Greg Murphy


What made you want to get into tattooing?

My whole life I’ve been very interested in anything art, and I knew from a very young age that this is what I wanted to do for a living. I had a heavy graffiti background before tattooing, which in a lot of ways got my foot in the door.

When did you start tattooing?

I got my first apprentice gig in 2003 and actually started tattooing pretty much full time shortly after, probably could have waited a little longer and learned a little more before doing so but I was pretty eager. Luckily, I had some good buddies that knew I was just learning and were down to sacrifice a hunk of skin to help me out.

What shop did you start at, and did anyone mentor you when you started?

I got my first apprentice gig at Millenium Tattoo in North Vancouver under an artist named Jay Doherty, and I’ll be forever grateful to Jay for giving me a shot like that. At the time I was still just a young punk and he didn’t have to help me like he did. Great guy, great tattooer.

When did you open your own shop?

Leroy Valentine, Leigh Moore and I opened Union Tattoo back in 2007.

How do you like having your own shop as opposed to just working in one?

Being an owner and being an employee both have their ups and downs. I like being an owner, but additional stress on an already stressful profession can be taxing. Luckily I have a lot of support from my co-owner and good buddy Leroy Valentine, along with an awesome crew in Terry Oh and Craig Lunn.

What are your favorite styles of tattoo to perform? Are there any stylesthat you would like to do more of?

I try to be as versatile with my style as possible. The range of material that people are getting tattooed nowadays is endless so I try not to paint myself into a corner, so to speak. I do really enjoy anything organic though, pin-up’s, animals, flowers, really anything that I can create a bit of flow with. I’m also having a lot of fun with statue reference pieces lately.

Greg Murphy

Who are some artists that have influenced you?

I have so many artists that have influenced me in my career. Every tattoo I see will influence me in some way. The world of tattooing has come incredibly far in the 12 years that I have been practicing it, and the amount of emerging talent is absolutely mind blowing. Fortunately I live in a very artistic city with many exceptional tattoo artists, so I just do my best to keep up with the pack and do the best tattoos that I have it in me to do.

Do you do any other forms of art or just tattoos?

I do a bit of painting (not enough regretfully). I also got into a bit of digital art stuff, programs like Bryce 3d and bit of computer animation. Graffiti has also been a big part of my life, there will always be a place in my heart for old school spray cans.

What equipment do you use?

Generally I like to use rotary machines, mainly because I’m not a coil machine wizard like most tattooers. I also try to be versatilewith my gear. I’ll use a variety of equipment, different inks, different needles, it’s a great way to constantly shape and improve the way you tattoo and not get complacent.

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