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Tattoo Artist: Kyle Scarborough
Drawing was something that stuck with Kyle early on. At around 3 years of age, he took to art, as most kids do, and never let it go. It's what he did for fun. He always felt that something, anything, had to be drawn. It was an outlet for his creativity. Kyle recalls his aunt giving him the “Grey's Anatomy’ book. As a nurse, she felt that it would be a great help for him to understand how the human body moves and bends. At the time he thought this massive book was boring and pointless, but it was always a point of reference when he needed to draw hands or a curve in the face. It was when Kyle came across “How to Draw - The Marvel Way” on VHS that he really grew in his understanding of shapes, depth and dynamic imagery. “Comic books and cartooning were my first true artistic passion. Movies were a huge part of my life so re-creating those images in film was my way of continuing to enjoy what I saw.”
Tattooing didn't strike Kyle as a viable art form growing up because he had yet to experience what it could truly be.
When he became exposed to realism artists and the bold look of neo-traditional work, he finally understood, and ultimately felt that it was the most intense expression of art one can create. It was in 2006 that he approached a local tattooist in his hometown about becoming an artist. He gave Kyle his first piece earlier that year and it was the first time he got to see the process first hand. “I wish I could tell you it was a well done tattoo and that he really took me under his wing as an artist and mentor, but truth of the matter is, he was far too preoccupied in attempting to keep his own financials in order to worry about me, so ultimately I look back and feel I learned more about what NOT to do in both tattoo art and business.”
It wasn’t an “ideal’ apprenticeship for Kyle, and it's embarrassing for him that so much of his early understanding was self taught, and more trial and error than someone in that position should be subjected to. He does, however, appreciate the opportunity, regardless.
The reason Kyle goes to work to perform the "day job" aspect of it all is his love to create art for people, and his daughter. That gets him through the lulls and ruts, but artistically, he can be quickly energized to push himself further with the art of folks like Joshua Carlton, Tommy Lee Wendnter, Robert Hernandez, Sean Herman, and Timmy B. “Guys like that stress me out with how talented they are and it pushes me harder to better myself.” Realism and illustrative pieces seem to be his strong suit. He loves whatever allows him to express himself the most, and feel in control of what he’s creating. Kyle says that he never wanted to be a photo copier when it came to tattooing. In the summer of 2012, he was very fortunate to be picked up as one of the first sponsored artists of Borg Tattoo Machines. He was able to travel more and gain more exposure as an artist. That winter, Fusion Ink picked Kyle up on their roster, and he uses their products exclusively. He currently uses mainly Stealth Lite rotaries, but it depends on the piece.
What is the main thought going through Kyle’s mind as he is working, you may ask? "Don't f**k this up, Tattoo Guy". Or at least that's what he assumes the client is thinking. “Man, it can be a rollercoaster of emotions. I put such an immense pressure on myself at all times. I have to constantly remind myself to trust my knowledge, trust my art and believe in what I set out to create.” As for the weirdest tattoo he has done, Kyle gets asked this so often as small talk, but truth be told, he can't really think of anything he would define as "strange". “Luckily I haven't been in the position to mess with the sillier side of tattoo ideas. I work off appointment only with a fairly understanding clientele base who knows what I'm best geared for.” If he had to answer with something more recent, he would probably go with the George Lucas as Lady of Guadalupe piece. “Nothing is funnier than a massive Star Wars nerd about to piss off his strict Irish Catholic mother.” We asked Kyle if he had ever tattooed any models, and this is what we got…”Don’t think so. Tattooed myself once and clearly I'm drop dead gorgeous, but beyond that, not to my knowledge.” Thanks for the *gigglesnort*!
Kyle also offers tattoo gift certificates regularly to an assortment of different fund raising events and charities. He likes to help support the families of missing children and keeping the financial situation in order for legal fees, cancer research organizations, or the Gunners LEMC organization and the various charitable things they do for military and police in the St. Louis area. He says that he is just honored people would consider his art worthy to use as a tool to sell to the public, and he is thrilled to be been a part of something so positive for so many people.
Advice from Kyle: “Draw your ass off, period. End of story. Can't draw, can't tattoo. I believe this with a passion. Can't argue me off this whatsoever. Shut up, learn, and draw.