We first met you when we organised the Tattoo Magic group show last year, how long have you been tattooing & how did you come to work in one of Melbourne’s most respected Tattoo shops?
What a fortunate meeting indeed – was always aware of screenprinting as I’d done it at Uni as part of my design degree, but you don’t find many people still practicising. Glad I found you, thanks for the work with the Tattoo Magic group show too – great result – now onto the next tattoo-screenprint mix up!
I started tattooing in 1998 & joined the Tattoo Magic stable about 3-4 years after, around 2001-2002. It was more of a follow my fellow workers, the ones I learnt with – we one by one left our apprenticing studio & well aware of the calibre of Geordie Cole, Claudia, & Kiwi Pete, were drawn to set the bar higher & head to TM. Luckily Sara & Tim had moved there before I did, so I had an ‘in’ – the rest is water under the bridge… I’ve seen the line up there change so many times over the years, having kept it as a hobby & only working a few days here & there I think that has helped my
lengthy stint there, I’ve been there full time for about 3 years now.
You seem to be a man of many talents having a history in design & advertising and now adding curator to the list. Can you tell us a little about your path through these different careers and what inspired you to create Ink Dots Black Spots?
I’m a thumb in all the pies sort of person, a scanner, love to experience as much as I can… when I was at Uni I recall lecturers talking about graduates following so many other paths not just graphic design. I’d been at Tafe for 2 years prior studying illustration, & the lure of everything was possible once I’d reached the city & university was overwhelming, not debilitating luckily, just so many options, so off I went in all directions at once! Melbourne is such a great place to attack all your dreams head on – if you want it, you can try hard & hopefully you’ll get it. When it comes to creating I don’t think it stops with pencil & paper, or a keyboard, it’s a state of mind, not to sound cliche, but you just look at everything like an opportunity to think & experiment.
I’ve always enjoyed being surrounded by creative peers, interested to see how they’d resolve a brief, flick through their folios, get inspired! So when Ink Dots Black Spots was conceived I figured I was going to be able to check all those boxes, set a brief, see the response, & I got inspired! The whole journey has been so rewarding to this point & I believe it’s only going to get better, this is the start of an annual event which I hope to work with many more talented artists into the future.
Ink Dots Black Spots is a very ambitious project, whats the main idea behind it and who is involved?
There are a lot of things I wish to achieve during this exhibition, many have happened already & the show isn’t even opened. Primarily I looked one degree of separation from Tattoo Magic, to a few tattoo artists I’d worked with whom had moved on from TM, then I thought they’d be great to involve, & as I did so came the other artists at their new found studios & the numbers grew rapidly. Inclusive of our crew at TM, the studio list built quickly, word of mouth got around & artists came out of the woodwork & had artwork ready for the tight deadline! It was great! I know if you give creatives to much time they love to procrastinate, so everyone had to get busy & before I knew it we all had huge tasks ahead of us! 50 Artists – 15 Studios – 2 super screenprinters – 2 framers – my assistant Melinda, (she makes it possible for me to have 4 hands!) A great friend who owns the venue & who I knew I could work closely with to make sure this runs how I’d envisaged it! So many people being positive about it & wanting to be involved – such an awesome energy to have happening & around us!! I can’t thank everyone enough, but I’ll keep trying too.
How has it been working with 50 different artists from all over AUS and NZ?
Funnily enough that’s been easy – the bigger studios have great front counter staff, like Daz at Chapel, Rachel at Sacred, Lauren at Korpus, Sam at Progression & Gem at 3rd Eye – they’ve made it a breeze! Even getting them signed & returned after print – easy! That’s the co-ordination part of it, but personally I’m so happy it’s allowed me an opportunity to put faces to names & meet more to the newer generation of tattoo talent working around Melbourne, & Sydney when we go up there!! I’m very keen to take this show to Auckland next year so the Sacred kids can enjoy it too… we’ll I can dream……..
We love that this is a charity event, why did you choose the cancer council to donate to?
I thought the link between skin cancer & skin art made sense conceptually – but from a moralistic point of view I think everyone has been touched by the damage cancer can cause. When approaching Cancer Council Victoria we found it to be more of a general donation to the cancer fight than skin cancer in particular, but that’s broadened the scope of whom might have been affected. At the end of the day you can’t just stand around with your expectant hand out, you need to give also, and
when the reward for most creatives is the journey of the work we are already paid theoretically. The problem with afflictions like cancer, is that once you’re diagnosed, it can be to late to do something for the fight against it as a whole, it takes awareness well before an event to help prevent an outcome you don’t want. So if we can give, make people consider the fight, then we are putting better energy back into the world.
Whats next on the cards for Simplesime?
So many things I can’t tell you them all right here & now – but I will let you know this is the first of many Ink Dots Black Spots. I just hope all the team want to get the band back together next year & be involved again to make this possible!!
SafeHouse studio has a space available for another like minded creative person/s or business that wants to join the amazing SafeHouse collective in our plight against evil…