In 2011 I was fortunate enough to tattoo three different collectors at the Hell City Tattoo Convention. Collectors are a whole different breed of tattooed clientele. They are passionately seeking out specific tattooers, and getting pieces tattooed on them that signify and highlight the work from that tattooer, no matter what the subject matter of the piece is. A collectors passion alone always makes it an honor to tattoo them. During the weekend I had a friend that is very close to me tell me, "Hey, you keep going on about how awesome it is that collectors love everything about tattooing, how about you write a blog about the collectors, like the one's you write about tattooers." She was right, why didn't I think of that. Genius. After Hell City, I decided to get a few of them together so they can tell you their stories, I hope you enjoy.
I first met Jason Taylor at a party at Hula Moon. My close friend Famous Gabe is the owner of Hula Moon in Pensacola, Florida. Gabe and the Hula Moon crew throw some pretty epic parties there, the kind of parties you spend the whole year talking about and are constantly looking forward to the next one, kind of like the graduation party from "Say Anything". From the first time I met Jason, I knew I liked him, and the more we talked, I realized why. Jason lives in Gulf Breeze, Florida, and he is one of the only collectors I know of in that area, and he is passionate about it. I was excited to see the work he had when I met him, beautiful pieces from Gunnar, Jesse Smith, Scott Irwin and many other tattooers that I truly respect and love. That being said, I was honored when Jason asked me to do a piece for him, and even more honored when that piece turned into more than five or so pieces. During the time that I tattooed Jason, we really got to know each other and learn the different struggles and life experiences we have dealt with in the past. Together, we have both made the effort to take steps to living more positive lives, and not let the negatives take hold. Always living each and everyday with a positive mental attitude, or PMA. I also learned how much Jason respected tattooing, and whenever anything was even mentioned about the subject of tattooing, he has a glimmer in his eye. Crossed with a reverence to not over step boundaries about a practice that is thousands of years before us. I think many tattooers could learn a thing or two from the amount of respect this man has for the trade. Here is Jason's story about his love of tattooing and being a collector.
"My first interests in tattoos and being tattooed stemmed from my grandfather. He had the classic crawling black panthers on both biceps. I was into art as far back as I can remember and it fascinated me that you could have it on you permanently. At probably 13 I tried to give my self a tattoo with a needle wrapped in thread and some India ink I acquired from art class. I still have a small black blob on my thigh from it. Initially it was a cross. From there I was tattooed by a biker shortly after my 18th birthday, and then some lady in Texas while I was in the air force less than a year later. Both of these tattoos were nothing to be proud of and nothing like the images in the tattoo magazines that I bought whenever I could find them. One day a friend of mine came over and had just come from the local tattoo shop with a nice solid tattoo. That's when I think realized that you get what you pay for and that's also when I started getting tattooed fairly regularly. Gunnar was the first person I started paying attention to regularly in the magazines and I remember telling my buddy's that I wanted to get tattooed by him. I think i was 19 maybe 20.”
“It took me 10 years to make it happen but it happened. I also pursued getting tattooed by Will Lollie after seeing his work in a magazine. He was working at hula moon in my home town at the time and I was going to be back home on vacation. I remember him being really nice I'm pretty sure he came in on his day off to tattoo me. It meant a lot to me and it was such a positive experience that from that point forward I decided to just wait it out and get tattooed by the people that I admired in the magazines. I understand people getting comfortable with one artist and just going back to that person over and over because they found a connection with that individual but i feel like they are selling themselves short. Collecting tattoos has changed my life. I don't know if it is just dumb luck or what but I have met some of the best humans I know by hopping form artist to artist. I think completely differently thanks to the conversations I have had with Scott Irwin, Sean Herman, and Adam Hathorn. I've been tattooed multiple times by some people when the initial intention was to just get one piece and move to the next guy because I liked them as a person and wanted to hangout with them again. Not to mention I get to look at art everyday that makes me smile from some of the best in the business. My life is richer having met the people I have getting tattooed. There are so many humble down to earth amazing artists tattooing today that I'm sure my list will never end.”
“On the other hand there are a few more people in the business with the rock star egos than there used to be and i personally would rather support one of the manny other talented people that do it for the love and not to fuel their ego. Most of the people I have been tattooed by I hadn't met prior to getting work from them and every one of them have been awesome even the biker that did my first one was a pretty rad guy. He had fangs and tried to talk me into a Viking skull."
Continued in part 2.
SOURCE: TATTOO ARTIST MAGAZINE BLOG