I honestly don’t even remember when I began creating art. My family used to kick me out when they would watch television because I would sit in front of the TV and trace the images on the screen. When I could get my hands-on coloring books, I was very particular about coloring inside the lines. From a young age, I was completely fascinated every time I saw someone creating something out of nothing and I was constantly creating art.
Obviously, pursuing a career in art is extremely daunting. Little to no job security, major competition, and a long, long road to success stand in the way of anyone looking to be a full-time artist. But for me, there was never a “plan B”. I wasn’t in it for the money or for recognition and pretty much my whole motto was, “As long as I eat, I’m good”. Art was like breathing for me. It still is.
So, as a kid, I was always somehow drawing, and at 11 years old my school art teacher noticed my passion and suggested I start taking private art lessons. She told me that she couldn’t teach me what I needed to get to the next step, but she knew someone who could. So, she drove me to and from my first mentor’s classes. From this point, I was practicing all types of mediums from sculpture to pastel and I ended up truly excelling at drawing and oil paintings. Even at this young age, it became a goal for me to always seek the next step to improve my work as an artist. At that point, the next step was getting into the art academy in my city. My mentor, James Charles, taught me everything I needed to apply, how to write an essay and how to organize and submit my portfolio, and I ended up being accepted. From there, I was already looking forward to reaching the next goal, which was to get into the arts magnet school in Dallas.
Throughout high school and into college I continued pursuing my passion and creating art in whatever way I could. Learning and improving is my favorite part of being an artist. The bar is always being raised and I continue to surround myself with artists that are always striving for that next goal, just like me. But as a young adult getting into the real world, I was plagued with a lot of questions and uncertainty about where I was going as an artist. I loved painting, but doing commissioned pieces felt like selling out. At this point, tattooing kind of fell into my lap.
I was approached by a high school friend who asked me to hang on to his tattooing machine for a while and offered to let me use it since he knew about my artwork. I ended up doing my very first tattoo on a girl from my high school who wanted a memorial piece for a friend who passed away. I still vividly remember the whole experience. I had prepared for my first real tattoo by practicing with oranges and Indian ink but that was nothing like tattooing real skin. I remember thinking, “I’m permanently marking somebody for the rest of their life” and at that moment, it became real. I’ll never forget the feeling of that very first piece. It was a very memorable experience.
From there I started tattooing some other people, friends, and friends of friends. After a few good pieces, I decided to invest in a better machine, and I got a little kit that fits inside of a Nike shoe box. From then on, I realized that tattooing was my calling. I spread the word and started telling more friends, letting them pay me whatever they wanted. I had the itch for tattooing, and it seemed like I couldn’t go a day without putting ink on someone. If they didn’t have a ride, I would pick them up. If they were hungry first, I would take them to eat. I was essentially paying them to let me practice on them.
Tattooing ended up being the answer to a lot of those questions I struggled with. I’d seen some amazing tattoos and my attitude was, “There’s no reason why I can’t do that.” With my background in art, having attended art academies, winning awards, and my new love for tattooing, I knew what I was meant to do.
I ended up being offered a position at a tattoo shop and bounced around from several studios throughout my early career. I focused on making a name for myself, building my reputation for black and grey portraits, and learning new techniques, still always striving to get better. I met my business partner and friend, Rember, and we decided it was time for us to take the next step and start a studio of our own.
When our realtor approached us with the location in Denton, we were apprehensive. The building was beautiful, 3 stories, and right in the middle of the town square. We weren’t sure the city would really want a tattoo studio right in their most famous and visited part of the city, but Denton is full of art lovers. We wanted to be somewhere where the people wanted us, and Denton ended up being the perfect spot. It was like it was meant to be.
At first, Rember and I were just focusing on taking care of our clients at Dark Age. People started getting curious about what we were doing, and we slowly started gaining recognition for being in Denton. We spent years and years building our reputation for the best realism, black, and color tattoos, as well as scouting artists that would push us to be better as a group and getting world-caliber artists to do guest spots at Dark Age. My personal goal for myself and for Dark Age as a whole is to always keep improving because the bar is always being raised. What was amazing ten years ago in tattooing is only just good now. Surrounding myself with people who have that similar outlook is what has created our family at Dark Age and has really taken us to the next level of tattooing.
My favorite part about this whole journey and my career is that I get to avoid complacency. I am always having to keep learning, stepping up my work as an artist, and adapting as the industry changes. I prefer taking on projects and clients that challenge me with original ideas, bigger pieces, and touching subjects. Art is a matter of opinion and incredibly subjective in nature, but if you’ve read this far, you enjoy my work, and are interested in setting up an appointment with me, please reach out. This blog will continue being updated with new topics and information and I am very grateful to share what I do with you.