Working out of Fallen Heroes, we get to know Kyle Ter Steege and his style of work as this week’s featured Tattoo Artist.
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Full name: Kyle Ter Steege
Shop: Fallen Heroes
Years tattooing: 7 years
Tattoo style: Do it all
Hourly rate: R1000 per hour
Give us some insight into your journey of becoming a full time tattoo artist?
My journey started at Empire Tattoos in Fairlands, under the incredible hands of Tie Harris. Tie taught me everything I needed to know from dealing with clients to running a shop, creating stencils and how to properly apply them, how to set up a tattoo station correctly and eventually to tattoo. I unfortunately had to end my apprenticeship with Tie and help the family business, but my journey with tattooing was not over yet. After helping the family I decided to come back to tattooing, I found an artist named Mel who got me my first tattoo kit and taught me what I needed to know in order to tattoo by myself. After sometime with Mel I went on my own to learn, create and progress. After about a year or so I got an opportunity to tattoo at Tings Tattoos, I was with Ting for about three years before Thys got in touch with me regarding a spot with them at Fallen Heroes. I had known about this for some time and respected him greatly, so for me to get this opportunity was massive! I’ve been with them ever since.
What does the world of tattooing mean to you?
Tattoo is an incredible way for people to express themselves but more than that it is a big way for a lot of people to heal! Heal past trouble or to remember loved ones, tattoo is an ancient art form found on mummies all over the world, all created for different reasons, for this reason and many more, I love tattooing and will do so until my body gives out!
What were some of the hardest skills to master when first starting out?
When I started tattooing the biggest thing for me was trying to get over the fact that you are creating marks on human skin that will be there forever! It made it difficult to express my designs and keep a steady hand, but once I got used to it and became more comfortable, so my art and techniques improved. After that it was a case of progressing my art skill and the tattooing would follow.
What does a day in your life usually consist of?
My day usually starts with coffee and probably finishing off some design work, then it’s off to work where I set up and get ready for my client, once my client has arrived I will check the design with them, get the right sizing, create a stencil that I place on the client, get the correct placement, once my client is happy with the size and placement of the tattoo stencil I will begin the tattooing process. After the tattoo I would wrap the client so that their tattoo stays clean afterwards. After a long day of tattooing I like to unwind for a bit before it’s back to doing more design work, and the process repeats.
How do you like to make sure you keep progressing as an artist?
It can be very difficult the longer you are an artist to keep progressing as you can get stuck in a certain style or mindset. I tend to do all types of tattoos and so for this I tend to look at a lot of different art styles some I may be good at and others not so much, I find this exposer helps me not get stuck into one type of style and keeps pushing me to learn new things so that I can successfully pull off the tattoos I do.
What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most, and why?
I prefer doing black and grey tattoo work for the simple fact that black and grey holds a lot better over time than colour does, due to peoples different skin types and exposure, etc, but I still also really enjoy doing colour tattoos so it can be tough to choose.
What are some of you highlights of working out of Fallen Heroes?
Fallen heroes has really given me some awesome opportunities to tattoo at some cool events, some being Mathew Moles’ CD launch and M Fest for BMW.
Where would you like to see your tattoo career take you?
I still have a lot of learning to do but one day I would like to have my own shop, I would love to be able to have a space for artist to learn and grow.
For anyone wanting to book and appointment with you, what’s the next step?
So for any willing people out there ready for their tattoos, they can email Fallen Heroes and book a consult appointment where we can sit down talk about your ideas, from there we can book you in. Otherwise, if you know what you want, you can book directly with our team Jess@fallenheroes.co.za or email@example.com or DM me on Instagram @lucky13tat.
Tattoos by Kyle Ter Steege
Photos by Alexander Wolf Photography.