David Nash is a very talented local artist who owns the Fallen Art Tattoo shop in Taree. We speak with him about his career path.
Hi David. Tell us about the first tattoo that inspired you to get into the industry?
It wasn’t just tattoos that had inspired me to get in the industry; it was a mixture of things. Ever since I could remember, I have been drawing. I really wanted to become an art teacher when I left school, but I didn’t like doing theory work. So I decided to drop art and just enjoy drawing.
I used to draw up tattoo designs for mates and anyone wanting a picture done. Plus, everyone was telling me to get into tattooing. It wasn’t until I was asked if I would like to become a tattoo artist that I decided, “That’s it! I can draw as much as I want and have a job a the same time.” So … seven years later, and I’m still loving every day of it.
There has been a surge in people getting tattoos in the last few years. Do you think the trend is here to stay?
It mainly depends on the client that you are tattooing. Some may have seen a tattoo on someone’s body and would like the same on theirs. Others may come in and want something for a memory that has happened in their life, or for a new start. Some get a tattoo for the memory of loved ones or people who have passed on.
But I think it has become more busy from the help of the tattoo shows like LA INK, MIAMI INK and other tattoo shows that have been on. And it has made people realise that a tattoo shop is not like it used to be. It’s more of an art form these days.
Who has been the oldest person you have tattooed?
I would have to say that the oldest person I have tattooed was 76 years of age. The elderly woman wanted a tattoo of a Chinese symbol for the memory of her husband who’d passed away. She said she always wanted one, but never had the courage to get it. So she came in and asked if she could get it done, because she said she wasn’t going to get any younger. I didn’t charge her for the tattoo, ‘cause I thought it was pretty cool that she’d had it done.
How many tattoos do you have?
I have a lot. I get that question all the time. I haven’t really counted them. Because I class one of my sleeves as one whole tattoo, I don’t count each little tattoo as one. But if you say how much of my body is tattooed, it would have to be about 70% that’s covered now and still going, and about 80+ hours has been spent on it.
Tell us the whole process from beginning to end to when someone decides to get a tattoo.
Once a client has decided on what tattoo they are getting, the tattoo picture’s outline is stencilled on to carbon paper, latex gloves are put on, then the stencil is placed on to the body part, which will leave an outline of the tattoo.
Once that has been prepared, tube grips are taken out of their sterilised packets and set up in the tattoo machines. Then the needles are taken out of their sealed packets (which are one use only) and fed through the tube grip. Ink is placed into the ink caps, which the end of the tube grip that holds the needles is dipped into.
The part of the body to be tattooed is covered in Vaseline; this will help the existing ink from blurring the stencil or rubbing part of it off. Then we start the tattoo.
What is your favourite style of tattoo?
My most favourite style of tattooing or favourite thing to do is pin up girls and portrait style of tattooing. Most of my regular clients like my style and let me do whatever I like on them, which is good. It lets me push myself and try new ways of tattooing.
What is the biggest misconception about people who have tattoos?
I think people still associate tattoos and tattoo shops with criminals and the biker scene. Tattoo studios have came a long way in the last few years, from when I had started out. They are owned privately now.
Most tattooists now are coming from artists’ backgrounds, like graffiti artists and air brushers trying out new mediums of art. Tattoos these days are becoming more of a form of art then just ink on the body.
You can win trophies and even enter tattoos in art exhibitions now. There is good and bad in everyone. Tattoos are recognised easily on the body, so people assume that they are bad.
“The only difference between tattooed people and non-tattooed people is that tattooed don’t judge you for not having tattoos.” Comment on this.
That is probably the truest statement about tattoos. We don’t judge people about not having tattoos. Otherwise I wouldn’t have a job. I just think some people are quick to judge. Like I said, there is good and bad in everyone. Tattooed or non-tattooed.
Thank you David.