The Detroit based tattoo artist talks about his “PsychoTrad” signature style and expresses his love for basketball and hoop icon Isiah Thomas. Read the interview!
First of all let’s talk about your specific style – “PsycoTrad”. I know you started tattooing in the late 90’s so I guess it took a long time to define “PsycoTrad” in your mind. Is it really so?
It took me a very long time to build the confidence to really start pushing myself to be my authentic self in tattooing. I always tried to do all types of tattoos, but I wasn’t good at all of them. Eventually, I wanted to quit, because I felt like a fraud.
I decided to give it one last try, just doing tattoos in my style that I knew would made me feel good.
People seemed to respond well, so I’m glad I did it.
Do you think your art would have developed this way even if you had not moved to Detroit at a certain point of your life or is there really something magical about this motor city?
There is definitely something awesome about Detroit, but I was already tattooing this style before I came here.
Detroit is definitely a rebuilding community, and I feel an admiration for the spirit and tenacity of the people here.
It’s my speed for sure.
What memory do you have of your brief participation in Ink Master 8? Was it nice to meet a rockstar like Dave Navarro who was a regular guest on that tattoo reality show?
I really didn’t enjoy the Inkmaster experience too much.
I have some pretty rough anxiety, and because of that. I don’t think it was a real good fit for me.
I didn’t tattoo very well. I liked many of the cast members, though, and Dave Navarro is a very likeable and gracious guy.
I find your tattoo tribute to Tom Petty (RIP) very moving. Did you do it listening his music or was the news of his sudden death in October 2017 all it took to inspire you?
I made the Tom Petty at the request of a client.
I try to immerse myself in music, or movies of whatever I can when doing a portrait of a musician or an actor.
It always allows me to understand them better and usually results in some type of addition in the design that is specific to them and their work.
Have you found any customers ready and available to get your Kurt Cobain flash tattoo yet?
Still haven’t done the Kurt Cobain. I have had a few people inquire, but no follow through yet!
Are you passionate about basketball? Your tattoo tribute to Tim Duncan (unforgettable San Antonio Spurs power forward) shows a certain love for The Game…
I am a huge basketball fan. I play constantly, and watch it enough to really annoy my wife.
It takes up a lot of my brain.
Are Paul McCartney or Ice Cube aware of the wonderful tattoos you did inspired by them?
I don’t think they are. It would be cool if they did. I hope they would like them.
Is the name of your Detroit tattoo studio (“FutureLazerTiger”) a sort of tribute to Detroit Tigers MLB franchise?
The name was actually a name I used a long time ago when making flash and art. We did, however, just release a vintage Detroit Tigers inspired futurelazertiger T-shirt!
Favourite record or best playlist for tattoing?
Music is a huge part of the tattooing experience for me.
I have been listening a lot to a rapper from Detroit named Quelle Chris.
I also have Hiatus Kaiyote, J. Cole, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, and LCD Soundsystem pretty much in a constant loop.
Last question. A very Detroit related question. Are you more into Pistons, Tigers, Red Wings or Lions?
I am definitely a Pistons fan all the way. I have a tattoo of the Pistons legend Isiah Thomas on my leg. My favourite player, and I play the same position. I wanted to be a professional basketball player growing up, but this tattooing career has panned out nicely. I am thinking about putting a basketball hoop in the studio though!