Welcome to the third installment in the “All About Tattooers: Fandom Tattoo Artist” series! Just like before we’ll be bringing you a short interview with another pop culture tattoo artist, Zane aka Gooney Toons. We, as a nerdy site, will focus on “pop culture” pieces but that’s not all Zane does, so if you want to see more of his work be sure to check him out after reading this piece! Along with the general tattooing questions, we’ll also dive a bit deeper into one of the artist’s favorite pieces.
As always, let’s start off getting to know Zane!
Nerds and Beyond: How did you get into tattooing?
Zane: I was pretty lucky. When I got my apprenticeship, tattooing was still a super tough business to get in to. I had gotten to know Shannon, the owner of STR Tattoo and Art Studio, through being tattooed by him. He saw some of my art and saw potential in me, so offered to teach me to tattoo. At that stage, even though I loved tattoos and getting tattooed, and had always loved art, I hadn’t considered becoming a tattoo artist. After thinking about the offer for a while I took him up on it.
Nerds and Beyond: How would you describe your style?
Zane: I guess it is traditional based, as in it is fairly simple, colorful and bold.
Nerds and Beyond: For you personally, what’s the easiest area to tattoo?
Zane: Arms and Legs.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you prefer to work with color or stick to black and white?
Zane: I prefer to work in color, but don’t mind working with black and grey as well.
Nerds and Beyond: What do you feel are some pros and cons to each?
Zane: I don’t know if I really would describe either as having pros or cons. They are both equally as good as each other when done well.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you enjoy first timers or veterans more?
Zane: No preference.
Nerds and Beyond: What’s been your longest session?
Zane: I tattooed one guy for 11 hours. I don’t like to do sittings that long, but the guy was leaving town and needed it to be done in one sitting.
Nerds and Beyond: Was it long because of detail or size?
Zane: This was due to the size of it, it took up a fair chunk of his arm and his chest.
Nerds and Beyond: Is there a fandom in particular you do a lot of work for? For example Star Wars, Supernatural, etc.
Zane: More than anything I get asked a lot for Simpsons stuff.
Nerds and Beyond: Where can someone find you and your work?
We asked Zane to provide a favorite piece and here’s what he had to say about it:
Nerds and Beyond: What about this piece makes it your favorite?
Zane: I like this piece as this is the sort of thing I wanted to do when I started doing pop culture pieces. I like pieces where you can take an idea from something and make it into an actual design. A lot of the time pop culture tattoos are one of three things. Googled picture tattooed. Googled picture with a flower tattooed. Googled picture with a banner tattooed. Now there is nothing wrong with any of those things, I’ve done tattoos exactly like that and I’ve seen some amazing tattoos that are one of those three things, but it’s always fun when you get to move outside that with a design.
Nerds and Beyond: How did you come up with the design?
Zane: I have a lot of fun taking traditional ideas and giving them a pop culture do over. This one came about from me wanting to do a traditional hand with a pop culture themed flower, and the Piranha Plant has to be the coolest pop culture plant (maybe behind Audrey II).
Nerds and Beyond: Can you tell us a little about your design process in general?
Zane: I don’t know if I really have a design process, as I go about things differently depending on what I am doing. I guess the only thing I try to keep in mind with everything is to make sure each piece feels balanced, and easily readable.
Nerds and Beyond: How does it vary piece to piece? (Reference photo vs a client description)
Zane: If a client sends me an image from something pop culture related and says specifically “I want this”, there isn’t really much of a design stage at all. I’m totally happy to do that, but I do prefer it when I get a description of a tattoo, as you get to talk back and forth with them and work together on the idea and you usually end up with something more creative than they may have first thought.
Nerds and Beyond: How long did this particular piece take?
Zane: I’m not sure, I think maybe around 2 hours.
Thank you to Zane for taking the time to talk with us and share a bit of his process! Stay tuned for many more parts to this series, and make sure you check out Zane’s work! If you’re in the Wyong, New South Wales, Australia area and can swing by STR Tattoo and Art Studio, Zane is certainly someone you’ll want to talk to.
Do you know of a tattoo artist that does incredible pop culture work? Send us a message with their social media/email and you just might see them featured in one of our upcoming posts!