Welcome to our #TattooArtistThursday Feature Interview. This week we're on topic with #TattooArtist Jason Angst out of Pittsburgh PA USA.
I remember meeting Jason 4 years ago for the very first time at the Toronto Tattoo Convention ( #NIX ). Quietly, I said to myself' now there's a guy that truly expresses himself. Little did I realize, and wouldn't for a couple of more years how quiet and non-expressive he actually was. Hiding under all the Dreds and Facial Tattoos of his loud exterior was actually one of the most humble people I have had the honor to ever meet; in and out of the Tattoo industry.
Two years later, we happened to be talking at the Maritime Convention in Halifax and his Saturday had just cancelled on him. I looked at my wife with that puppy dog stare that we men give whenever we really want something and BOOM! I was in.
Being that Jason was a Primal Art Project Artist was good enough for me, but also he had just released his 1st Sullen design, so Double Whammy. My thought the whole time was "Whomever Cancelled ... you're a Dumbass". And as luck would have it, I actually had my reference material on me and off we went. Little did I know what I was about to be in for.
We all expect Tattoos to be uncomfortable, in some places they down right hurt. My selection just happened to be on my elbow, which yeah... wasn't the best spot, but it turned out amazing, even with an audience watching ... after all, it was my first and only tattoo ever done to date during a convention; and everyone who knows us had to see. (We have ALOT of Fans / Family in Halifax).
What I didn't expect was the attachment I was about to create with Jason. Honestly, I was expecting a bit of Artist Ego, there was none ....I was expecting an artist, instead I got a friend. The conversation for the most part made me even forget he was tattooing my elbow.
A very Deep, Spiritual and Humble interior is what I found out lay under the the exterior of this amazing person.
I am glad to know you and call you Brother, even more pleased to share your work.
Artist : Jason Angst
City : Pittsburgh, PA
IG : @JasonAngst
Q: Tell us about yourself: Your Age?, Where you're from? Where you Tattoo?
A: I am a tattooer and painter currently working in Pittsburgh, PA. I co own Artisan Tattoo with my lovely wife, putting in hard hours for my tribe. Trying to make shit work.
Q: Who was your greatest influence in the art scene that made you want to become a Tattoo Artist?
Who do you look up to within the Industry? Do you have mentors that make you strive to be better?
A: I would say that at the time I decided to begin tattooing H.R. Giger would have been my biggest influence. I have always been inspired by science fiction, the macabre, nature vs machine or the two as one. These have always been undertones in my work and he was all of that. There are so many artists I look up to currently in the industry, Jeff Gogue, Carlos Torres, Victor Portugal, Josh Duffy, Guy Aitchison, James Kern, Nick Baxter, Adrienne Dominic, Lux Altera and someone new every week. There are so many, I am always impressed and inspired with new artists. I'm self taught and have never found a true mentor, so thank you to the internet which has given me a world of inspiration. I would never get to see these artists from all over the globe otherwise. You can only see so much in 90's tattoo savage ya know?
Q: Please explain to our fans what your specific style is?
A: I have never known what to call my style, and it's always changing as I am always learning. I would say realistic surrealism, leaning towards the macabre, with a sci-fi, nature vs the rust belt. I have no real answer. I guess that's why my work stands out, if it does. It's hard to describe, but you usually know I did it. The one thing people have always consistently said over the years is that my work looked "painterly".
Q: Please tell us about the first Tattoo Memory you have. That moment that sparked it all.
A: I was 14 as I walked into my first punk show. I saw this huge mohawk havin' dude with full sleeves. Damn was he tough looking. Right then and there I decided I was doin' that shit, and I did.
Q: Are you a traveling Artist? Do you attend Conventions or Guest Spots across or in other countries?
A: I used to be on the road constantly and now I have narrowed it down to my favorites. I try to make it to Europe, Canada and a few of my favorite spots and shows in the states each year. Lately focus has been aimed at my shop, family, and home.
Q: How do you feel about today's Tattoo Conventions?
A: Over saturation! There had always been a few good conventions and lots of bad ones. Now it seems there are even too many good ones. Three amazing shows the same weekend? How do artists and collectors the like decide which to go to? There seems to be a new amazing show every year, multiple shows per city etc. This dilutes the market. I think the focus should be good conventions getting better, not adding more. It seems like all of the conventions have been becoming less attended, even the great ones. I think people partnering up to make fewer bigger, better shows would be rad.
Q: The Evil Question: Coil or Rotary ... Which are you loyal to?
A: Although I still have all of my favorite and faithful coil machines, and sometimes think about using them, the truth is that I haven't picked them up in a very long time. I have been using only Rotary machines for quite sometime. I am very loyal to Neotat. Not only do they make amazing machines, but they are are handmade by the creator and his small staff, mostly his family. I like to support that when I can.
Q: What inspires your specific style of art?
A: Inspiration comes from all around me. I have many artists whose work I admire and inspires. Some of the most notable being, H.R. Giger, Zdislaf Bekskinski, Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Alex Ross and Brom. Artists aside, my biggest inspiration would be growing up in the rust belt in good old Pittsburgh, PA. My work comes out of the struggle that followed from the mills closing down. I do a lot of art that relates to the fall of industry, and the spiritual quests that ensue. The work ethic of the steelworkers and what befell them — all of that is reflected in my art.
Q: Any upcoming projects that our fans should keep an eye out for?
A: In the next few years I plan to work on a few themed series of oil paintings that will come out as books. Themes TBA, keep an eye out.
Q: What advice do you have for someone that wants to follow in your path? What is your advice to new artists on the brink of entering into this career?
A: Draw every day. A lot. Get tattoos from people you look up to and want to tattoo like. Big tattoos, like a sleeve. You will get to know that artist, watch them work up close and get to ask questions. Do this a few times, maybe one of these artists will give you an apprenticeship if you seem serious, either way it will help. An apprenticeship can be hard to get. in the meantime take seminars at good conventions. There are many aimed for artists just starting out. The internet is such a tool, you can see time lapse tattooing from some of the best in the world. A lot of great artists put out great instructional videos. And keep drawing, every day.
Q: We always like to ask the harder questions, dig a little deeper then everyone else. Can you tell us 3 things that most people wouldn't know about you?
A: I ride a bicycle more then I drive. I am a adamant metal worker, welder, and blacksmith. I am kinky as fuck.
Q: Weeding out all of the social influences, as we're bombarded every day with thousands of Tattoo images; is there any up and comers that you've got your eye on? Who are they and what is it that's tweaked you about their style?
A: I really enjoy the Bekskinski style detail and texture put out by Mr. Dist. I also enjoy the freehand realism - biomech fusion of Alex Rosa. Every day I find a new "I've only been tattooing for 2 or 3 years and I'm a super badass." wtf? With the internet so easy to find new artists that have come out of the doors swinging, it frustrating and inspiring all at once. High five world. Way to art!
Q: Out of the thousands of Tattoo's you've done, is there one that you can specifically say is your best? A piece that just puts that smile on your face? Can you share it with us?
A: I try and make sure that every tattoo I do is the best. If I constantly strive to grow and learn, hopefully every tattoo I do will get better and better.
Q: Everyone has a saying, a mantra; mine is "It is what it is".
What is the quote you live by?
A: "This too shall pass."
Thank you so much for taking the time to entertain us and wow us with your Art. Always an honor.
See you soon Brother.
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