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Tattoo Artist: Chris Jones
Around the tender age of eight, Chris Jones decided for the first time to enter into a yearly drawing competition, by drawing a giant tarantula from a photo and submitting it. To his surprise, he won, coming in first place and then again the following two years. This experience made him realize that he had a talent for art.
Not really pushing himself into art until he began tattooing, Chris always took it for granted that he could draw, coasting through art as though it were an easy lesson. When he began tattooing, he then realized that he needed to take it seriously. “More recently I have pushed myself more than ever after being screwed over by a business partner/best friend.” This experience made him take a step back and view things differently.
When Chris decided to make the decision to pursue tattooing as a career he was working in a call center part time and tattooing part time until he came to the point that he couldn’t bear to put a shirt and tie on anymore so he took the leap and began tattooing full time.
Beginning his tattoo career Chris did not complete an official apprenticeship, but began by tattooing himself at home about twelve years ago before eBay and other online sources were popular, so tattoo equipment was not as easy to get ahold of nor were there as many individuals tattooing from home. “I tried to do it the right way though, still had my premises registered with the local EHO and had a sterilizer.” He went to shows in his spare time, tattooed from home for a few years, and read up on the industry taking tips and techniques from whoever he could.
Finding inspiration within pages on Facebook and Instagram, Chris uses these tools as a way to see other artists that he finds inspiring, but this does not only hold for tattoo artists, but other painters, sculptors and graffiti artists as well. The list of artists he finds inspiration from includes Oddboy, Matt Lapping, Cecil Porter, Craig Driscoll, Mike DeVries, Liz Cook, Dan Chase, Chad Chase, Rich Pineda, Josh Bodwell, Bez, David Corden, Simon Bisley; and Alex Ross to name a few.
Chris considers his strong point at the moment to be within color realism even though he does not classify his style as photo realistic, but more of a graphic representation of realism. “Have always enjoyed color and stared off doing New School/graffiti style and have grown from there.” In order to create such phenomenal ink masterpieces Chris uses Dragonfly and Stigma Hyper machines. Until recently he was using a mixture of Intenze and Eternal inks but recently started a sponsorship with Formula 51. “I bought a set of 51’s a while ago and really liked them, especially the skin tones which I use a lot.”
Tattooing is not just about great machines and ink; it involves the very emotion of the artist and client. Christ admits that he is usually just worried about things like whether or not the stencil will hold up, if the hair will look right, or if the customer is going to sit still until he’s finished. “Then about two thirds of a way through a piece, I relax and start to enjoy myself as it all comes together. Think that’s why I enjoy realism so much, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions and has made tattooing exciting all over again.”
Within the tattoo society, there may be famous people, famous ink, or even strange tattoos. Chris has not tattooed anyone famous yet that he knows of, but he has tattooed alternative models and Suicide Girls. His own apprentice is a Suicide Girl, and he has tattooed her plenty. But as far as strange ink, “Hmmmm don’t think I’ve ever tattooed anything really strange, depends on what you class as strange I guess. Sometimes I think the portraits people get on them are weird, but each to their own.”
Recently Chris and a group of 70 artists joined together for a huge charity event, Star Boards, where they painted skateboards in a Star Wars theme and auctioned them off for a local Childrens Hospice called Ty Hafan. The project went well, Chris was able to raise over $5,000 for the charity. To check out Star Boards, visit the website at www.starboards.org.
InkFREAKZ asked Chris what his advice would be for anyone who wants to apprentice and he provided a very insightful answer, “Make sure this is what you want to do for the rest of your life and be sure you’re ready for it to consume you, tattooing takes over your life and you have to be prepared to let that happen, especially at first, it’s not all tattooing what you want and getting in magazines, and winning awards. It’s hard work and you never stop learning.”