Most artists tell us they got their start in tattooing because they were inspired by other artists or following their passion and dream to become an artist. Jason Phillips, owner of Good Fellas Tattoo Gallery, has a completely different story, one that would be a great pilot to a killer Netflix series. And after reading about one of his funniest tattooing experiences, you’ll wish you were a fly on the wall at his studio.
Where are you located?
Kansas City, MO
How long have you been tattooing?
What/who inspired you to pursue your career as a tattoo artist?
Ah, fuck. If I remember right, I was at home one night and had a choice to either do laundry or go to a biker party. So I flipped a coin and ended up going to the biker party with a couple friends. Hanging out there for a while, I ran into one of my homies, Austin Penca, who’d always ask every couple months if I had started tattooing. My answer was always, “Not yet.” Well, his friend Adam happened to be there -who was a tattooer- and told me to come by the next day. So I did. I started hanging out there for a few weeks, then one day I was working outside at my shitty groundskeeper job, and four of the guys from the shop pulled up and grabbed me and tried to stuff me in the trunk of a car, telling me I’m quitting that shitty groundskeeper job and starting at the tattoo shop full time. I broke free, and one of them chased me with a taser. We had a little standoff until I agreed to quit. So, that day, I put in my two weeks’ notice and haven’t looked back since.
How would you describe your style?
Black and grey realism, new school, and illustrative
How many tattoos do you have?
A lot but not enough.
Most interesting/funny tattooing experience?
There was this one shop where we used to hit each other in the balls. It was a game. One day somebody told our apprentice to hit Austin in the nuts. Nobody ever hit Austin in the nuts… because you don’t hit Austin in the nuts. Yeah, he kicked Austin in the nuts super hard. It did drop him. He was on the floor– it was bad. A week went by, and Austin was like, “I’m gonna get him. I’m gonna wait.” Then the apprentice was standing there with his fuckin’ legs spread open, settin’ up… like a dumbass. Austin comes and uppercuts his balls– lifts him off the ground.
What is one of your pet peeves as a tattoo artist?
“Can I get a tattoo medium-sized, and how much is it…” That’s like asking, “How much is a bag of groceries?”
If you could tattoo any person in the world, who would you choose?
Besides tattooing, what are you passionate about?
Drawing large scale narrative art pieces, my ’68 Lincoln Continental, and who doesn’t like a good conspiracy?
Tell us about your shop. What can a client expect when they walk through your doors?
Located in Kansas City Missouri, Goodfellas Tattoo Gallery is the city’s leader in high-end tattoo studios. We aim to make each and every tattoo perfect and custom tailored to the liking of each client. Everyone who steps through the doors at Goodfellas is treated like family and welcomed into a luxury setting, unlike any other shop.
Any advice for aspiring tattoo artists?
Respect the history of the craft, be grateful, work hard. Remember you’re being taught a skill that will take care of you and your family for the rest of your life as well as allow you to travel damn near anywhere on the planet while still being able to work, meet new people, do what you love, and enjoy the finer things in life. Oh, and don’t be a pussy.
What is the best way to book an appointment with you?
Email me at [email protected]