Hailing from The bluff in Durban, Patrick Alexander is our Tattoo Artist of the Week. With 5 years of tattooing under his belt, Patrick excels in his colour and new school work but also makes sure not to limit how far he can push himself. Check out our interview with the artist while looking at some of his work.
Hometown: The Bluff, Durban
Shop: Patstats “Inkfidel Tattoo”
Years Tattooing: 5
Tattoo Style: I have tried to basically cover as many styles as I possibly can, I don’t want to limit how far I can push myself
Hourly Tattoo Rate: POA for a custom piece or R600 an hour
What attracted you to tattooing and how did you become an artist?
For me I think it’s the last frontier when it comes to art. No other medium of art is so fulfilling, the thought of someone wearing a piece that I have done is really an honour. I enjoy the fact that you can take someone’s piece of art, improve it, and make the person feel better about themselves. As for becoming an artist, it took me about 11 years to get to the position I’m in now. I asked my “boss” when I was 17 to teach me and he said I wasn’t ready for it yet, so I asked again when I was 22 and yet again he said I still wasn’t ready. Eventually when I was 28 he finally gave in to my persistence and agreed that I could start training. I haven’t looked back since.
How long did you apprentice for before tattooing full time and who did you apprentice with?
My apprenticeship days didn’t last long, it was about 7 or 8 months of learning how and what and why before I picked up a machine. It’s pretty much the same as life, you have to crawl before you can walk. I’m still with the same man that taught me, Patrick Cooksley. He is a living legend here in Durban, with 20 years in the game he has a lot to offer in the knowledge of tattooing and art.
What was it like doing your first tattoo on your first client?
Stressful. I was really nervous, the thought of putting ink into someone’s skin was a bit daunting but I had Patrick there to guide me along. It was way more difficult than I thought. I took for granted watching how easy Patrick made it look.
“I do a lot of research when it comes to new styles. I want to learn more and more. You have to move with the times”
What was the tattoo and how did it come out?
My first tattoo was actually on two brothers, the first had a Yin-Yang with fire trailing off to one side, and his brother had a Chinese zodiac monkey, on the shoulder. Let’s just say it wasn’t my finest work but it was decent. The brothers even came back about a year later to show me and the tattoos still looked good, they even had some more work done after that.
Explain the vibe in your shop?
I would have to say it’s a very homely vibe at the shop, we always try and make the customer feel at home and to be as comfortable as possible. There is always laughter and jokes flying around, sometimes our customers come purely just to visit because they were so intrigued by the conversations in the shop.
What is your style of tattooing like and what style do you favour?
My style, anything colourful. I love new school but I’m not opposed to any style of tattooing. If I’m working on a piece of art that originally wasn’t mine, I will try to blend my work into the original so that it doesn’t look off.
What has been one of the most challenging tattoos that you have done? Why was it challenging?
I could choose a few. One of our lady customers came in and said that she would like a stick-man holding a balloon but the stick-man was behind her ear and he was holding a balloon but the string went all the way around her ear lobe up the ear and to her temple. That was really difficult trying to hold her ear and there was no room for error because the string was so thin. The other would have to be tattooing my boss. I don’t have to explain why that was difficult.
How do you keep your tattoo style fresh and keep progressing with new styles and techniques?
I do a lot of research when it comes to new styles. I want to learn more and more. You have to move with the times. As far as techniques goes I think every artist has their own, there are multiple choices when it comes to techniques but I like my own. Freshness comes from both the artist and the customer.
What do you thing is that latest fashion when it comes to tattoos and why?
Most of the tattoo fashion comes from television. Every time some famous star or singer gets a kitchy tattoo people come and get the same thing. It can be a bit of a pain because you want the customers to have a personal piece of art they can call their own.
Where do you see the progression of tattoos going in the future?
Definitely more socially acceptable. Back in the day people were frowned upon for having a tattoo, now days nearly everyone has a tattoo of some sort and in the future I think people will understand the true meaning of getting inked. Wear them proudly!
For anyone that wants to book a session with you, what’s the deal?
People wanting a tattoo or a quote can call 072 245 1720 or 076 480 7432