Tattoo Interview with Craig Startin | Buy Tattoo Supplies online
This week, we interviewed tattoo artist Craig Startin, owner of Big Will's Tattoo Studio in Lichfield. We caught up with Craig to find out what he's been up to recently in the world of tattooing, and we delved a little deeper into Craig's tattoo career to discover how he established himself as a talented tattoo artist, and what his goals are for the future.
Read the full interview here:
Hey Craig, thanks for taking the time to chat! First off, how did you get into tattooing?
I've always loved drawing, and my career as a tattoo artist began purely by accident. I was helping out a friend on a busy day at his tattoo shop when his apprentice had let him down. He was actually really impressed with the way I created stencils so he asked me to stay on and train there as an artist. The rest is history!
Craig Startin (right), pictured with Scott Carson of Derby County FC who Craig recently tattooed.
Who are your main influences in the tattoo industry?
I'm influenced by too many artists! I admire Nikko Hurtardo; he's always been top of my list since day one. Thomas Carli Jarlier is an amazing black and grey artist, and I love Alex Pancho's bold colour, and David Corden's smooth portraits.
What do you love most about tattooing?
The best feeling is when I've finished a colour portrait, and I look through the camera on my phone and it has that 'thing' about it, if you know what I mean? I don't know what it is and I don't know how to do it or harness it, it just occasionally happens. I call it 'the magic'. So many artists can do it to every tattoo, but I I'm nowhere near that good.
Some recent portrait work done by Craig
If you could only do 1 style of tattooing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Colour portraits! Up until end of last year I was trying to find a style creating Avant Garde designs and trying to forge a style for around 2 years. Last August I was asked to do a colour portrait of Bob Marley, and that's when something clicked in my head and I found a style that I enjoyed more that anything.
Craig's Bob Marley portrait from last year, & some of the Avant Garde style tattoos that he's created.
Based on your experience of the tattoo industry now, what important advice would you have given to yourself when you first started tattooing?
Buy the best quality equipment you can afford! I started off with some crap stuff and it really holds you back without you even noticing.
Do you have a favourite tattoo on yourself? Who is it done by?
I have a woman's face on my thigh done by Rich Harris of Dark Horse Collective in Birmingham. It's one of his Geo-girls. I love that one! Top guy, great studio and team.
Do you have a favourite tattoo convention?
This year I've done Tattoo Freeze, and then I did Tattoo Tea Party in Manchester for the first time ever and I loved it. I'll definitely be doing that one again. I worked on a massive collaboration at the UK Tattoo Fest MK Dons stadium Milton Keynes last weekend, and we had the whole thing professionally filmed, from sizing up at the studio to the final piece at the convention which was really exciting! I'll be doing the Halloween Bash at Wolverhampton too at the end of the year, and I'm on the waiting list for the London convention, so hopefully I'll get an invite!
The collaboration back-piece Craig worked on at UK Tattoo Fest, alongside James Randall.
What goals do you have for the future as an artist?
Short term, this year I'm opening a bigger studio in Lichfield; the biggest one in the city, so that's going to take up the rest of this year, getting that settled and looking for more established artists to join the team. Next year I plan on doing some international guest spots, and I've been asked to guest at studios in New York, London, Australia and Germany, so more traveling next year. Anybody wanting me at their studio send me an email please! Also, my goal is to constantly improve at what I love doing the most; colour portraits. I don't think I'll ever be 100% happy with where I am as an artist.
Big thanks to Craig for taking the time out to answer all of our questions! If you're a fan of bold colour portraits and perfectly crafted geometric Avant Garde then make sure you check out more of Craig's work right here: @craigstartattooart - Keep up to date with the guest spots and conventions that Craig has planned over the next year. Make sure you check out our website where you can buy tattoo supplies online, from the most popular brands of tattoo ink to the latest and most sought after tattoo machines.
- Antonia McLoughlin