Tat2X Interview with Seattle Based Tattoo Artist Curtis Dee Stairs
Posted on April 24 2018
Tat2x: How long have you been involved in the tattoo business?
Curtis Dee Stairs: Since 2011.
Tat2X: What made you decide to become a tattoo artist?
Curtis Dee Stairs: I had always been an avid tattoo collector, but a good friend of mine (@b_bowlintattoo) helped open some doors for me. I’d been painting cars for 8 years prior, so my color theory was on point. However, it wasn’t until 2011 that I started taking art seriously, and began to perfect my craft.
Tat2x: How did you learn the art of tattooing? Did you apprentice?
Curtis Dee Stairs: I did an un-paid apprenticeship with a “rock-star” tattooer, which lasted over a year. Then I just started getting tattooed by people I really admired, and asked probably too many questions.
Tat2x: Are there any artists tattoos or otherwise that you admire?
Curtis Dee Stairs: Man where to begin… I really dig large scale art wether it be tattoo or traditional paint mediums. Tattooers like Shige (@shige_yellowblaze) Mike Rubendall (@mikerubendall) Chris Crooks (@chriscrookswhitedragontattoo) and Andre Malcolm (andremalcolm_tattoo) and painters like Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Edduard Manet, Alberto Vargas, Alphonse Mucha, Jose Rodriguez III (@joserodriguez3rd) Matt Talbert (@talbertart) are constant sources of inspiration for me.
Tat2x: Has any individual in particular influenced your career?
Curtis Dee Stairs: Early on in my career my wife Caitlin (@caitydeestairs) introduced me to Bryan Kachel (@bryankachel) who has been one of the most helpful people I ever met. This guy might be tattoo Jesus. Not long after I started working for Woods (@woodstattoo) who quickly became a good friend and mentor.
Tat2x: What would you say is your favorite part of the job?
Curtis Dee Stairs: Impacting peoples lives. We have the rare opportunity to leave our mark on someone for the rest of their lives… That is an awesome responsibility. Ultimately we control how the rest of the world views that person from that point on.
Tat2x: How would you describe your style? Is there a style you prefer or enjoy?
Curtis Dee Stairs: IDK labels are a whole thing. I like thick chunky lines, mixed with tiny single liners. I really love heavy saturated bold color tattoos. I’m also really digging the mixing of realism with and traditional touch… very cool. I am also really drawn to patterns, and mandalas.
Tat2x: What’s the most unusual request for a tattoo design you have ever had?
Curtis Dee Stairs: I was asked to design a baby split in half to represent the story in the bible where two women are fighting over a baby so the king decides to split it in two to see which one really loves it… my grandma did not approve.
Tat2x: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists tattoo or otherwise?
Curtis Dee Stairs: Don’t stop producing art, people need it even if they don’t realize it. Joining other like minded folks once in a while for group art nights is really helpful as well. Its always nice to get some outside perspective.
Tat2x: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
Curtis Dee Stairs: I have musical tourettes. You will hear Comeback Kid, Flo Sandon, Blind Willie McTell, Aesop Rock, AFI, Redfang, Mccarthy Trenching, Metallica, Sam Cooke, The Growlers, Wu-Tang, Of Mice & Men, The Heavy, Darc MInd, The Warriors, Iron & Wine… ect.
Tat2x: What are your favorite foods?
Curtis Dee Stairs: There’s no time for food.
Tat2x: What do you do to relax when you’re not at the studio?
Curtis Dee Stairs: Honestly raising a baby has taken a lot of my so called “free” time, however Woods and I freedive & spearfish locally, its really cold. I do a lot of gardening, living in Seattle makes having a garden fairly easy. I also really enjoy plein air painting, so much of my oil painting is done tediously in a studio a.k.a. my living room, so its really nice to get outside in nature and paint.
Tat2x: Is there anything else we should know about you or your studio?
Curtis Dee Stairs: It’s fancy but not too fancy.
To see more spectacular work by Seattle, WA tattoo artist Curtis Dee Stairs you can visit: