Self-taught and creating incredible artwork, we get to know Adam Megens of Adam’s Eden Tattoos, and his work, in this week’s Tattoo Artist feature.
Full name: Adam Megens
Shop: Adam’s Eden Tattoos
Years Tattooing: 6 years full time and about 7 years in total
Tattoo Style: I don’t specialise in anything specifically
Hourly Rate: R800.00
Who is Adam Megens and how did you become a full time tattoo artist?
I always loved drawing and really got into art and painting in high school. I started studying my BA Fine Arts for a couple of years while I was working after school but unfortunately life got in the way and I never finished it. I worked in sales for about 13 years but still painted and drew for my own enjoyment. Then my brother wanted a tattoo for his 18th birthday so I designed what he wanted and took him to get it done. Unfortunately we were not happy with the end result and so we started looking around for other tattoo artists. My wife suggested I would be able to do a better job than what we had paid for. I never really considered it seriously as I had no idea how to tattoo, didn’t have any machines or even a clue where to start, and working full time, I could not even consider an apprenticeship. A couple weeks later a package arrived in the post from the UK and it turned out to be a little tattoo starter kit that she had ordered off a website. So I tinkered around for a bit, watched a lot of stuff online about how to set up machines and the basics, and here we are over 7 years later.
What were some of the most valuable lessons you learnt on your journey to becoming a tattoo artists?
Ego kills talent. I don’t care if you are the most celebrated tattoo artist in the world, humility goes a long way; one of the biggest complaints I hear about is what assholes tattoo artists are. Also, don’t stop learning. No one knows everything there is to know about tattooing, so don’t stop trying new things and experimenting. You have to step out of your comfort zone in order to grow. Be self critical though and set standards for yourself. I always want every tattoo I do to be better than the last one I did.
What was the first tattoo you did and how did it turn out?
My very first tattoo was a Jack Skelington face on the back of my wife’s neck. It turned out ok though, i’ve have never had to touch it up or anything, but I should hope not considering it took me over an hour to do a 10 minute tattoo.
What do you feel is the biggest misconception with people wanting to become tattoo artists?
You slap on a stencil and just do a few lines and stuff and it doesn’t require any artistic ability. If you can draw and paint well, you can tattoo well – if you can’t, then don’t.
What style of tattoo do you excel at and enjoy doing the most?
Well I feel that anything you enjoy you will tend to do well at it. It is a hard question to answer though because I tend to dabble in most styles, depending on what clients want. I suppose that I would have to say realism though.
When did you realize that this style best suits you?
Realism always appealed to me even before I started tattooing. Even in paintings and drawings it has always been my end-goal. I was always envious of friends that would doodle amazing cartoony stuff just out of their head, but I just don’t think my brain is wired that way. I tend to think and design realistically for the most part, although I am playing around with other styles more and more.
Which of your creations are you are most proud of?
Well you would have to define creations. Some of my favourite creations are paintings I have done. The thing about paintings is, you paint for yourself, but with tattoos you tattoo for the client. As far as tattoos go, I think a lot of my favourite creations are on my wife and brother, most likely because they give me the freedom and time to do what I want, so it becomes a labour of love, literally.
Which local and international artist’s work do you aspire to?
I have always worked by myself so I haven’t met a lot of local artists, but from what I have seen on social media, I really like the work from Rasty at 1933, Chanel Ysel at Hoodoo, Callum and Rocio at Black Lodge, as well as Fallen Heroes and Humdinger, amongst others. Internationally, that’s a very long list. Dmitriy Samohin, Brando Chiesa, Jeff Gogue, Chris Rigoni, Neon Judas, Peter Aurisch to mention a few, but there are tons more.
Given the opportunity to collaborate with and artist or guest feature in any shop, which would it be and why?
Well, I will be doing my very first collaboration with Cal Emms in November, so that is exciting. I am always open to try new things. I have never worked in a shop before, always just my own studio so I would definitely be keen to meet new people and see new places. I have a few clients who live in Cape Town so I reckon it could be awesome to do some spots down there.
How do you ensure you keep progressing as an artist?
Be competitive. Don’t sit back in a pool of your own ego and laze about doing things that you know you can do. Look at what other people are doing and be inspired to push yourself. I want to be the best, it’s that simple.
What does a day in the life of Adam consist of?
Up and about 05h30-ish, shower, make breakfast and lunches for my wife and I, feed dogs, kiss dogs, love dogs, kiss wife goodbye and head off to work. Normally at work around 8. Clean up, prep for the day ahead. From 9 to 5 (or 6 or 7 or 8 sometimes) I tattoo and then go home. Hopefully designs are up to date and then it’s dinner and wife and dogs time, maybe a little online gaming, maybe some Friends reruns or read some Harry Potter for the umpteenth time, and that’s about it 6 days a week. Sundays as little as possible.
When not tattooing, what do you like to do with your free time?
I enjoy riding motorbikes, tinkering on said motorbikes, online gaming, tending to bonsais, even reading. The problem is there is not much free time.
For anyone wanting to book an consultation or appointment with you, what is the next step?
You can call, WhatsApp us, or email and we will sort you out.
Tattoos by Adam Megens
Photos by Alexander Wolf.