“So what made you decide to become a tattoo artist?” It’s rare that a day goes by without me being asked this by a client, or waitress, lady by the gas pump, even some other tattoo guys. For the longest time, I didn’t know how to answer this question because I really couldn’t remember coming to that decision. I honestly don’t remember wanting to do anything else.
My parents split up when I was a young boy and my Mom re-married into an extremely religious, hardcore southern, bible-thumping family. They were all strait-laced, conservative, and frightening as hell, all but one brother. The cool one. I called him “Uncle Sonny”. This dude had a huge beard, a gnarly motorcycle, and his arms where covered in biker tattoos. Skulls, girls, snakes, a big grim reaper, all that awesome stuff. These designs weren’t stylish, hip, or trendy! They made a statement. They upset people. They set him apart. You couldn’t possibly mistake him for one of those other bible thumper a**holes in his family. I was already interested in art and any visual stimuli, but tattoos were on a whole other level. They’re powerful. And I was intrigued very early on. I was nine years old when I tried to tattoo myself for the first time.
Because my parents moved around so much when I was in school, I was the perpetual new kid in class, and since I had no friends, I learned to entertain my damn self, by drawing.
In 1998 I got my first professional tattoo, in a pretty horrible shop. Two years later I started an apprenticeship in that same sh*tty shop. A few months pass before I realize that this shop was only interested in getting the $10,000 tuition fee out of my pocket, and could care less if I ever learned to tattoo or not. I counted my losses and hit the road with my sh*tty equipment and inadequate knowledge of how to use it. I envy the people who are fortunate enough to serve a real apprenticeship. I did it the hard way by learning on my own. Eventually I developed enough skill to work in some sub-standard street shops. In 2004 I was taken in by Lil Rat of Beyond Taboo Tattoo a respectable shop in Macon Ga. There I learned to do clean, solid work all day every day. CHERRY CREEK! I started doing conventions because I was finally confident in my ability. On the road I met Dave Tedder and we became friends.
In September of 07 Dave invited me to come and tattoo at All or Nothing, full time. I packed my sh*t without hesitation. The guys I work with here are some the most talented people I have ever met in my life and I learn something every day. In a business where rock star egos are more common than black tee shirts, it’s hard to find a more humble, down to earth group of artist.
I pride myself on being able to handle any style of tattoo, traditional, realistic, Japanese, black and grey, bold, feminine, etc. , but I do get more satisfaction from actually drawing a tattoo (instead of reproducing an existing image) even more so when I am able to draw the design directly onto the skin . To me, that is true custom tattooing, from brain to hand to skin.
By Tattoo Master Magazine UK
Describe yourself in 140 characters twitter style.
I was born in the year 3006, and lived in a peaceful socialist society. I never felt like I fit in and I longed for confusion, violence, and general hardships. To teach me a lesson, the Community Council decided to send me to the year 2000. I feel right at home and intend on avoiding any attempts at being returned.
How long have you been tattooing?
Since my arrival 10 years ago.
How long have you been with ALL OR NOTHING?
3 years now.
Where DID you live before coming to Atlanta?
Sector 7 of the Koxprinkle District
How did you come to ALL OR NOTHING, tell us the story!?!
I had been tattooed by Dave Tedder and knew him from convention debauchery sessions. He asked me to come fill a spot that had recently been made. Just so happened that I had grown sick of where I was, due for a change. And honestly, I really needed to be around better artists and better tattooists in order to progress.
What is your favorite type of tattooing to do?
Awesome ones that have lines and plenty of black ink.
What machines do you use? How many do you set up for a substantial session?
I usually like to set up two liners and a 9 or 13 mag. I like a bold liner (7 or 9) and a smaller 3 or tight 5.
Is Brandon really a psychopath to work for?
What has changed about your tattooing since you first walked in the
front door of ALL OR NOTHING?
I certainly tattoo better, in general. I have been able to develop a style of my own, somehow.
Everyone that comes arrives at different times, so the list of artists
is always in flux. Who have YOU worked with, gotten tattooed by, met
or gotten to watch work since coming to ALL OR NOTHING? And how did
any of that affect you and your art.
This question warrants an answer the size of this magazine. The following people have been a huge influence on my style, technique, facial hair, work ethic, or life in general: Dave Tedder, J Ranno, Bird, Tim Orth, Sean Herman, Fangle, John Goodman, and Jace Masula.
What other type of art do you produce? Paintings, video, flash, graphics etc?
I do tiny brown abstract paintings, on little square pieces of paper, almost every day. I do them for me, so I never show them, or even keep them, for myself really.
Are you tired of people talking to you about dogs?
I, actually, recently became the proud owner of an awesome pit bull puppy, named Ziggy. So, now I can, at least when I get cornered by the dog people, be more honest.
How has your LIFE been changed since coming?
My life has changed dramatically since coming...into my wife, we have an awesome 5 year old son, named River. He is already cooler and smarter than I am, and I can't be mad about it.
Was there ever a time when you realized you had figured this out or
had an "art epiphany" about your own growth as a tattooist?
NEVER. My evolution hasn't happened in a way where I could actually witness it taking place, only in retrospect. I do have a laid back approach to life, in general. I don't get all in an uproar about too much. I do enjoy the occasional recreational rant on politics, religion, pop culture, or annoying clientele. I have more opinions than emotions.
What kind of inks do you use?
Starbright, Eternal, and a few Classics.
What is it like to work with so many artists from all over every day?
So good. I learn as much as I am willing to learn from these dudes. I have to say, the guys I work with right now, are the most talented, inspirational, decent, down to earth guys I have met in one spot, ever! No egos to dance around, no drama or rock stardom. Just good dudes who like to tattoo and create. They want to be as good as they can be. It has been truly surprising. I get so pissed off and hurt when other tattooists lash out at us for rumors, or jealousy, or things people are mad at Brandon for, because the guys I work with would really give you their f*cking shirt. Don't be a douche-fag! Form your own f*ckin' opinions, instead of adopting the same ones as your favorite trucker-hat wearing cool-guy.
What types of tattoos would you LIKE to do, like if you could start
doing any specific style a lot, what would it be?
Awesome ones with black lines and even more black shading, on rich people with no vocal cords.
What do you love about tattooing the most?
I still love the actual tattooing the most. The rest kind of becomes a drag to me
personally. I know guys who fill their schedule with everything, but doing a damn tattoo. Not talking sh*t, (these guys are usually the successful types), I'm just saying, I can't roll like that.