An interview with tattoo artist Craig Startin | Buy True Gent Cartridges online
This week, we caught up with tattoo artist Craig Startin, owner of Big Will's Tattoo Studio in Lichfield to find out what he’s been up to in the world of tattooing. Craig has been on our sponsored artist team for around a year now, and we can’t get enough of his incredible realism work, so we wanted to dig a little deeper to find out more about Craig’s life as an artist, and see what he has planned for 2020.
Read the full interview here:
1. Hey Craig! Do you have any exciting plans for this year?
For the first half of the year I have a line-up of guest spots in London (Kamils) New york (Inkology), and Birmingham at Dark Horse collective. I’m also doing some conventions; Freeze, Tea party, Big North and I’m hoping for an invite to Liverpool Convention. That would be great! Also, our new studio has a good line-up of guest artists this year and it’d be nice to spend some time with them after work too.
2. Are you looking to try any styles of tattooing that you haven’t done before?
Nope, I think I’ve found what I want to do forever and that’s colour portraits may a bit of Avant Garde again too.
3. Is there anything that you’d like to be able to tattoo more of, or anything you’d like to do more of when it comes to tattooing?
More colour portraits; I’d love to do one everyday but I’m not that fortunate. And I'd like to do more conventions, like Liverpool, Brussels, London and Milan, that would be great if they would have me...
4. Do you find that your work attracts a specific type of customer?
No, I think it’s open to everybody and all walks of life contact me but I understand not everybody wants a portrait of somebody famous on them.
5. There’s been a lot of talk recently about whether neck and face tattoos should be allowed for those under 21 years old. What are your thoughts on this?
I don’t think it should be any different to what already stands, but I do think customers should have their arms and hands tattooed first before face tattoos. I have been asked to do necks and hands though when they don’t have any other tattoos.
6. Tattoos have definitely become a lot more ‘mainstream’, with celebrity tattoo trends and Instagram culture contributing to their rise in popularity over recent years. There are obviously a lot of pros to this as the demand for tattoos increases, but do you find that there are any negative aspects to tattoos in the mainstream?
What I have seen a lot of is bad tattoos on celebrities and footballers. I don’t know how this happens! They must be paying for the worst artist possible, rather than the best... haha!
7. Do you have a favourite tattoo machine at the moment? If so, what do you love about this particular machine?
I swap between 2 machines and that’s the Cheyenne Thunder with Cheyenne carts, and the FK Irons Spektra Xion. I fell back in love with my Cheyenne Thunder about 6 months ago, and more recently have gone back to my FK Irons Xion, and now with the addition of Kwadron Magnum cartridges and True Gent liners.
8. Are there any tattoo artists (past or present) that you’d like to meet?
No because id absolutely brick myself if I did, haha! Seriously, I’ve always loved the work of Nikko, David Corden, and Oleg to name a few.
9. What do you like to do when you’re not tattooing?
All I do is tattoo, think about tattooing, think about the studio, talk about tattoos, get tattooed. Everything I do is tattoo related. Sad eh!?
10. Do you have any really bad tattoos that you regret?
Lots. I’ve had whole sleeves removed with laser and had them redone. It’s an ongoing project.
11. Out of all the tattoos that you created in 2019, which one was your favourite and why?
There are a few to be honest, but everybody liked the Chester Bennington portrait that I did. It got shared on so many Instagram pages.
12. What is your favourite brand of tattoo ink?
Not being sponsored by a brand of inks, I use lots and pick and choose what I think works best for me at the time, so naming a few, it’d be World Famous, Radiant, Fusion and Eternal mostly with some Solid Ink thrown in there as well. I don’t see why we should have to stick to one brand like some artists do, even if they’re not affiliated with them.
13.What do you think about artist Sponsorship and is it important?
Well where do you start with this one? I think the sponsorship is important but for me it’s about the support and help of manufacturers and suppliers and a big part of this is seeing your work shared on these pages, and in turn creating posts for those sponsors and working together as a partnership.
I get quite a lot of offers from companies to be part of a discount scheme, and to be honest I’m not interested in the discount (although it’s a nice offer). I’m more interested in the exposure they can give me through social media, and how we can work together so I pick my sponsors carefully and I think I have great ones!
Thanks to Craig Startin for taking the time to chat with us. We wish Craig the best of luck for 2020 and can't wait to see more of the beautiful work that he produces. If you'd like to keep up to date with Craig's whereabouts in the world of tattooing and take a look at his incredible work then make sure you check out his Instagram page right here. Don't forget to head over to our website where you can buy buy True Gent Cartridges online.
- Antonia McLoughlin