With an eye for fine-line and illustrative work, we’re excited to present Lyndon Hippolite, AKA The Surgeon, as our featured Tattoo Artist. We caught up with Lyndon to chat about his career, how he got into the trade, and more…
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Full name: Lyndon Hippolite (The Surgeon)
Shop: Royal Ink Collective Tattoo Studio
Years tattooing: 3
Tattoo style: Illustrative, Geometric, Black and Grey, Blackwork
Hourly rate: R1000
Give us some insight into your journey of becoming a tattoo artist?
It started with my Grandfather, he had a tattoo and he was very artistic, and that fascinated me. It was at the age 13 when I realised I wanted one and also wanted to be a tattoo artist. When I was 14 I made one of those hand-poke contraptions Grandad told me about in one of his stories. They made that contraption was with matchsticks, a needle and cotton, looks almost like a dart and with that I ended up tattooing under my foot to hide it from my mom. I was so excited, I showed my friends and they all wanted one. I think that tattoo lasted like 2 hours before it disappeared [laughs]. When I was around 16 I made a machine with a motor and started tattooing my friends, and now years later I’m tattooing professionally.
What first attracted you to the industry?
When my cousin got his first tattoo, I was so jealous because at that time I would get killed if I ever got a tattoo. He got it done professionally and it was very well done, like I’m talking well f#cking done. I was like one day I’ll be able to tattoo like that.
How has your passion for the tattoo trade evolved since you first started out?
I can say that it has evolved big time, from seeing some of my first work to now and it’s a huge difference. At one stage in my life I lost all passion because I couldn’t get an apprenticeship and back then it was hard to just get into a shop. It was back and forth teaching myself, trial and error. A while back the passion was lost again for like three years due to a change in my life, but now I’m loving every moment since I’ve been back full time, learning new things every day, getting better at what I love to do.
What does a day in your life usually consist of?
Once I’m up and done with my morning routine I leave for work, get to work, sort the shop out and get ready for my clients, once I’m done with my day at work I go see my beautiful daughter, spend time with her and phone my son in East London so they can chat. Put my daughter to sleep, once I’m done I head on home, make a chow, sort out designs for the next day and hit the sack when I’m eventually done.
What do you enjoy most about being a full time tattoo artist?
To be honest, the smiles on my client’s faces and the compliments I receive after the tattoo is done. Yes it’s a full time job with long hours but not when you love what you do, then it’s no more a job.
What style of tattoo do you enjoy creating the most, and why?
I’ve always been more of a fine-line artist, so I’d say portraits and realism. Practice makes perfect as they say and all I’ve gotta say is watch this space!
How would you best describe the vibe of Royal Ink Tattoos?
We have @the_back.door, @mrkbarbersand @royalink_sa in one building! It’s where you can spoil yourself three times, once! The dopest tattoos, the cleanest sneakers and always a fade above. Come see for yourself.
If you could tattoo any celebrity, who would it be?
Right off the bat, I’d say Wiz. He’s been getting tatted and one from me wouldn’t be a bad thing, besides he’d rock the sh!t out of it. It would be such a top experience also.
Where would you like to see your tattoo career taking you?
Any artist wants to see their passion take them to his or her own shop.
Where do you draw you inspiration from, and how do you like to make sure you keep progressing as an artist?
From other artists, whether they’re starting out or they are long in this game, it makes me humble and want to push to do better. When I get a chance I check artists on different social media platforms to keep up with the times and study styles I usually don’t do on a daily.
If you could guest work in any tattoo shop, which would it be?
It would be in Ali Anil Ercel Tattoos and Art. Their style of work is so amazing, I enjoy that style of work and that fine detail.
Tattoos by Lyndon Hoppolite
Photos by Alexander Wolf Photography.