My interest in tattoos started at the early age of five. I always wondered why my father had permanent ink on his skin that looked so good. My father was a marine in the Vietnam War and had several tattoos when he returned home. The marks of distinction on the skin really appealed to me even at that age.
The overall memories of life and life’s adventures is the truest meaning of the permanent markings, at least that is the way I have come to understand the purpose of tattoos in my life.
I got started in tattooing at the age of fourteen, I performed a single needle stick with India ink and discovered very quickly that I had no clue what I was doing. At that time you had to have parents signature to receive a tattoo before the age of eighteen, and I wanted a professional one so badly I could not wait.
Many years later I would receive a formal apprenticeship at age twenty-two at the Wizards Lair, after hanging out and doing odd jobs for a couple years. My long time friend Danny Bradham got my foot in the door and then went to work for Augusta Body Art, Inc. when an opportunity presented itself.
My experience as an artist is mainly self-taught. I have not taken any formal classes but have studied many books on the masters and other artists who have written books on how they see what they are looking at and translating that to paper or canvas.
Although I have not had the opportunity to work with artists such as Bob Tyrell, Marshall Bennett, Nikko Hurtado, or Tom Renshaw I admire their work greatly. I have had the pleasure of working with artist such as Danny Bradham, Nate Cameron, Alicia Hill and Jim McGuire and others to many to list. I greatly admire the works of M.C. Escher, HR Giger, and Boris Vallejo.
The mix of fantasy with realism appeals to me and this can be seen when allowed to take more artistic expression with a tattoo. During my first several years I witnessed many changes in the atmosphere of tattooing and had a strong desire to think outside the box and discover what else could be accomplished on skin. Many artists obviously felt the same, and so I began to work towards owning my own studio to promote an atmosphere where artists could branch out and discover new techniques and ideas.
After ten years of working for others Freedom Tattoo Inc. was born in the month of October 2001. In the first years owning a studio I gained a great deal of respect for previous business owners that I had worked under, and the sacrifices they made so I could have a place to gain experience and add to my knowledge of this craft. I learned a great deal over the first five years, and by God’s grace we have been going strong for ten years.
Freedom Tattoo, Inc. has been fortunate enough to employ artist’s that are committed to this studio, and their craft. In years to come I would like to see all of the artists here get recognized for their talents and dedication they have to body art.
A final note of thanks to all of those who paved the way for Freedom Tattoo, Inc. to be a success.