Welcome to our next 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. Our next tattoo artist is Troy Slack. As a nerdy site we are just focusing on the “nerdy” pop culture aspect, but that’s not all Troy does! Along with the general tattooing questions, we’ll also dive a bit deeper into one of the artist’s favorite pieces.
First things first, let’s get to know Troy a little bit!
Nerds and Beyond: How did you get into tattooing?
Troy: I have always been interested in art, however, I never really took it seriously until I found myself growing bored while working in a factory, doing the same thing day in and day out. A few friends started to show interest in tattoos and wanted me to draw designs for them. Seeing the end result made me think it would be amazing to not only design the tattoo, but to also put the ink to skin. From there I created a portfolio and handed it in to the local studio.
Nerds and Beyond: How would you describe your style?
Troy: I gravitate towards Pop Culture tattoos. Although the look will change depending on the subject and reference I am using, as well as the client I am tattooing. I think I have developed a style that makes my work individual.
Nerds and Beyond: For you personally, what’s the easiest area to tattoo?
Troy: I enjoy the lower leg the most. The skin is tight and generally a lot easier to line and saturate with color.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you prefer to work with color or stick to black and white?
Troy: I don’t mind working with black and white every now and then, but I much prefer color.
Nerds and Beyond: What do you feel are some pros and cons to each?
Troy: I think both color and black/grey can be strong and effective depending on the subject matter and the skin. For example, color is often going to be a lot harder to work with and will fade quicker if someone has a lot of exposure to the sun. Black and grey will still fade, but the tattoos usually have greater longevity. I also find black/grey can heal quicker and better, because there can be less trauma to the skin and less ingredients in the ink for the body to heal. I enjoy working with color more because I can use contrast, bright colors, and different tones to create separation and depth to make the tattoo stand out. Having said that, there are incredible artists in the industry who utilize black/grey and achieve phenomenal results.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you enjoy first timers or veterans more?
Troy: As long as they sit well and get fun tattoos, I don’t mind either way. I find [that] just because someone has a lot of tattoos, doesn’t necessarily mean they sit well. I’m often surprised with how well some people getting their first tattoo will sit. Regular clients (that you could consider veterans) can be more enjoyable because you may be working on a sleeve or big piece for quite a while, you develop a bond with the client, and you both get the reward of seeing the design finally come to fruition after many long hours.
Nerds and Beyond: What’s been your longest session?
Troy: I wouldn’t be able to narrow it down to a single piece. I’ve done a lot of very long sessions, and I usually stop counting after 10 hours.
Nerds and Beyond: Was it long because of detail or size?
Troy: Generally because of both. Detail and size play a big part. A lot of my longer sessions are at tattoo expos, and they can be very long days. If the client is travelling from interstate or overseas, we’ll often sit for longer to maximize their time in the studio. If we are both sitting well and we need that extra bit of time to complete what we have started, we will push through.
Nerds and Beyond: Is there a fandom in particular you do a lot of work for? For example Star Wars, Supernatural, etc.
Troy: Dragon Ball Z has been a popular choice. I also do a lot of Disney and Nintendo tattoos. I’m a big fan of anime like One Piece and My Hero Academia, so I personally love working with those subjects. Marvel and DC comics are another favorite I enjoy working on.
Nerds and Beyond: Where can someone find you and your work?
Troy: I work at Sashiko Tattoo in Mount Barker, South Australia, Australia. I post most of my work on Instagram at @troyslackink. For booking and inquiries, message on Facebook.com/troyslackink or email email@example.com
We asked Troy 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?
Troy: This piece is one of my favorites for a few reasons. I was really happy with how clean this tattoo was and how solid the colors came out. I was grateful to have won “Tattoo of the Day” and “Tattoo of the Show” at the Melbourne Australian Tattoo Expo. The fact it was judged by Keagan, Matt Curzon, and Bridgette Tunstall was the icing on the cake to have my work appreciated by such high caliber artists. The best part of this tattoo is my client sent me a photo of it a couple of weeks after, and it healed better than I could have imagined!
Nerds and Beyond: How did you come up with the design?
Troy: My client had sent me a reference image of the character and I used that as a basis.
Nerds and Beyond: Can you tell us a little about your design process in general?
Troy: I took this image to Procreate to boost the shadow and highlighted areas, added different line weights, and a background to compliment the image.
Nerds and Beyond: How does it vary piece to piece? (Reference photo versus a client description)
Troy: Generally I will ask for a brief description of what they were after or a list of characters in order of priority. If they have any particular images or styles in mind, they can send those through. Otherwise I will source those myself, which sometimes I end up doing anyway if there is something I believe will work better as a tattoo and in a certain area. Because I have been doing this for a while and have plenty examples of my work, my clients are generally happy to let me take the idea(s) and run with it, so I am lucky in that respect.
Nerds and Beyond: How long did this particular piece take?
Troy: I think this took around the 7-8 hour mark, which was earlier than I expected. My client sat really well and had amazing skin, so that helped a lot with the time and final result of the piece.
Massive thank you to Troy for taking the time to talk with us and share a bit of his expertise! Stay tuned for many more parts to this series, and make sure you check out Troy’s work! If you’re in the Mount Barker, South Australia, Australia area, swing by Sashiko Tattoo and get some work done by Troy!
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! You can also check out previous installments in this series here!