Are Tattoo Artists Injustly Affected By Covid 19? We Ask One To Find Out
What About The Tattoo Artists?
If you have a business, it’s safe to say that you may have been affected by Coronavirus somehow and to me tattoo artists got it worst than almost everybody. While the government has drawn the line about what is an essential service or not, there are entrepreneurs all over Quebec who decided to not let this be the end
all be all and actually raise questions about how this pandemic is affecting small businesses all over the globe.
We spoke with the legendary David Z. James, a tattoo artist who made a name for himself for nearly 3 decades by pushing the limits of the tattoo industry. From tattooing 28 000 feet above ground (breaking a Canadian record in the process) to putting together tattoo conventions with artists from all across the world. It’s safe to say that most like his art, it’s a permanent thing between him and the tattoo world.
In the interview, we ask David how he thinks brick and mortar businesses and the tattoo world is going to rise again from the pandemic and as expected he gave us an unfiltered/raw trip into his creative mind.
Where do you find inspiration for your art?
I love a lot of styles, forms of arts like graffiti to old school painters, tattooers and entrepreneurs .
My bests are : Le Caravage, Salvatore Dali, HR Giger,Tintin, Filip leu, Richie Bulldog, Guy Laliberté, Horiyoshi3, Devildriver, Mister Cartoon, Estevan Oriol, Norm,Trigz, LA Originals, Dany Diablo, Sane2, Imago Tattoo’s Safwan, my wife my baby girl, my 2 boys, family histories and many, many more. All the originals ones
You started in 1991, what keeps you motivated these days?
Tattooing, arts and living my life with my partners, friends and family around the world.
How did you came up with the idea for your record of tattooing a TV personality 28 000 feet above the air?
it s a Felipe Del Pozo Idea, just ask him! More seriously, he wanted to produce a spectacular event to help the cause of young people in difficulty from Montreal’s Dans la rue de Montréal and Québec’s Au Trait d’union. In the United States, Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee and Justin Bieber were tattooed 40,000 feet in the air! We managed 28,000 feet above the air the first time on a Chrono Aviation plane. With Felipe, we are developing a new idea to beat the world record!
Even though there’s competition, you seem to care about bringing artists together through events and projects. Why is it so important to you?
Because i’m a real original one they said. 30 years of tattooing around the world. I’ve met a lot of people during my trips and they gave me that “tattoo essence“, the real fire. So since, I try, over those years to re-give all that knowledge and power to the young artists from the streets and ghettos :
real ones, our kids, our futur. TTWO our future foundation.
How do you separate the artist from the businessman
After all these years, I can say I m both of them now and i’ll never separate again the artist from the businessman . A big brother showed me the best way to do it so now I do everything ALL by myself with the James family which is a really good team. it’s a family business.
What do you think about copycats?
Fuck that shit..next!
What is the wildest tattoo you’ve ever had to make?
I did a hair tattoo on François Sagat in the early 2000’s. One shot, all black, five hours to did it. He’s a true warrior and a legend.
What are your 3 keys to success?
Working ..Working …Respect.
The tattoo industry got hit severely by Covid-19. Do you think tattoo artists should open brick-and-mortars in the future?
We will see. I can’t answer because I’m not a Gypsy. Let’s go back to work together, 2021 will be better.
Felipe Del Pozo, Safwan & David Z. James
What is the most challenging aspect of the pandemic for tattoo artists?
In your open letter, you talk about the fact that tattoo artists already had sanity guidelines to follow that are quite similar to hospitals. Do you think it was fair to be put on lockdown and how tattoo artists will adapt in the future?
For sure, we’ve lockdown our shops on Friday 13/03/2020 to assure our safety as required by the government and like all other Canadians we’ve been waiting since.
Now we will l continue all the good work we started 30 years ago and keep our community on top. Tattoo is The ”10ième art ” for us .#fuckcovid19
On the business side, how can a company with a physical location can plan and survive to a lockdown in your opinion?
You know i m a self made man. This Time it will be really hard for every Canadian. While 9-11 was happening, I was Working on a project in New York when the twin towers fell. It was a war zone and we’ve won and we’ve adapted . We must adapt to a new way of life in 2020.
Some viruses are more vicious than terrorism, like the black plague in Marseille France. Over 85 % of the population died in just a month . All this to say that we must remember, learn and we must protect our families.
Is there any project you’re working on once the lockdown is over?
A lot, we are booked in many new projects with my hermano Felipe del Pozo like a new campaign Tous Encrés in collaboration with many stars and friends from all around the globe. We have a world tour coming as soon as we can fly again, with 13 dates.
A family road trip ,.an original series is on the way. We’re going to Paris ,Moscow ,Los Angeles Miami ,NY, Montreal, a real inside view of our crazy family but not a reality tv show. TTWO the Original Series is our trademark and brand.
We also have Ink’n’Road 3 Montreal edition coming . We will Keep on tattooing and living a good life.
To celebrate the opening of his tattoo in the province, David Z. James is doing an exclusive tattoo session on IG LIVE via the Cyns Tattoo Barber Shop instagram account on June 1st at midnight
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