1 Sparta PI
Brunswick VIC 3066, Australia (03) 9388 8959 www.micksquires. com www. my space, convmicksqiures kotpus.com, a u
WHEN YOU PICKED UP A IATIOO MACHINE FQR THE FIRST TIME, DID YOU FIND II EASY TO IATIOI I?
No not really, I was always creative when growing up, I always wanted to become a graphic designer. But I think I struggled "to get a grip on using needles and ink as a medium.. 1 really did stress when outlining, but always felt comfortable with a magnum.
HOW DIO YOU FURTHER YOUR TATTOOING CAREER. 010 YOU OET AN APPRENTICESHIP OR WERE YOU SELF-TAUGHT?
I did do an apprenticeship with Cliris Reid in Geelong, Victoria, I annoyed Chris for about 6 months and worked at the counter in any free time I had serving customers. I was then thrown in the deep, in sink or swim... It lasted only a matter of weeks before I was tattooing anything thrown at me; some came out ok some not so. I do think I observe really well though, if I wasn't tattooing I'd be watching my fellow tattoo is ts and using what I had observed to see if it would work for me. I still do that to this day.
I tliink that going down the apprentice route is definitely the rigiit way to go, but as long as it is with someone with good skills to explain why you would go about a. particular technique in a certain way. I definitely think art school is a big step up for anyone looking at becoming and successful tattooist as well, I never went to art school but if I had, I think I would of learnt a lot quicker and my drawing skills would be better if I had done that. One of my best mates in the industry Chris Lennox was made to go to art school for a year before starting his apprenticeship; the difference it made to his artistic capability is amazing.
SO NO FORMAL ART TRAINING FOR YOU THEN?
Absolutely none at all, everything I know is from reading or from information passed down from other artists. It's high on my priority list to do though; I want to know more of the technical side of why things work the way they do. I really want to know why the choices I make work the way they do.
00 YOU THINK THAI FORMAL ART TRAINING IS BENEFICIAL TO A TATTOOIST?
1 think it depends on the type of tattooist you are but I tliink every artist could take information away from formal training and apply it to their craft. From what I've seen first hand it has made average artists into exceptional ones. Most of the more painterly styled artists tattoo the way they do due to their background.
WHAT'S THE ATMOSPHERE AND AMBIENCE LIKE IN THE STUDIO?
Korpus is the most amazing place to work; we cover most styles of tattooing between us. I work with Steve Cross who is an amazing artist; I have so much to learn from him, Steve's more illustrative in his artwork. Brian Graydon who works in most styles and is so versatile and clean, Miles Monaghan who©
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specialises in large scale Japanese and Jaiyn Relie wlio specialises in American Traditioiial and who I want to be tattooed by next. All of us get along so well and hang out outside of t jie studio, best of mates really. Most guest artists don't want to leave at the end of their stay! '
WHAT ABOUT CONVENTIONS, DO YOU Ctl TO WORK AT MANY?
I've done quite a few now, last year my highlights were "tattoo of the day" at the "Sydney Tattoo Expo" and best of show at the Australian National Convention. I was also privileged to work along side John Montgomery and Joshua Carlton at "Hell City" in Phoenix in the US and fortunate enough to be asked by Gabe to work at the "Paradise Gathering" which is an invite only convention at Hancock in Massachusetts and work alongside Mike DeVries, Josh Duffy and Jeff Johnson. This year I've been at the "Singapore Convention", "Surf n Ink convention" in Surfers Paradise in Queensland, where I was runner up to Nikko Hurtado in the best portrait category. "EftNZ" in Christchurch Mew Zealand working alongside my buddies Byron, Chris and Dave Undead, "The Sydney Tattoo Expo" where I took artist of the show and the Logan
IN AUSTRALIA THERE AREN'T MANY ARTISTS Coilventlon in Queenslaild wliere 1 too]i out
______ Ä_,_ __ _ _ ____ _ _____ __ _ ___ _ „_ _ tattoo of the show. Coming up 1 have "Hell lOING COLOUR REALISM SO I SEEM TO ATTRACT A City in Ohio, thanks to Gaston from FK Irons
LOT OP ATTENTION HERE AND A LOT OP CLIENTS wh0rm shanng a boorh with- "Ink 11 Iron"in
__,__-________________mm w ______ Longbeach, California and now "Tattoojam"
WILLING TO FLY IN FROM ALL OYER AUSTRALIA in Doncaster, K thanks to you Neil!
BUMIY! THAI'S A CRACKING PEDIGREE OE AWARDS. HOW DO YOU THINK PEOPLE AT Ml SHOWS PERCEIVE YOUR WORK?
The response seems to be really good. I think I'm doing well and have a pretty good understanding on how things should be constructed. I'm lucky in a way in Australia there aren't many artists doing colour realism so I seem to attract a lot of attention here and a lot of clients witling to fly in from all over Australia and New Zealand to get work. What I like doing a lot of is mixing traditional style of tattooing with realism which makes most types of artists happy to see that.
DID YOU FIND THAT YOU MANAGE TO STEAL SOME OE THE OTHER ARTIST'S 'MOJO' WORKING AT THE CONVENTIONS?
Totally, I have learnt so much from just watching so many amazing artists doing their thing. Nikko Hurtado in particular has been a big influence in watching what he does with his different blending and colours and so on.
YOU HAVE TRAVELLED PRETTY EXTENSIVELY; 00 YOU ENJOY THAI PART OE YOUR LIFE?
Yeah it's the best working abroad! I've worked in Singapore where 1 found it's more oriental based, which I love, most of my tattoos I have are oriental. The composition is one thing I have so much to learn from. America, which seems to have everything, much like here in Australia but on a larger scale and with so
many talented artists located everywhere and in such remote places. New Zealand is much like Australia but on a smaller scale, its very multi cultural but it also has that deep history within in Maori tattooing which is so amazing!
enough to share a booth with last year at the Paradise Gathering, Joshua Carlton who is a good friend of mine, Stefano who 1 stayed with in NY, Nick Chaboya a top guy, Bob Tyrrell who always sucks me into staying out to all hours of the morning at conventions, ha ha! John Montgomery who is very versatile and who 1 stay with in California, Australia's own Byron Drechsler who has taught me a lot of my techniques that I use within realism based tattooing, Paul Braniff who is one of the greats of Black and Grey realism in Australia, Owen Williams from Melbourne one of my good mates and so good at what he does, Trevor McStay who is Australia's most well known tattooist and many, many more. Paul Acker, Uncle Alan, Boris, Filip Leu, Derek Noble, Shige, Rachi Brains, Robert Hernandez, Paul Booth, and Dave Undead it just keeps going...
DURING YOUR TRIPS ABROAD, HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY PARTICULAR AREAS THAT ARE MOKE WELCOMING TO TATTOOS AND TATTOOISTS THAN OTHERS?
For sure New Zealand, the customs officers as you walk into the country ask where they can have you tattoo them iia ha! I think with the heritage behind it in their country, its just so accepted. I love that place!
WHO ARE YOUR MAIN INFLUENCES, INCLUDING BOTH TATTOOISTS AND THE MORE TRADITIONAL ARTISTS?
My main artists that have influenced me would be Jeff Gogue who I get to paint with very soon, with my very good friend and UK born artist Claire Reid, Nikko Hurtado from California, Mike Devries who I was lucky
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE STYLE OF TATTOOING? CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN STYLE?
My style is realism; colour realism is what I usually get asked to do. Although I love black O
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