Along with my other Tattoosday topics, I plan on featuring interviews with tattoo artists and other figures in the tattoo industry. I couldn’t think of a better person to start it off with than my very own tattoo artist… and husband-to-be… Joshua ‘Bacon’ Erickson (you’ll have to ask him where he got Bacon from!). He got his start in Des Moines, IA where he had tattooed for nearly 10 years. He has since moved over to the west coast and tattoos at Inspired Ink in Portland. He’s known for his use of bold colors, high contrast, and light touch. His work was most recently featured in the July issue of Tattoo Magazine!
1. What was the moment you decided you wanted to become a tattoo artist?
Honestly, I came to tattooing long ago. From a small age I loved tattoos and its mystical application. My father, heavily tattooed himself, was what pushed me towards my path and heavily influenced me to get tattooed, as well as apply tattoo art.
2. What were your biggest struggles in the beginning?
Finding someone to take the time to teach me was my hardest obstacle. Calling shops and studying the who’s who of tattooing and what got them there. Eventually I just started out myself by tattooing people from my home, until meeting Scott “Cool-Aid” Irwin and having him actually guide and mentor me on proper tattoo application.
3. What are you biggest struggles now?
Staying relevant on technique and styles, as well as continued education and evolution. Everyday more and more people begin tattooing as a career. A double edged sword; good as it keeps you hungry for more, bad as it floods the industry with terrible artists and risk of disease.
4. Who/what are your biggest influences?
My mother and my family. My beautiful and talented wife! The list of artists is long and immense, almost too many to name. I’ve worked with some extremely talented people and discover more every day! Adam Clark, Scott Irwin, Buddha, James Kern, Joe Skramstad and Dominic McIntosh just to name a few! Get out there and find some yourself!
5. Where do you get inspiration for your bold colors and style?
Life and personal experiences within it. I like to turn up the contrast and tones. I want longevity and beauty. Vibrancy, motion and quirky images make my palette what it is.
6. Describe your ideal client..
Ideal client is open to ideas and professional opinion. Sits well, has money to spend, and comes back for more!
7. Describe a nightmare of a client..
The worst clients want it how they want it regardless of what you tell them. I was taught “G.I.G.O” Garbage In, Garbage Out. We do this every day… trust what we say.
8. What advice would you give to someone getting their first tattoo?
Research your artist and their shop. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Be open to ideas and structure from your artist. They know best. Don’t haggle price… it costs what it costs.
9. Favorite tattoo on your body..
It’s a tiny tattoo on my thumb, given to me by a soon to be famous person : )
10. Favorite tattoo you’ve done on someone else’s body..
Hah! I’ve done thousands of tattoos. I love so many of them!
11. If you didn’t tattoo, what career path would you take?
Fine art, painting or graphic design would best suit me. I enjoy working for myself!
12. If there’s one thing you want people to take away from your work, what would it be?
I want it to strike emotion in the onlookers and collectors. I want you to feel as if this tattoo isn’t real, a good tattoo will improve the quality of your lives!