Interview by Dan Sinnes
Dan Sinnes: What do you think about the new generation of tattooers? Like people who tattoo for three years and are amazing tattooers?
Steven Burlton: It’s just like we were talking about. They’re well on their way. Of course it’s way easier to get into it and the facets are all open now. There’s no limit to what you can get a hold of, as far as reference materials and supplies and stuff like that...
But getting an apprenticeship I’m sure is harder because more people are eager to do it because it’s on the television, it’s online, it’s everywhere, pretty much. So of course people are eager to get into it. But at the same time it makes the pie smaller for everybody. There used to be secrets – even in the year 2000 it was hard for me to get information that I could see was there but I just didn’t know how to get to it.
It’s nice that there are still some secrets that not really anybody knows, and you’re only going to know the secrets by seeing a lot of tattooers tattooing.
My favorite guy for secrets would be Jeff Zuck. I showed him something (some reference website) and he showed me something back. I wouldn’t have gotten to see anything if I didn’t go out of my way to show him something. It works both ways. You’re not just going to walk up to somebody that you admire and they’re going to tell you all their secrets.
And telling the truth about the tattoo you’re doing and about your work. Not only looking at your work and saying, “Oh, it’s good” and maybe he hates it.
(Laughs) It could be. If everyone was honest...
I know that you love music and you’re playing in a band. Would you like to tell me something about your band?
Not really. If you want me to talk about being in bands and tattooing in general...
I’ve been in bands on-and-off pretty much my whole adult life and of course my young teenage life. It’s kind of fun. To me it just goes hand-in-hand. I almost traded skateboarding for tattooing because I was in a band and I was also attempting to skateboard. It was a good release for me. So once I started tattooing the skateboarding stopped, but I still kept the music thing on-and-off.
Also, it’s definitely another escape from reality, just like tattooing is. It’s something that I’d definitely like to continue but I’m sure it won’t be forever. I’d really like to focus more on painting – oil painting to be specific...
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