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IT’S BEEN OVER A YEAR SINCE THE GRAND OPENING OF BLACK CASTLE ART CO. WHAT HAS YOUR FIRST YEAR BEEN LIKE?  Our first year of Black Castle Art has been amazing at the shop.  We have grown a lot together.  My crew has gone through some cosmetic changes but for the better. I am absolutely ecstatic with the crew that I have now.  We are all pushing forward and all the artists are getting a lot of business. We have a good name and reviews with a write up in our first year in the Phoenix New Times. We are pretty excited to see what the next year will bring…

DEFINE YOUR STYLE OF TATTOOING. WHAT MAKES YOUR STYLE DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE FROM OTHER TATTOO ARTISTS?  I would say my style is a dark art. I like everything to flow and fit seamlessly on the body. I like bio mech organic stuff, I don’t know… just weird artwork.  WEIRD & DARK?  Yeah, what ever it is…  I NOTICED FROM THE TATTOO YOU ARE WORKING ON RIGHT NOW THAT IT’S A FUSION OF BIO MECH. & REALISM. Yeah, that’s one way to put it. Black & grey with a little bit of color… usually I just do black and grey.

LAST YEAR AT THE GRAND OPENING WE GOT TO MEET A LOT OF YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS INCLUDING YOUR MOTHER.  IT WAS A TREAT TO SEE SOME OF HER ARTWORK IN THE GALLERY.  DO YOU COME FROM A FAMILY OF ARTISTS?  Yes my Brother, Mother, Father, Step Father and grandmother are all artists. Everyone in my family does art for a living and they make a very good living at it. DO YOU ALL SUPPORT EACH OTHER AND PUSH ONE ANOTHER FORWARD? My hard work defines me as an artist but my family definitely helped me become what I am today.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO TRANSITION INTO TATOOING, COMING FROM A FAMILY OF PAINTERS?  I gravitated more towards tattooing because there was no crazy, messy clean up.  Afterwards there was no traveling to onsite jobs. Going to and fro at six in the morning. Destinations that were an hour away. Then having to work all day, set up, clean everything up, clean the brushes, scrub the buckets and all that bullshit. Drive back in traffic to get back home and be to exhausted to do anything else,  just to go to sleep.  That’s why I tattoo.  I get to sit here all day and draw pretty pictures on people.

ARE THERE OTHER FORMS OF MEDIA YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH? SCULPTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY… ETC?  Well, I didn’t ever want to be an artist. I was a musician and that’s what I wanted to do for a living. I have been in and out of bands since I was 15 years old. OH NICE, WHAT INSTRUMENT DID YOU PLAY? Guitar mainly but I started on accordion and then my second instrument was piano. I had my own personal piano teacher for like four years. After learning piano everything comes easy. You learn the treble and the bass.  DO YOU READ SHEET MUSIC OR PLAY BY EAR. Hell no I can’t even read children’s books haha.  SPEAKING OF CHILDREN. HOW MANY DO YOU HAVE? I have three kids, a four year old, ten year old and twelve year old. DO THEY HAVE AN INTEREST IN ART LIKE THEIR DAD? They show promise but it’s really hard to say what they really want to do and what their interests are right now. It’s like when I was their age I wanted to be a musician but then slowly but surely I came around to the dark side.

HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA HELPED YOU AS AN ARTIST & YOUR BUSINESS. When I started tattooing, shortly after there was MySpace. MySpace didn’t last that long, I think it only lasted a couple years. That was like the first break in to sharing online and we were finally able to view each others work. So we were all freaking out about it and it was awesome. That’s how people started finding us. Social media since then has blossomed and now we have Instagram, snapchat, Facebook and Twitter and all these crazy ways of sharing.  Instagram comes along with photos where people can comment easily, with a feed that shows everyone that you are following.  So it’s pretty cool. DO YOU SEE ANY CONS TO SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE SHARING OF ORIGINAL ARTWORK & COPYING? How can I put this… It doesn’t really matter. There are going to be those people that complain about it and the people that complain about it aren’t doing a damn thing about it to change it.  You change it on the daily by progressing in your own style so that what people are copying now, is shit that you did a year ago.  So don’t sit there and complain… CHANGE!  So it’s like you say people are sitting there looking online…  You can have a candy dish, you don’t have to eat the candy all the time. It’s the same thing with other people’s artwork, you know it’s going to be on there but I try and not to look at other people’s artwork so much because I want to be my own and focus on my own work. I’m not worried about what other people are doing.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR BLACK CASTLE ART CO. OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS?  I would like to start teaching art classes here. I want to start having big name artists come here and maybe have like four or five workshops a year. Maybe have my mom teach one, Sergio Sanchez and my buddy Jamie lee Parker. Spice it up and bring some attention and little more awareness to the art community as well as the tattoo community.  A lot of people forget that to become better on the skin you need to become better on canvas and paper. You need to be a better artist, it has nothing to with this (points to sleeve he is working on) – this is just a result of what happens over here. (points to one of his paintings hanging on the wall “Mephistopheles”)  I would like to start teaching classes to teach people.  You don’t have to be doing coverups, our whole industry can progress forward, where everyone is doing great work. Pushing each other so that the next generation, cause I can’t tattoo forever, you can’t tattoo forever – to pass the torch and make it beautiful for the next journey.  It took someone to create the first automobile to get what we have now. Now we have Teslas.


Do you have a morning routine?  What are some of the things you do daily that contribute to your daily happiness as a creative? (How much is part of a part of your daily routine is making something?  Waking up and seeing my family each and every morning and getting a high five from my little girl before I leave are most important. Along with exercise and meditation


Tell us about five milestone experiences that have made you the person you are today?  Having my son Aiden gave me the motivation and drive I needed to pursue something. Before him I was a lazy bastard. My family has given me the fuel to be who I am and where I am at today. Beyond those 2 things nothing else matters.


What are some struggles and hardships you have had to endure in your career as an artist that has brought you to this present day and made you stronger as an artist?  It was a struggle to find my identity as an artist and still is something that I struggle with to this day.


Suppose for a moment that you are truly color-blind: all you can see is black and white. Then one day you wake up to find you can now see one color.  Which color would you want it to be? Is this a trick question because I really am color blind. However my favorite color is blue.


If you could walk into any painting and actually experience the moment or scene that it depicts, which painting would you choose to enter? The name of the painting is “The lady shallot” by artist John William Waterhouse. This painting is enjoyable to me because it is calming and serene and I have always loved it. I also find myself thinking about riding in the boat.


We talked about the future of Black Castle Art Co. and offering creative classes that will teach artists techniques and skills to excel as an artist. When will those classes begin and can you tell us more about the curriculum and workflow that you will be providing at BCA? Will you have guest artists come in and teach classes? We have several artists that are interested in coming and teaching classes at our gallery.  At this time there are no dates set in stone but it is a work in progress. This being the first year we have been open the main focus was to progress and grow the shop. However when we do begin the classes they will focus on all forms of art.


Moving forward how do you want your legacy to be remembered? What character strengths do you want to pass on to your children?  Future artists?  I want to be remembered as someone extremely passionate about art. I don’t care if I make an impact on the community as an artist but I just want to inspire and help people pick up a pencil or paintbrush and be passionate about it. I would like to pass on my passion and patience, and persistence to my kids.


What event or activity in the next few months are you looking forward to more then anything else? I am looking forward to the 3 eyes convention in Australia in 2017.

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