#TattooArtistThursday ft Interview with Tattoo Artist: RUSSELL JAMES
My name is Russell James I am a tattoo artist at Bad Donkey Tattoo in Lake of the Ozarks,Missouri.I have been tattooing professionally for 7 years after a 2 year True apprenticeship :) Our shop Bad Donkey Tattoo has won Best shop at the Lake 5 years running now. Everyone there is extremely talented and really strives to be the best that they can be, and become. I have been known for a handful of different styles because I am constantly learning and changing things up. Since I began my career I have always wanted to be able to achieve any type of tattoo out there,rather that be a style,size,color,or black and gray, I didn't want to ever have the feeling that I couldn't confidently achieve the best tattoo possible understanding that these will be pieces of me that will be on my clients forever.
PA: What inspires your specific style of art?
RJ: I would say my biggest inspiration is following all these beyond talented and amazing artist on Instagram. I realized years ago that if I follow and study these next level artist putting out there best work on a daily level, I would have a good idea of being up to date on some of the best tattoos in the world day to day.
Tattoo By: Ad Pancho
PA: You have such a unique style in the Tattoo industry,how would you describe it?What makes it stand out?
RJ: One of my biggest styles people relate me to is my Pin-Dot Color Mandalas and Paisleys. I love doing these tattoos because they really challenge me and come to life as I tattoo them. As far as coloring them I pick a couple colors the client and I both enjoy,then let the tattoos come to life by themselves constantly balancing colors after colors. I feel this gives it a true custom one of a kind piece of art specially made from me to my client.Lately I have been pushing to do larger and crazier work and push these 9 hour super detailed abstract pieces.I also have been doing a lot of heavy black and gray with a pop of color like red, or teal. My Fusion ink pigments have pushed my work to a new level I am very excited about.
PA: Who do you look up to within the Industry? Do you have mentors that make you strive to be better?
RJ: O man the list of people I could give you that I look up to.I think I am following almost 999 artist I recently saw on my instagram, mixed in with a some car pages of course lol. Some of my Biggest inspirations would be of course Nikko Hurtado, He is on a whole other level I wish to rise to one day. (Nikko collage pic) .
Rich Pineda is a Beast putting out amazing tattoos EVERY DAY! (Rich Pineda face tattoo) Mike DeVries has been one of my biggest inspirations since the day I began, I have bought lots of his Dvds followed and studied his work since the beginning. (Mike Devries Baboon) I also have looked up to Franco Vescovi he is an extremely nice talented artist and entrepreneur that everyone should strive to become like in this industry. He is killing it and his Bishop Rotary Machines and supplies are taking artist to the next level in there tattooing I hear it constantly from every person who tries a Bishop.
PA: In your opinion Russell, Rotary or Coil?
RJ: Ooooo, the evil question.Hahaha yes Evil indeed, lots of people have very serious opinions on this topic.Me personally I believe every tool has its purpose and you just need to find out how that tool works for you.But I will say that I run all Bishops in my arsenal as well as a Soba Rusto up 2 coil machine for certain linework. Like I said earlier Every single person I have talked to that has used a Bishop has been in love and said it transformed the way they tattoo to the type of tattooing they were looking for. There are so many fantastic machines and machine builders out there producing these next level machines I wish I could try them all!! I love tools! :)
PA: Any upcoming projects that our fans should keep and eye out for?
RJ: Yes check out all my projects! ;) I am really loving the tattoos I have been creating lately. I am having more fun with it then ever before and I feel that has been showing in my work recently. I love going into these tattoo creations with a plan but also letting them create themselves on the skin, I feel that's when my true art and talent shows. I like to call it Tattoo Magic because sometimes I don't even know how it happens .lol.
PA: What advice do you have for someone that wants to follow in your path?
RJ: You have you go about it the most professional and correct way, and you have to TRULY want to be wherever it is you want be. Everyone has the same 24 hours each day to achieve something great and move mountains, you just have to TRULY want it and set your mind to it.And always stay POSITIVE,remember certain doors shut for others to open and its up to you to find that path to the next door of unknown opportunities.
PA: As I see, you're touring more, what's the best and worst part of taking the show on the road?
RJ: I absolutely love touring around! There are so many amazing places in this world to discover. I love being able to personally reach out to people in areas I have never been. The inspiration you pick up at these shows in needed for any artist in our industry, and you get to meet and hangout with some of the best most talented friendly artist and friends that you cant experience not traveling. The worst part is leaving my Bulldog Etnie who I love o so much!! :)
PA: We always like to ask the harder questions Russell, dig a little deeper then everyone else.Can you tell us 3 things that most people wouldn't know about you?
RJ: Well for starters I have a very serious Car addiction! Man o Man I love me some sweet cars! lol, I like to get a car all stock and then like my tattoos find a way to completely transform them to what I think they should look like and put my own touch on them. My other passion I have always had is playing drums. I am beyond exited to attend and tattoo at MUSINK next week hosted by my biggest inspiration ever growing up, Travis Barker!! I also love Positivity,Laughing,and Bulldogs,Boom! I just feel those last 3 should be one big thing.:)
Thanks for hangin with us Brother, we'll see you on the road!
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