BAW: I have read on your site that you have received an associates degree
in fine art in 1997. How has this helped you in the tattoo world and would you recommend
this kind of education before someone considers tattooing?
JS: Schooling definitely helped me as an artist! I went to better
myself as an artist and to learn more about painting and color theory. I would recommend
going to college to learn different aspects of art but not to expect to get an education
in tattooing there.
BAW: Who are your influences and who do you trust with
your own ink?
JS: My main influences are Jef Whitehead, Scott Sylvia, Chris Conn, Mike Wilson
and Dan Higgs. I have great respect for all the old time tattoo artists that have come and
gone, especially Sailor Jerry Collins. I also love the work of Cory Kruger, Joe
Capobianco, Marcus Kuhn and Chris Trevino.
As far as the art I wear on my own body, I have work from Jef Whitehead, Cory Kruger,
Marcus Kuhn, Dan Higgs, Joe Capobianco, as well as several others.
BAW: Do you have a particular artist you would be interested in working with or
JS: I am currently working with some great
guys , including an amazing Tattooer named Marcus Kuhn. He lets me pick his brain on a
daily basis (Thanks Marcus). I would also someday like to work with any of the above
BAW: What is your favorite style of work?
Traditional American, although I am also very
fond of Japanese style tattoos. I like anything that is bold and bright. I like tattoos
that read from across the street, they look good and will hold up for alot of years.
BAW: Tell us about the first tattoo you gave?
JS: It was a heart and banner on a friend at my house. I drew it on with a pen,
and wiped the pen off half way through it and freehanded the rest (sorry Randy). I still
need to fix it one of these days. I must add that I was much better prepared for my second
tattoo after that first experience.
BAW: What is your most memorable / outrageous tattoo
given and why?
JS: That would be the one tattoo I did on my wife. It's tough to do a
tattoo that you have to snuggle up next to. She had been begging me for years to tattoo
her and I finally did a couple months ago. It ended up being a great experience for both
of us. I also tattooed Marcus Kuhn a couple weeks ago. It was the first time tattooing
BAW: Have you ever inked anyone famous and what type of work did you do on them?
I tattooed a NY Jets player recently, but that's about
BAW: What could you say was or is your greatest technical
challenge in the business?
Searching for the perfect tattoo machine...the
one that doesn't exist!
BAW: Is there a part of the body you won't Tattoo and
JS: No faces!!!!! I don't want the
responsibility of it.
BAW: Do you support supply co. that sell to the general
If I said no, I would be a hypocrite! That is
how I got started. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to meet a great artist and a great
friend who was free with information. He is the main reason why I am still tattooing
BAW: Do you feel that there now should be mandatory
schooling for soon to be tattoo artists?
I feel they should have to take a class on bloodbourne
pathogens, and a course on proper sterilization. Artistically, it is hard to say. I guess
I just hope that soon to be tattoo artists would have the artistic skills needed to
tattoo, and the drive and determination to want to learn all they can about it.
BAW: Do you feel Tattooing has changed over the years,
and if so why?
Yes, it has grown in alot of ways. Not only are
there better sterilization methods, but artistically as well. There are so many wonderful
tattoo artists out there.
BAW: Do you think it is important to do as many
conventions and shows as possible and if you do attend do you make it a point to attend
guest lectures and seminars?
I personally have only worked one show and it was tough
(ask again after a few more). I attend as many conventions (as a supporter) as I can when
I have the time off. I have attended Dave Long's Machine seminar twice and would take it
again. I would also like to catch Dave Gibson's lettering seminar. In New Hampshire, we
take a course every year on bloodbourne pathogens. I think everyone should take it.
BAW: What could you recommend the best way to go about
getting a tattooing apprenticeship?
Gather all of your drawings and go to as many shop as it
takes. Also, never pay for an apprenticeship!!
BAW: Do you have any ideas or thoughts about how the
business can eliminate scratchers.
I get alot of emails from people asking
questions about tattoos. I always tell them to feel free to ask the artist questions about
their sterilization procedures, and I always tell them to look at an artist's portfolio.
If the artist doesn't have one or if they don't like what they see, they should find
BAW: Please share any other comments or views or questions
to the public you might have.
JS: I would like to thank my mother and my wife for being the most understanding
and supportive people in my life. I would also like to thank all the tattooers and friends
who have helped me over the years to be able to make a living in this crazy business. To
my customers, thanks for trusting me to give them one of the few things they will have