Having designed one of the most pinned watercolor tattoos on Pinterest, Bobby Holland, tattooist and owner of Black Shamrock tattoo shop located in Bakersfield, CA, has been an artist since he was nine years old, when his Grandmother shared her love for the arts and taught him a skill that will last his lifetime.
When it comes to tattoo designs, Bobby can do anything. From Black and Grey, Realistic, Traditional, and Water Color tattoos. Part of his secret is incorporating an abstract yet organic flow into his work.
Tell me about your shop and the artists:
We’ve been open for six years; I’ve been tattooing 17 years now. In the shop, we have Jimmy Bertram who has been a tattooist for 24 years, Arjay Gomez who has also been with us since day one, Chris Baxter who is an amazing addition with his broad abilities, Jen Strand who recently relocated from Portland last year, Josh Haidze who apprenticed at the shop under Jimmy’s guidance for two years and has now been a resident artist for a year now. Lastly, we have User the shop dog.
We each have our own style. Jimmy is a wizard of the Japanese arts while having a deep love for American Traditional as well. Arjay is a killer neo-traditionalist, mixing his personal style with classic imagery. Chris Baxter excels in full color realistic influenced tattoos. Jen creates beautiful work with her person neo-traditional style that’s clean and solid. Josh Haidze also has great skill and love for the Japanese arts as well as American Traditional. He also has a great skill passed onto him from his grandfather, sign painting.
How do you find new inspirations for your tattoo designs? I get inspired by the client themselves, my goal is to create a personalized design specifically for that person. I’ll sit down with them, have a chat and catch a vibe. I’ll listen to them describe their vision of the end result, visually and emotionally. I’ll ask what colors they like and what’s their reasons for wanting to be tattooed. I recently finished a V for Vendetta half sleeve. In preparation for this tattoo, I went home and watched the movie, gladly because it’s also one of my favorites. I felt inspired, I took tons of screenshots and compiled various images into a half sleeve design and the guy loved it.
What personal sacrifices have you made to become a professional tattoo artist?
Sleep and time with my family. Its hard when your passion and your job are the same but maintaining a balance is very important. Other than that, it’s been a gift to become a professional tattoo artist.
Describe a time where you believe your talent truly helped someone?
I would like to believe that happens weekly. Just last week, for instance, an elderly woman asked me to tattoo an owl on her forearm in honor of her 13-year-old grandson who had passed away who had a fascination with owls. It can be difficult to hear memorial stories, but I find I’ll use that energy and passion to concentrate on the art and stay focused. In the end, the smile on their face’s makes it very rewarding.
What is the greatest professional goal you have achieved as a tattoo artist?
Owning a shop with a Zen-like peaceful vibe with no drama and team comradery to help everyone’s creativity grow to its full potential. We have an amazing team and we all have a great time together.
I’m also a published artist being featured in art books, DVD’s and magazines. It’s very satisfying to be able to show my Grandmother who was my mentor. I took what she taught me, from pastel, watercolor, to oil painting, and I’ve been lucky enough to turn it into a career to support my family.
When you aren’t tattooing, you can be found…
Oil painting in my garden, enjoying the sounds of the waterfall. Or in my garage working on my project race car or at the race track putting in some lap time.
I’m also into graphic design, videography, and photography. When it comes to relaxing, I’m usually at the beach or spending time hiking and exploring in the mountains with my beautiful wife and daughter.
Published on April 6, 2014 by Jodie Michalak