Skin & Bone is a combination gallery and tattoo studio. The gallery will exhibit art and ethnographic handicrafts related to tattooing, while the studio will have Colin Dale tattooing alongside various guest artists throughout the year. Through his years of travelling and tattooing around the world Colin has had the pleasure to meet and work alongside a wide range of tattoo artists and experts working in ethnographic and other specialized styles. Amongst these friends, we have hand-tattooists from Borneo, Polynesia and Japan as well as some of the world's leading artists in Blackwork and Dotwork coming to visit. Check the homepage to see some of the work

Friday, 21 June 2013

Tattoo Master Magazine : Russia #21 2013

The latest issue of Tattoo Master magazine in Russia just came out in time for the St. Petersburg Convention. The magazine is a special edition featuring Ornamental Tattooing and features (besides myself) work from Xed LeHead, guest artists at Skin&Bone Dmitry Babakhin and Mike Amanita (from Bang Bang Custom Tattoo in St Petersburg), and my good friend Kai Faust :-)
When submitting work to accompany the interview I thought it would be best to feature more of my hand tattooing as this is how I work when travelling... so aside from a few newer pieces 2/3 is done by hand.
See if you can figure out which is which :-)


Here were the questions they sent to me in English... however I don't know how the editors used them. I asume it was a straight question/answer interview... but I'm not Russian :-)

1.      Tell me please, how have you come to the tattoo art?

   I’ve always been interested in primitive art and tattooing is a part of this. I was probably first introduced to tattoo imagery through Japanese woodblock prints and Native American art. I think that these two things influenced my style the most as well as how I come to look at tattooing.

2.      What an art education do you have?
   I have a university education in fine art with a major in drawing and a minor in photography. I’ve also taken some graphic courses and worked for a time as a Medical Illustrator while I was apprenticing as a tattooist.

3. What painters have influenced you?

   I think that working with cultural and tribal designs that I’m more influenced by sculptors than painters. Painters work on a 2 dimensional surface while sculptors work in 3 dimensions… the human body is 3 dimensionsJ. My favorite artists are those who work with cultural designs but still have their own recognizable style. The work of Bill Reid, Norval Morrisseau and Aaron Kleist are probably the 3 who have influenced me the most over the years. Not so much by their images but by their inspiration… bringing new life to old designs   

4. What tattoo-artists have influenced you?

   Every tattoo artist I have met has influenced me and many of those have become good friends… the list would really be too long and they know who they are anyway. I think more importantly are the non-tattooists who have influenced me. People like Travelling Mick Laukin, Lars Krutak and Chuck Eldridge. I think that their work is more important to tattooing than any 10 artists combined and will last a lot longer than the popularity of any particular style or person
5. How do you demand now? Have you a long waiting list?

   I actually try not to have a long waiting list. I don’t make more money from being booked 6 months in advance as I can only work so many hours a day. Being booked so long in advance only makes it harder to plan my own life. So I try only to take one or two appointments a day and concentrate on doing the best tattoo I can… and I’ve began passing a lot of clients on to other artists instead of trying to do everything myself.

6. What forms of promotion and advertising are most good (effective) for professional tattoo-artist in your opinion? Of course, it is not counting the great tattoos, which he should do.

   Now as in the past, reputation is everything… word of mouth is the most important thing for a tattooist. If you do good tattoos and have a good reputation you will always have a steady flow of customers. A homepage is always good to show what you can offer especially if you have a larger studio with several artists. Nowadays people surf the net more for inspiration than actually going and visiting the studios. However a big international reputation isn’t going to do much for you unless you’re willing to travel abroad to the clients, as very few will have the ability to travel to you. So don’t worry about being a rockstar and concentrate on doing good tattoos… that is the best advertising

7. Do you work only with your own sketches?

   Working with cultural tattooing means that a lot of my designs are historically based. This could mean the style, design or just subject matter… however how I interpret these is from my own tastes and style. Much like the Polynesians who repeat the same symbols, it is how you put them together that makes it personal and artistic   

8. How do you relax?

Relax??? I’ll relax when I’m dead J

9. Nevertheless, you tattooing sometimes as a specially invited guest at some studios and at some tattoo conventions. What conventions do you attend and on what principle do you choose them?

   When I first started attending conventions it was as a means to travel… First back to Canada to visit my family and friends and eventually other places in the world. However the more you travel the more friends you make and over the years I’ve made many close friends whom I only meet at conventions. I generally have a few conventions which I attend every year but now there are also more and more that fill the time in between. Often these are places that I’ve been wanting to visit and just looking for an excuse and other times by recommendations of friends or I know the organizers personally.
   I attended the St Petersburg Convention this year as I‘ve always wanted to visit the Hermitage and see the Pazyryk mummies… however without the help of the convention organizers and Dmitry Babakhin this might never have happened.    

10. In what studios you can work as the invited guest?

    When travelling I usually prefer not to work too much or I don’t get a chance to see anything. I usually just work the convention and then take a few days to see some things.
In St Petersburg I worked at Bang Bang Custom Tattoo as Dmitry has also worked several times at my studio in Copenhagen and he and his girlfriend Maria were kind enough to look after me during my stay.

11. Who from modern (today's) tattoo-artists is most interesting to you?

   Usually tattooists who are working with traditional designs and tools or those who have very distinctive styles. I’m generally drawn towards Celtic and Ornamental work.  I like the Celtic work of Dimon Taturin from Tallinn, Estonia and the Nordic designs of Zele in Zagreb, Croatia. Dmitry Babakhin does excellent Polynesian designs and is a real ambassador for the style in Eastern Europe and Russia

12. What do you know about the tattoo culture in Russia? Do you communicate with anyone of the Russian tattoo-artists? If it is so, how can you assess their level?

There have always been many talented Black & Grey artists from Russia… I remember seeing some of the first “engraved/callous” tattoos coming from there.  I also have a Hungarian book “Tetovált Sztálin” published in 1989 with a lot of images from Danzig Baldaev. However my interest has always been more toward the Pazyryk mummies and the Croatian Coptic tattoos. I remember being impressed by some Celtic pieces by George Bardadim and I’ve recently been introduced to the Polynesian inspired work of Sergei Pavlov

13. Where do you set up the images at all? How are they created? How do the ideas come into your head?

   Cultural designs aren’t just images… there is often a story and history behind these images. Just as the Japanese can create a whole bodysuit around one story, god or hero in their culture, I try to do the same with the Nordic myths, heroes and deities. It involves a lot of research and a love of the history. The more you know… the more inspiration you will have
  After the idea is established I usually work the design out on the body. This often involves a lot of freehand drawing as no two bodies are the same. On larger or more symmetrical projects I may trace or take photos and work it out more on paper, but usually after the freehand drawing I’ll just do the outline and add all the details later as we fill it in.

14. What is besides tattooing and painting on the present carries away you?

   Unfortunately owning a studio and travelling as much as I do, tattooing takes up the majority of my time. In this way I’m really blessed with having a family who is just as interested in tattooing and willing to travel and attend so many conventions with meJ

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