Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Out And About!
I know a few gay tattoo artists. Not many but a few, we are a small bunch compared to the fellow artists whom are mostly male and of course straight. When I took to tattooing I heard on name many times and was taken by the stories I had heard about a certain tattoo artist who to me was legendary. Cliff Raven was a gay man whom worked in tattooing and was extremely successful in doing so. Old School and his work was impressive, that it sparked me to go further. When I was younger I looked to influences of Touko Laaksonen aka Tom Of Finland in my early career that shaped me. Yet Cliff inspired me to become well, infamous. The guys whom trained me and schooled me in the art of tattooing were vital to my flourishing in my direction. Yet Cliff was someone I never met and had always heard of.
To hear folklore of certain tattoo artists was always entertaining and was certain to give good story. Yet Cliff was an enigma and mystical being that I desperately wanted to me and pick his brain. One guy whom knew Cliff and had several tattoos by him commented that he might like me, I liked that he used artist Rex to promote his tattoo shop and it was upon seeing this advertisement at the Tom Of Finland Foundation that I understood Cliff's branding and marketability. He was vital to the promotion and evolution of tattooing. Yet we would never meet. Cliff had semi retired ten years before I would pick up a tattoo machine myself. I have to hand it to Mr Raven along with the guys over at Funny Farm Tattoo. Bob, Jamie, Marc and Luis all encouraged me to simply be myself and be as good as I can be. Still I am nowhere near where I want to be with my work. Yet, I will get there. Wait and see.