Tat2X Interview with Australian Tattoo Artist Jimi May
Posted on July 24 2014
Tat2X: How long have you been involved in the tattoo business?
Jimi: I started my apprenticeship at Dee Why Tattoo about three years ago. I have been tattooing professionally for two and a half years.
Tat2X: What made you decide to become a tattoo artist?
Jimi: I have always been an artist. I did my fine arts degree at National Art School in Sydney Australia, majoring in painting. I always loved tattoo art and culture – so I thought why not combine the two.
Tat2X: How did you learn the art of tattooing? Did you apprentice?
Jimi: I was pretty lucky with my apprenticeship. It was very hands on and I got to learn to use the tattoo machine pretty early on. I also made sure I was watching the other tattoo artists at the shop as much as possible.
Tat2X: Are there any artists tattoo or otherwise that you admire?
Jimi: There are so many great tattoo artists now. I’m constantly finding new talent through Facebook or Instagram. In terms of artists Caravaggio is one of my idols and I’m mainly inspired by renaissance portraiture.
Tat2X: Has any individual in particular influenced your career?
Jimi: My partner pushed me into taking my portfolio to shops in the beginning. She still pushes and supports me every day.
Tat2X: What would you say is your favorite part of the job?
Jimi: Like every job it has its ups and downs… but as a job goes – this has to be one of the best ones out there. My favourite part of the job is knowing that I am drawing and staying creative for a living.
Tat2X: How would you describe your style?
Jimi: I have always been influenced by Renaissance and religious art in my paintings. That style shows in my black and grey realism tattoos.
Tat2X: What’s the most unusual request for a tattoo design you’ve ever had?
Jimi: I haven’t come across anything to write home about yet. I have seen a few unusual requests come through the tattoo shop that have made me laugh.
Tat2X: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists tattoo or otherwise?
Jimi: I think surrounding yourself with ‘like minded’ people with the same goal of making great artwork will allow you to grow the best possible way.
Tat2X: Are there any aspects of Australian tattooing that set it apart from other parts of the world?
Jimi: Not that I know off. I intend to travel next year with my tattooing. I am excited to see and learn what the world has to offer.
Tat2X: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
Jimi: I grew up playing in Rock bands so i always enjoy listening to 70’s and 80’s Rock.
Tat2X: What do you do to relax when you’re not at the studio?
Jimi: I play guitar when I’m not at work. I find it a good escape from drawing and tattoos. I currently play in my band, Gypsy’s Gift so between work, music and painting – there isn’t too much time to relax.