprentice, who is also a top of the line piercer. I ditched the whole flash shop thing and went 100% custom. It was probably the best thing I ever did for my career. It keeps me sane doing different stuff every day and now I have a GREAT clientele.
Recently I’ve started painting a little with oils and acrylic, not often enough honestly, but I try to when I get a chance. It’s nice to be able to do something art wise that doesn’t have to do with tattooing or a deadline. In the not so distant future I plan to open a second studio, I just need to staff it with top end artists and people that I trust. I specialize in color realism, but I’m not limited to that by any means. I like to believe I’m decent at all styles but I also recognize the persistent need to improve at them all as well. I think any good tattoo artist needs to be versed in a wide range of styles; Tribal, lettering, black and gray, color, whatever. One trick ponies are less impressive to me. Well, that’s me in a nutshell. I work my ass off and I never let up. I always believe there’s room to improve and you never stop learning. You always get out what you put in, in this business.