We’ve had our eye on Dean Clarke for quite some time as he keeps producing phenomenal work. It’s only fitting that we showcase him and his work in this week’s Tattoo Artist feature.
Full name: Dean Clarke
Shop: Tattoo Tony Creations
Years tattooing: about 7 years
Tattoo style: Black and grey realism
Hourly rate: R1200 an hour or R7000 a day
Give us a quick introduction to Dean?
I’m a pretty easy going fellow who loves computer gaming and chilling hard on weekends with the family.
How did you become a full time tattoo artist?
My journey started whilst I was studying my degree in BA Information design at Tuks. I realized during the later part of my studies that I wasn’t too keen to sit behind a computer all day. I loved illustration and design but the digital side of things got to me a bit. Custom tattooing had the illustration and design aspects I enjoyed, so I got my portfolio together and went to Tony to beg for an apprenticeship. The rest is history.
What excites you about the tattoo industry and what does it mean to you?
I was and am excited about the creativity of the industry. Designing and creating art that’ll last a lifetime on ones skin is an awesome responsibility. It honestly means the world to me to have this opportunity and to hopefully leave a positive mark on my clients.
How has the industry evolved since the beginning of you career?
The industry has boomed in recent years. The negative stereotypes have lifted and the public has become more open and accepting to tattoo art. New products and technologies have also made tattooing easier, like the introduction of needle cartridges to name one.
If you weren’t a tattoo artist, what would you be doing as a profession?
I always wanted to be an animator at Disney growing up. However, I probably would have ended up in advertising to honest.
In your mind, what is the biggest misconception about tattoo artists?
That we’re all drug using alcoholics, well versed in the use of motorcycles. I honestly don’t know how to change gears on a bike.
What type of artwork motivates you?
Outside the world of tattooing, I’m motivated by comic artists. I love how effortlessly they can scribble characters together. In the tattoo world I’m motivated by custom, fun designs. Interesting blends and mashings of style.
What style of tattoo do you enjoy doing the most?
I really enjoy black and grey realism. I never thought I would, but I do. My plan was always to be a new school colour artist, but that never worked out. Black and grey work allows me more freedom in my approach to ink application as well as an easier set up for a tattoo.
Would you say you specialize in a specific style or are you happy doing any style?
I love doing any and all styles. I find that every style has a different way of approaching it, both in the design and application of the tattoo. Getting stuck into any style keeps your day fresh. I also feel that doing everything grows your skill base.
What have been some of the weirdest requested you have received from clients?
I was asked to tattoo “let go” on a clients eyelids. We chatted about it a bit, he already had face tattoos, so I did it. Don’t think there was a straight line with all the eye flickering going on. Interesting piece to say the least.
How long was the longest sitting you have ever done and how did you and the client hold up?
I tattooed for 19 hours over two days on a rib/ side piece. The second day I got a bit tired but managed. My client was an absolute beast. He only showed discomfort on the second half of day two.
What advise would you give to anyone about to get tattooed?
Do your research. Go to an artist who’s work speaks to you. Consult with your chosen artist and get comfortable with them. You both need to be happy going into the tattoo to get the best results. Eat a big breakfast and don’t fall for photoshopped tattoos.
For anyone wanting to book an appointment with you, what is the next step?
Well you can email the studio or call us to book a consultation. Otherwise you can just pop on by. Always happy to consult. You can also see more of my work on Instagram @deanclarkeart.
Tattoo Tony Creations
Contact: 012 753 8156
Address: Shop 17/18 Gift Acres shopping centre, 25 Lynwood Road, Lynwood ridge, Pretoria
Facebook Page | Instagram | Twitter | Website.
Tattoos by Dean Clarke
Photos by Alexander Wolf.