Sunday, February 21, 2010

Interview with Agonistes of Lincoln Ink

1. First, Please tell us a little about who you are and your art.
my background is in technical theater. i've been a professional tattooist for almost 20 years, though, and i've done some book covers and magazine pages and some cartooning also.

2. How did art first become a part of your life?
i really don't know, i just always drew or put things together to make other things (or took things apart). i was always getting into trouble for drawing in class. particularly my choices of subject matter.

3. What forms of art do you enjoy the most and why did you choose them?
visually it is easier to say the kinds of art i don't enjoy rather than to try to name them all, i think. as far as what i prefer to do, pen and ink. i've always loved comic books, especially the pen and ink ones without color, and it's what i always tried to imitate.

4. We were struck by the themes in some of your drawings, particularly the one above. Where does your inspiration for your art come from?
i honestly don't know. i doodle when i am watching movies or tv because i can't just sit there idle, and it's usually just a mess of whatever comes out, sometimes a phrase will strike me and i write it down, but usually, it's hard to explain except individually by drawing, if that makes sense. unless i am given a theme, i have no idea what's coming out of me until it's half done or so.

5. How does the process of creating a tatoo from beginning to end differ from the process to create other art?
to begin with, many tattoos are traced from something else, or else they are an image that already exists outside of skin. also, tattoos sort of have to be come up with right on the spot, more often than not, you don't get a lot of planning time because the customers are so often walk-ins.

6. What are the good and bad things about being a tattoo artist?
how much space do we have, lol? the good things are; cash in hand, and you don't have to wear uniforms or act the same way you have to for most jobs. also, praise is forthcoming as soon as a job is complete, if a customer is happy with it or people around like it. in that respect, tattooing is an easy job, especially for a lazy person (but in the end, being lazy affects any job). the hardest part for me is dealing with the general public; a lot of people don't understand there is a difference between going into a shop and asking for a product or going into a tattoo shop and asking for work, mainly because a tattooist considers themselves something of an artisan, and expects to be treated at least as an equal, if not a little better than one would most people, haha. part of that is plain old artist ego, but part is also just the 'cool' side of tattoos; no one really NEEDS a tattoo; it is purely an image and posturing thing, so there is a lot of unspoken drama that floats around a shop, fairly often, from the nature of image and posturing.

7. In all forms of creation and art, I have noticed the theme of being or wanting to be in another world, and have talked about it on my blogs. So, tell me about your ideal world. What is it like?
i've always wished i had the chance to observe the entirety of human history, honestly. i've no idea if i could handle being remote from people altogether (while observing, but pretty much being unable to interact), because i am pretty gregarious, so i try to create that world around me. without stepping out of the bounds of reality completely, i want basically the chance for making awesome art, while also being able to make money at it. with tattoos, that happens to work out, which is awesome.

8. What advice would you give to others starting their journey in creativity and finding their world?
honestly? don't give away much of yourself for free. it's one thing to advertise and to create for the sake of creating, also, but if you find that people are willing to pay for your art as a product, by all means let them. artists above all other types of people are the sort of people other people draw energy and reason from, and it can be exhausting. it can also turn an artist's necessary ego into a frightening thing, the attention, and that's something important to guard against as well.

9. Lastly, where can we connect with you and your various forms of art?
i generally post tattoos to my facebook page, especially the big awesome ones, so customers can get copies of them that way and so i can show them off, and so on. my email is, and i have a blog but don't post to it much. at any rate, that link is if anyone has any questions, i also have a Formspring page:

We would like to say a big thank you to Agonistes for taking time out of her busy life to talk to us. We love talking to artists and are always glad to get to connect with such talented individuals!

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