How did you get into tattooing?

Well initially it was via a terrible ‘starter kit’ that I used to scratch on myself, but after about three months of this my luck really started kicking into high gear and I managed to land an apprenticeship under an old-school tattooer at a flash shop called Vampire Tattoo in my home town of Fort St. John, BC. It was a hell of a commute, between FSJ and Vancouver, but it all worked out.

Who is your biggest influence(s)?

On a formative level, I was influenced by many different factors that all link together. Savage Sword of Conan (specifically the work done by Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema, and Alfredo Alcala) and Heavy Metal Magazine had a tremendous impact on my imagination- these were visuals that matched the British New Wave of Heavy Metal music I was getting into. At the same time, I was desperate to emulate a cousin of mine who had a rare talent for illustration. My attempts at aping all of these different sources has basically carried me my whole life. These days, I find that my art is shaped more by contemporary tattoo artists, but I’ll always remember what started it all.

Who is your favorite artist(s)?

Well, besides the previously mentioned influences… I adore the works of Brian Froud, Dave McKean, and (cliche though it is) HR Giger. The truth is, any art that has a dark realism to it will appeal to me. Bosch and Otto Dix are certainly on the same page I’m on… I’ve also started tuning in to illustrative master artists lately- Beardsley and Mucha, that sort of thing.

Who is your favorite tattoo artist(s)?

Kurt Wiscombe of Tattoos for the Individual in Winnipeg is probably my favorite tattoo artist in North America. He does highly stylized dark art, drenched in the flowing shapes and line-weight of Art Nouveau. It’s beautiful, morbid, and imminently tattooable.
Other names that are doing work I love- Robert Hernandez, Joshua Carlton @ Great American Tattoo Company, Rob Hope, Juan Areguin @ Funhouse Tattoo, Jess Yen @ MyTat… Truthfully, there is so much obscene talent in modern tattooing, this list could be 13,000 pages long and still not cover it all.

Tell us a secret about yourself regarding art

I’m really not very good. One day everyone is going to discover that fact, and my house of smoke and mirrors is going to come crashing down. So long as I can maintain the illusion of skill and talent, then my secret remains safe.

What is your favorite tattoo style?

The style I like to call “anything that looks good”. I don’t really care- colour, black and grey, old school, new school, illustrative, realism, Japanese, Polynesian Tribal- I just don’t fucking care what it is, as long as it looks good and will age well to look awesome over many years. Yeah, hmn… What’s my favorite style. I guess, any style that makes a woman look and feel more beautiful, that’s my favorite style. There is nothing better than a heavily tattooed woman. Beauty incarnate.

View Keith’s Current Work >>