6 Years ago Sabin Brock opened up Upper Room Tattoo Company in his home town of Santa Maria, CA. The 35 year old, 15 year tattoo veteran currently has a total of 4 artists working at the shop who specialize in all styles of tattooing. Tattoo.com recently had an opportunity to chat with Sabin about his life as a tattoo artist, his work, his clients and his family.
My career in the tattoo industry just came naturally. It found me. It was my interest in graffiti that introduced me to the art world, and my only choice at the time was to pursue tattooing as a profession…tattooing was my only choice. I believe tattooing chose me.
My preferred styles to tattoo are realistic animals and tattoos with a painterly-style. Some have described my work as striking, illustrative and bold.
The surge of tattoos in the media has made the industry more mainstream. It is a good and a bad thing. The good is that it has become more "cool". The bad thing about tattooing now is the ease of access to tattooing equipment for non-professionals. Everyone thinks they can tattoo now. The tattoo culture has become more accepted and we don't look like trash to the public, so they are a lot more popular with the older generation. While my immediate goal is to finish the next tattoo, my long term goal is to preserve the original tattoo culture and introduce the history to the new generation.
If I had the opportunity to make a change in the tattoo industry, it would be to keep our tools secret and limit the access to the public.
Before you get your first tattoo, make sure to research your artist and your artwork before you make a commitment to anything. My advice for artists looking to get into the tattoo industry; work hard, draw draw draw, take your time, research an experienced artist as a mentor and follow through with your apprenticeship.
My relationship with my clients? "It's Complicated".
My work has affected my client's lives by enriching the way they see themselves and in the case of fixing up old or bad tattoos I have helped a lot of people overcome their past and move forward with an improved sense of self-esteem. I would hope that I have done more than just artistically help people, but that through spending time with my clients I have helped them in their personal life too.
All tattooing should take extensive training, cover-ups included.
Shops have changed a lot over the past few years. Shops have become bigger, better, louder, bolder, and more butter. I prefer to tattoo custom designs but I respect all flash art. It is an integral part of tattoo history and it should be acknowledged and preserved. As for Old vs. New School? I would say I prefer Middle School.
Infinate Irons, DJ Minor Machines, Stigma Rotary, Old Mickey Sharps.
You're only as good as the last thing you do.
A girl passed out after I tattooed her. I caught her on my lap and she happen not to be wearing any underwear. She released her bowels on me, and I had an hour drive home with no change of clothing. One of many memorable experiences…
One of my biggest challenges and accomplishments is being the first man in my family to raise his own children. When I have free time, I like to paint and spend time with my kids.