Welcome to the next installment of our series “All About Tattooers: Fandom Artist”. Just like the previous installments we’ll be bringing you a short interview with another pop culture tattoo artist. Our next tattoo artist is Jason Anthony. As a nerdy site we’ll just be focusing on the ‘nerdy’ side of pop culture, but that’s not all that Jason does. Along with the general tattooing questions, we get a bit more in depth on one of the artist’s favorite pieces.
Right let’s get to know Jason!
Nerds and Beyond: How did you get into tattooing?
Jason: I started getting tattooed around 1994. I lived in South Carolina at the time. Back then tattooing hadn’t been legalized in the state yet, so we all got tattooed in ‘private studios’ aka: garages, kitchens, living rooms etc. I moved to Arizona in late 1999 and met Taylor Ryan whom would I would later apprentice under. In January 2004 my apprenticeship was done and I started working at EZ Tattoo when it was still in Old Town Scottsdale. There was a lot of walk up in that shop and I think it was a great way to get started in my career. After that I was at Love and Hate for a number of years. I had a falling out with the owner there and left to run Golden Rule Tattoo as a private studio out in Mesa for a short time before opening as a legitimate shop in 2009. Looking back at how inexperienced I was at the time we opened is really sobering. I wouldn’t change how it happened, but I was still pretty green when we opened the doors.
Nerds and Beyond: How would you describe your style?
Jason: My style is somewhere between traditional American and illustrative. I appreciate a lot of the folksiness of traditional work. The way those older tattooers deconstructed imagery into very basic shapes was cool as hell. I typically end up using way more colors in my work than traditional American tattoos use and my imagery leans on comic book or more detail oriented illustrative work.
Nerds and Beyond: For you personally, what’s the easiest area to tattoo?
Jason: Most places are easy if the client sits still, but legs and arms are typically going to be easiest. Tougher parts can include the transition from the neck to the trapezius, the armpit, or the upper inner thigh.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you prefer to work with color or stick to black and white?
Jason: I enjoy both color and black and grey, but people come to me mostly for my color work.
Nerds and Beyond: What do you feel are some pros and cons to each?
Jason: It’s preference really. A well planned and professionally executed tattoo will look good for the duration of ones life.
Nerds and Beyond: Do you enjoy first timers or veterans more?
Jason: It’s really determinate on the individual. Some first timers are way easier to deal with than someone that thinks they know everything and some people that have more tattoos understand how to communicate clearly what they want without feeling intimidated by the process.
Nerds and Beyond: What’s been your longest session?
Jason: I’ve tattooed a person for 8 hours in one session. It was his first tattoo and we completed the outer portion of a half sleeve in that one sitting.
Nerds and Beyond: Was it long because of detail or size?
Jason: There were a lot of particulars in the piece and it was a decent size being a half sleeve. There was a skeleton playing the drums, it had to be a certain drum kit, there were particular clothing items that the guy wanted, and everything was on fire. It was pretty wild.
Nerds and Beyond: Is there a fandom in particular you do a lot of work for? For example Star Wars, Supernatural, etc.
Jason: I’ve (happily) done a LOT of Star Wars work. Legend of Zelda would be next in line and then Tolkien inspired pieces would be after that.
Nerds and Beyond: Is there any character you haven’t tattooed yet that you’d love to do?
Jason: There’s a list for sure: In the Star Wars universe I haven’t done a solid Obi Wan Kenobi yet, I did an Alec Guinness ghost Kenobi, but it was small and more of a background element. Babu Frik was on this list until the other day. D-O was adorable and I’d love to do something with him. Enfys Nest from Solo might be one of the coolest Star Wars characters ever and I’d be super down to tattoo her. Other than Star Wars, I haven’t done Balin or any of the dwarves from the Hobbit films; Rayla, Azymondias, Bait, Callum, or anyone from the Dragon Prince series would be fun; Adventure Time is the best cartoon ever made and I’ve yet to tattoo a full color Finn or Jake, but I am working on a Huntress Wizard currently that I cannot wait to wrap up.
Nerds and Beyond: Where can someone find you and your work?
Jason: I’m on Instagram as @jasonanthonytattooer. There’s also a Facebook page that I literally never check, but that’s just fed by my Instagram account. If I’m not travelling I can be found at the Roosevelt Row location of Golden Rule Tattoo at 918 N 6th St. Phoenix, AZ 85004
We asked Jason to provide a favorite piece, this is what he had to say about it:
Nerds and Beyond: What about this piece makes it your favorite?
Jason: My client asked for a wizard wolf and let me have creative freedom without trying to hard to drive the design. Nothing is better than someone bringing a great idea and then stepping back and letting me do the thing.
Nerds and Beyond: How did you come up with the design?
Jason: The client said “I want a wizard wolf on my forearm”, then I drew this wizard wolf.
Nerds and Beyond: Can you tell us a little about your design process in general?
Jason: Generally speaking I’ll look at a few photographs of whatever subject matter I’m trying to draw, then have those easily accessible as I’m drawing. I also consider where the tattoo will going on the client and try to make the piece look like it belongs there. I used to throw a lot of paper into the recycle bin, but I’ve recently switched over to drawing on an iPad. Now I just delete layers in Procreate as I work out a good looking tattoo. My stuff tends to lean to a more illustrative
Nerds and Beyond: How does it vary piece to piece?
Jason: There will be quite a bit a variance depending on the client. When people bring in a design they’ve found on Google or Pinterest, I’ll try to re-draw it so that we’re not just copying a design. Some people have a very specific way they want things to look and it’s hard to get them move away from that even it means making it a better looking tattoo overall. Clients that I’ve worked on for more than a couple sessions tend to relax on having so much control over the design once I’ve done a few things for them.
Of course there are those people that have complete trust in the process from the beginning and just let us do the thing. That typically makes for an easier time even when they ask to make changes in a design.
Nerds and Beyond: How long did this particular piece take?
Jason: I think maybe 4 hours? It’s been a while since I did this one, but that seems right for the size and placement.
Thanks so much to Jason for taking the time to talk to us and share his process and experiences. Stay tuned for more parts of this series and make sure to check out the rest of Jason’s work. If you’re in the Phoenix, Arizona are be sure to swing by The Golden Rule Tattoo, Jason is definitely someone you’ll want to speak to.
Do you know of any tattoo artist that does amazing pop culture work? send us a message with their social media/email and you might just see them featured in one of our upcoming posts.