Tattoo Artist, Piercing Urge, Prahran (Melbourne)
How long have you been tattooing for?
About 5 years now, it’s gone by really quickly!
What was your first impression of Vented/Josh and what made you jump aboard with designing a piece?
I had a really good first impression with Josh, he was really approachable and I really love supporting local businesses, especially in Geelong, so I wanted to get involved because he really seems to appreciate local artists as well. I’ve never done a T-shirt design either, so that was really interesting.
When did you realise you could make a living from your passion, and how does it make you feel to be able to do that?
I started my tattoo apprenticeship at 18, and it wasn’t until I got my first tattoo that I realised “Oh my god, I could totally be into this!” It was a lot harder than I thought it would be; tattooing isn’t all like it is on the TV, it’s not like being a rock star or anything. It’s quite hard but it’s also rewarding, because it’s something I’ve done since I was a kid; drawing has always been my outlet, I suppose, so it’s amazing that I can do that as a job. It doesn’t feel like work most of the time, and I know not many people get that opportunity, so it’s great.
What would be the biggest motivator in your creative process?
It’s very internal for me, I don’t normally go out and seek inspiration, it’s mostly the imagery that I have in my head. I do get a lot of inspiration from other artists, there’s some really good tattoo artists, it’s insane. For me I have a bit of a style that I like to stick to, and I try and put that spin on everything that I do. It’s really natural for me to just draw, so I don’t know if there’s any one main motivator.
Who motivates you to push yourself, and who do you see rising up in the next few years?
A few of the people I work with at the moment; they’ve probably been tattooing the same, or a smaller amount of time than me, but they’ve got a really unique style. Pat, who works in this studio as well, he’s really good, similar to me actually in style, but he’s got such a good work ethic as well, and it drives me to work harder. Akira, as well; she’s recently moved here from Korea, and she doesn’t speak a lot of English, so I’m really proud of her for putting herself out there. Her stuff’s really unique as well. Everyone I’m working with at the moment has a really cool style and way of working, which is really interesting to have so close by.
What do you most value in art and self-expression?
Some people have other outlets like music or writing, or just being charismatic and speaking their mind. I really appreciate people who can communicate an internal process. It’s so hard as a tattoo artist to continue to do that, because after a while you begin to view your art just as a job because you’re pumping out designs constantly, so it’s very important for me to keep doing my own thing as well.
I struggle with some mental health issues so it’s one of the only ways, if not the only way, that I can just relax and zone in on something that isn’t everything else in my head, so I usually just chuck on some music and I might have a couple of drinks, but it’s pretty simple, really; for me it’s just second nature.
Do you find it difficult sometimes to sit down and create?
Absolutely, yeah. Recently I’ve been trying to do some more painting and drawing from my own mind, but it’s hard because I have a lot of stuff to do at work that needs to come first and I’m very used to being told what to do; “Today you’re going to do a tiger” and I’m like “Yeah, cool that’s easy”, but as soon as someone asks me to draw something that I want I’m like “You tell me!”
- Josiah Herma, 22/11/2017