By Aubrey Trufant
It gives me great pleasure today to be writing the continuation for one of Austin’s finest tattoo shops, Rock of Ages. A shop that has set a high standard for quality tattooing, with style and flare. The knowledge of the craft and the respect for tattoo history resonate throughout the shop with original artwork and vintage paintings. The positive creative energy and work ethic of Rock of Ages proves to be exemplary. I’m happy to have had the opportunity to talk one of Texas’ tattoo giants, the very talented, the infamous, Tony Hundahl...
AT: So... Tony at 32 years of age, please tell us just how long you have been tattooing?
TH: I have been tattooing since 1998, so in dog years... I guess that makes it 94 1/2 years?
AT: How many shops have you worked in prior to becoming a shop owner, and were they all good experiences?
TH: I worked at four different shops and in one way or another... they were all good.
AT: Is Austin your favorite place to tattoo or do you have fonder memories tattooing elsewhere?
TH: Hands down! Without a doubt! Austin has definitely been the best... it’s my home.
AT: Being a shop owner, has it been all you dreamed of?
TH: I never wanted to own a shop, but I love Austin and I wanted to keep it going the way it was at Rock of Ages.
AT: How has it been working alongside Steve Byrne? I heard it’s been a bit of a challenge with the language barrier and all?
TH: No, I speak Limey pretty fluently! (Laughs) I couldn’t have a better partner. I am learning stuff from him all the time!
AT: Do you subconsciously feed off of, or secretly compete with Steve?
TH: It’s no secret, I’m competing with everyone! I feed off of all the guys at the shop.
AT: Who comes to mind when you think of Texas tattooing?
TH: Richard Stell, Dave Lum, Chris Trevino, Jason Brooks, Shaw... Rollo.
AT: So, what imagery or subject matter do you find pleasure in tattooing?
TH: I am there to suit the customer’s needs, but I love crazy stuff and animals!
AT: What about your tools? What are your favorite tattoo machines right now?
TH: At the moment, I use an Aaron Bloomquist liner. It’s awesome... on every tattoo. I use a shader made by Ryan Rogers.
AT: What is the most memorable moment in your tattoo career?
TH: Off the top of my head... San Antonio, Texas for the National Convention back in 1999. It was my first convention, an eye-opener... with real tats!
AT: Do you have any memorable travels or guest spots?
TH: Working at Black Heart Tattoo and the new Kings Avenue.
AT: Do you have a rad tat nickname you’ve been given?
TH: I wish I had a cool nickname, I’m usually the one giving the cool nick names.
AT: Are you the innovator of Value Size tattooing? (Laughs) I have noticed that your work has consistently gotten bigger.
TH: I just assume everyone likes it big! (Laughs)
AT: Let’s talk about your work, or how you live your life... What are you doing nowadays that allows you to emit the sophisticated tattoo work that you produce? Where is it you draw inspiration from?
TH: I get inspired by lots of imagery. Mostly stuff outside of tattooing nowadays.
AT: Conventions... I’m curious how you honestly feel about what Alex and I have done trying to build our West Texas Tattoo Convention?
TH: I think it’s great! You guys do it because you love tattooing... and that’s more than you can say about other tattoo conventions.
AT: Thanks very much! I appreciate your honesty. Off the subject... Do you have a favorite vacation spot or memorable trip that comes to mind?
TH: Inks lake, TX... Good times.
AT: What’s the bartender mixing you up right now?
TH: Nothing... You don’t have to mix up Bud Light.
AT: What would your last words be on your tattoo death bed?
TH: "How the fuck did I end up in a death bed?"
AT: Is there anything interesting you have to say about Alex Trufant?
TH: He’s one of my favorite people alive...
Tony Hundahl of Rock of Ages Tattoo is a class act, a gentleman, a craftsman, an ambassador of the sport! But most of all a long time friend. If you have not had the opportunity to meet or get a tattoo from Tony... What you are you waiting for!? I’ll see you all again real soon. Thanks for reading.
Tony Hundahl is featured in Tattoo Artist Magazine issue #14 and can be found at Rock of Ages Tattoo in Austin, Texas.
(Aubrey Trufant is a tattooer and contributing blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine. Aubrey can be found at Trufant Bros. Tattoo in San Angelo, TX.)