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Paul Roe Custom Tattoos

Name: Paul Roe



Location: Washington DC USA

Your Website & Url:

How many years in the biz:6

Your shop website & Url:

Hobbies & Interests: Design of any nature, Anthropology, Tattoo History, Travel, Photography......

BAW: What made you want to become a Tattoo Artist?

Artist: I got my first tattoo at age 17 in the UK and I don't know why I didn't see the potential of the art form then, it was to be another 13 years before my second tattoo which open my eyes to the possibilities and limitation of the medium of skin, a challenge that I had to rise to.


BAW: Who are your influences?

Artist: I was apprenticed by several tattooist but the most influential was not "teaching" me he was a co-worker who tattooed my right arm half sleeve, Mark Marcus. He taught me more about the ethics and integrity of a tattoo artist than anyone else. His sense of structure and flow in a design really made me take the profession far more seriously, relating classical "art school" theory to tattoos.


BAW: What is your favorite style of work?

Artist: As an artist I've always had a hard time trying NOT to tie myself to one style.


BAW: Tell us about your first Tattoo experience?

Artist: I have a Japanese bat on my left pec. flying out of a cadmium red sun. The tattooist knew that I wanted that particular ink and that it was toxic so he put me off for several months until I convinced him to do it. I fainted and he finished it off! I woke up on the steps outside with a brand new tattoo and a case of blood poisoning that lasted about three weeks. Ah....Good Times.....


BAW: What is your favorite piece you own?

Artist: My right fore-arm, a large pacific octopus with finger waves, two sea horses, a clown fish and lots of bubbles.


BAW: What is your most memorable Tattoo given and why?

Artist: I'm finishing off a full sleeve of "organic-mech" which the client, a long standing relationship, asked me to freehand the whole thing, no preparation just do it. I've sweated bullets over that for almost 90 hours over the last two years.


BAW: Is there a part of the body you won't Tattoo and why?

Artist: Erectile tissue, such as a nipple, is just not suited to ink retention. 


BAW: How do you feel about female Tattoo Artists?

Artist: With my hands I would imagine, no really, just kidding. They rock as hard as the males in this business if not harder.


BAW: Do you support supply co. that sells to the public?

Artist: No.


BAW: Do you feel there now should be mandatory schooling for soon to be tattoo artists?

Artist: Yes, absolutely. At least a year of art theory and drawing skills before the aspects of tattoo design, not application, can even be brought up. Another year of various mediums, paint, pencils, sculpture and digital design and then, and only then, should the apprenticeship begin.


BAW: Do you feel Tattooing has changed over the years, and if so why?

Artist: It has gone in and out of the public favor for thousands of years. We can see this in every culture on the planet. We are currently more excepting of tattoos in this (USA) society. Now if we can get them into the Art galleries, we can make some progress.


BAW: Do you think it is important to do as many conventions and shows as possible?

Artist: No not really. The clique of big convention holders and their friends reminds me of high school too much.


BAW: What advise can you give to someone who is starting or

looking to get into the tattoo business?

Artist: Read everything you can about tattoo history and culture, research and learn all you can about art. Practice. Repeat. Then go find yourself a teacher, one you respect, this may take a very long time. Be patient.


BAW: What could you say to someone who has had a bad first Ink experience?

Artist: Bad tattoos happen, I've made mistakes on what was put on my body and by whom. It does not have to be a negative, I do a superb line in cover-up and reworks (sadly too often) your next experience will be better with a well researched artist.


BAW: Please share any other comments or views or questions to the public you might have.

Artist: The tattoo as an art form comes into itself when it fits the body. It is a permanent garment and should be approached as such. Careful planning, good design and a strong and trusting relationship with a solid artist will get you the tattoo you deserve. It should flow with the structure on which it is tattooed. And it should be as unique as you are. No flash.

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