Hailing from the small town of Carrollton, Georgia, Craig has been a tattoo artist out of Atlanta for over 20 years. He was a competitor on Spike TV’s Ink Master in season 3 and returned to the show in season 6.
West Coast Ink’s Jordan Pringle recently caught up with Craig at the 2015 Lethbridge Windy City Tattoo Convention….
It’s your first time in Canada, how do you like it so far?
I love it. Everyone has been super friendly so far, I will definitely be making more trips back.
You’re known for a new school style with a lot of bright colours. Are there other styles you like to explore?
Ink Master did a really good job of showing that I do more than just new school, I have a really balanced portfolio full of different stuff. I definitely like to change things up, everything in moderation; it keeps it more interesting for me.
Being a veteran, you’ve seen a lot of growth in the tattoo industry in recent years. Any positive or negatives in rapid growth?
Everything has changed since I’ve started tattooing. It seems that everybody looks like a tattoo artist these days, but that’s fine with me. I find myself hiding my tattoos more often than I show them off. I enjoy everyone else showing off their art.
It’s a whole different industry right now, as far as the clients we’re getting. We have to adjust to have skills of communication. There are so many things that come along with this change of clientele. You have to be professional and represent yourself the way you want the whole industry to be represented.
Since the show, are you getting more requests to do some different styles?
Before the show, I couldn’t just pick what I wanted to do. Now I sort through emails and pick the ideas best suited.
The show does a really good job of helping us market outside of our own environments. Before, people might have known who I was in Georgia, or close to Atlanta. Now after the show, I can post that I’m coming to Canada and find a group of people to tattoo. That’s priceless.
Are there any judges that you’re going to continue to be in contact with, any interesting personalities?
This time around, Oliver and I had a go at each other. But that’s the environment, it’s part of the show. We’re there for a long time competing. If you do something wrong and those guys point it out, don’t do it again. They get annoyed because they keep on giving you the same advice.
I respect the judges and what they do because they put themselves out there. After the show, everyone goes on their pages and judges them. They can’t post a photo of a tattoo they did without people wanting to comment. I really appreciate what they do.
Is there anything you’d like to talk about that you’re not getting the chance to?
Our specific group this season of Ink Master focuses on how we learn to tattoo and the long-term outcomes as a tattoo artist. If you train someone and you don’t pay attention to them they won’t learn things from the ground up. These translate later on down the line. Some people jump the gun and start doing things and end up skipping all the essential parts of tattooing. Things like smaller tattoos that teach you how to communicate with people.
We have 18 people on the show and we all learn differently. Each mentor raised a totally different artist. It is your responsibility when you apprentice someone to put a lot of good values into them before you set them free.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I think a lot of artists are judgmental of the show and what it does. As far as my career goes, the show has done nothing but good things for me. I don’t think that every tattooist gets the same thing out of it.
As an artist, it’s good to have someone critique your work. Someone you can look up to. It humbles you, makes you pay attention to your work. I think I’ve changed the way I approach everything just by being on the show. It’s a good thing.
Any sponsors you’d like to give a shout out to?
Electric Ink is my biggest sponsor, it’s a great company. I never have to look for ink again! I’m a big fan of Hustle Butter, Search and Rescue Denim Co, and Deathless Cords and you can check out my shop at Skinwerks.com. Don’t forget to keep watching the show!
Follow Craig on social media!