He may only have two years of tattooing under his belt but his work in incredible! Introducing Lloyd John as our featured Tattoo Artist, get to know more about him and his work here.
Brought to you by Zappa.
Full name: Lloyd John
Shop: Mr Hats Tattoo
Years tattooing: 2
Tattoo style: Abstract blackwork
Hourly rate: R900
Give us some insight into your journey of becoming a tattoo artist?
I had admired the tattoo world and everything that went with it from when I started getting tattooed in 2007, and so I left a seven year career in advertising working as a graphic designer/ art director to scratch a persisting itch. I woke up one day, decided I was going to resign that day, with no plan, and so I did. I spent the next 30 days building a strong portfolio with mixed mediums and styles to earn myself an apprenticeship. I then headed in person to my nearest and most preferred tattoo studio, Rising Dragon, where I met the owner and founder and sold him my story. He took me on, taught me, and the rest is history.
What first attracted you to the industry and what does it mean to you now?
I see tattooing as the most elite form of art. From a young age I was using traditional mediums and they were fun and rewarding but just weren’t enough for me. The idea that a person is willing to trust you and wear your work for the rest of their life is a strong feeling of gratitude and accomplishment. Without the fellow misfit artsy kids and fantastic clients there would be no industry, no subculture, no work and no fun. It’s everything!
What do you feel was one of the hardest skills to learn and master?
In the beginning linework was my kryptonite, I was petrified to pull a wonky line because even granny Meryl can spot a wonker. Now I live for linework. “Crooked spines for crispy lines.”
How do you like to make sure you keep progressing as an artist?
Adapt, try new styles, invent, re-invent, learn and take inspiration from the global scene, be patient and try not to follow trends.
Where would you like to see your tattoo career take you?
The London and Berlin Tattoo conventions are two big goals. Lastly, my private villa on a remote island.
How would you best sum up the local industry and its artists?
I think the local industry is a far cry from global standards, but many artists seem to be pushing the boundaries day by day. It’s a small and tight knit community where opinions are strong but consists of many passionate and humble people happy to see others doing well and progressing.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Honestly not sure but theres a bunch of hella dope Instagram pages I follow that inspire me daily. Also, movies.
How would best explain the sensation of getting tattooed?
Kak. I hate it.
What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most and why?
I’ve found myself mostly enjoying blackwork, the use of only using black ink. Varied line weights, spit shading, strong contrast and dotwork. When used carefully you can imitate light tones, textures and make a tattoo that is bold and unique and will still look good in 20 years time. Bold will hold.
If you could tattoo any famous person, who would it be and why?
Steve Carell. He’s just my favourite TV human.
When not working and tattooing, what do you like to with your down time?
Driving fast Japanese cars, riding bikes, adventuring with my son, family time, road trips, drawing, Netflexing, eating pizza.
Tattoos by Lloyd John
Photos by Alexander Wolf Photography.