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Tattoo Artist: John Wayne
As a child, John’s parents noticed that he had a knack for drawing and a love for art. Every birthday or Christmas they would get him anything art related, and get him to create all kinds of different things. They would ask him to draw new things all the time to see if there was anything he couldn't do. Being one of those kids who didn't usually fit in with the other kids in the neighborhood, and coming from a small town, John would usually spend a lot of time at home drawing. “I guess being tormented as a kid helped push me to draw more.”
John tried his hand at tattooing “un-professionally” back in 1988, in high school. There weren’t many tattooists in his area back then. He used to draw tattoo designs for his friends to get tattooed by the local guys who were old school sailor and biker tattoo artists. When they would go get the pieces done, they would always complain that the artists never put the details that were in the original design. They would then ask John to tattoo the next design, but he had no idea what he was doing. He had a friend who did some time in county and rehab places show him how to build his own….which he does NOT condone. John tried this approach a few times and hated it. It wasn't until he got back from college, and had taken a 3 year break from tattooing, that he was getting asked again to tattoo people. This time he agreed, only if he had the proper equipment.
John has been told that he is pretty well-rounded in black and gray and color work. He is also into realistic pieces. Nature is a big inspiration for John. The colours of flowers… the way they work together to be so pleasing to the eye. “Movies, which might sound weird, but some directors have a real talent for creating some beautiful lighting effects on people’s faces.” Other artists that inspire him are, H.R. Giger, Salvador Dali, Michaelangelo, Bob Tyrrell, Larry Brogan, Aaron Cain, Guy Aitchison, Markus Lenhard, Joe Capobianco, and Tommy Lee Wendtner.
Depending on what is going on in his life at the moment, John’s train of thought is quite random while working. Regardless, he gets many compliments, as well he should. “I had done a portrait on a girl’s inner arm of her favorite actress and people accused me that it wasn't done by me, but by Bob Tyrrell.” Thankfully, when the photos were shown of John working on it, it was put to rest. “I guess being compared on that particular piece to Bob was a great honor and was truly inspiring to me. :)” The strangest tattoo he has ever done was probably a dolphin in the crack of a stripper’s ass, so when she bent over you could see it, but when she stood up all you could see was the nose. (Lol…wow.)
To create amazing ink, such as dolphins in stripper asses, John uses primarily Fusion ink, and occasionally some Eternal, Starbrite, Perma-pro, and Dermaglo. His machines are mainly Dragonfly rotaries and Mpire Tattoo coil machines.
Advice from John:
“Realize that what you are getting is a gift, and not a right.”
View more of John's work here
Written By: Addie Erwin