Specializing in American Traditional tattoos that stand the test of time, Jon Bass, artist and owner of Tailor Made Tattoo, a Madison tattoo shop, shares his thoughts on tattoo trends while taking us on a journey down the rabbit hole.
Tell me about your Madison tattoo shop and the artists:
We are a mostly traditional tattoo shop. A few of the guys here get into Sci-Fi and Asian work,as well as black and grey. Dave G is one of the best script lettering guys that I've ever worked with. We try and cover as many bases as possible.
What tattooing style do you specialize in?
I work in the "American Traditional" style. Bold outline,black shading and a limited selection of color. I think that style looks great and ages well.
How do you find new inspirations for your tattoo designs?
I get inspiration for designs by looking at old advertising, old flash designs, taking photos of nature and paying attention to my surroundings. My clients usually have pretty good ideas,so, I'm pretty lucky in that respect.
What has being a tattoo artist taught you about yourself:
Being a tattooer has shown me that I'm very good at problem solving and working in the most awkward of situations.
My greatest strength(s) are making a design that fits the space,the body and the person , I also tattoo fairly quickly and I think that's nice for the client.
Your greatest weakness:
My greatest weakness would be working in black and grey. I have some work to do in that area.
Have you ever tattooed something on someone that you later regretted? What was it?
I don't really have a tattoo that I specifically regret doing for or on someone, but I regret not having a firm stance with people when I was first starting out in tattooing. I would let people push me around a bit too much when it came down to the design. 13 years later, I have no problem saying "NO" and being very honest about what is a good or bad idea.
What personal sacrifices have you made to become a professional tattoo artist?
I sacrificed everything to become a tattooer. I worked 3 jobs and did my apprenticeship at the same time. I had an 18 month stretch of sleeping about 4 hours each night because I needed to work on flash and read the books that my mentor wanted me to know from front to back. I came in early and stayed late and I did all of the worst possible cleaning tasks at the shop. I was broken down so that they could build me back up and I'm thankful for all of it.
Describe a time you where you believe your talent truly helped someone?
I hope that I help everyone that I tattoo and work with a little bit. People get tattooed for a lot of different reasons. Love,life,death,heartbreak,happy,sad,some just do it for the fun of getting a new tattoo. Whatever the reason, I hope I help them out in some way. I try to give everyone my best work.
When you aren’t tattooing, you can be found…
When I'm not tattooing you can find me painting in watercolor,drawing,building machines,gardening and cooking. I love cooking. It's a great way to get creative and have fun! Making something that's really, really delicious and beautiful that's going to be destroyed in less than an hour is a very liberating exercise.
Thank you for your time and the interview
Thanks for having me!
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