Exclusive interview with Jinxi Boo Caddel | tattoo writer 05/02/2011  

Seems like tattoos has made their "Renaissance" in the last decade. People are tattooing their bodies at a growing rate, there are new wonderful tattoo supplies, new after care treatments... Even fashion can be proud with the tattoo clothing lines. Seems like everything is changed but in a positive way.

Q: How do you feel about this?
A: I love how far the tattoo industry has come in the last decade, and how it continues to grow in popularity and acceptance each day. The perspective that society has towards tattoos has come such a LONG ways. I know that there are still stereotypes that some out there in the world have a hard time getting past, but the reality of what body art truly is, we see embraced by more and more people every day. The more impressive the body art gets, the more it is seen as “true art” by many who once believed it was only worn by prisoners or gang members. It's hard to deny that the tattoo work being done nowadays is not exceptional. It IS true art, without a doubt. The fact that tattoo art has made its way into mainstream arenas like clothing and fashion only helps the idea to become more accepted, which I view as a positive thing. The books that relate to tattoo art are taking that acceptance and understanding to an entirely new level. There is so much to learn and appreciate in the tattoo world, that the possibilities are endless.


Q: You are known as the most celebrity tattoo diva on earth, who got that chance to collaborate with tattoo masters like Mike DeVries, Guy Aitchison, Nick Baxter, Bob Tyrrell, Paul Booth and many more. You can be proud of your newest books: "Cranial Visions" and "Tattoo Prodigies", which are also collaboration with Mike DeVries. What made you to start these new projects? What were your basic interests at the time?
A: I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of these book projects. Mike DeVries and I first collaborated on his book, “Let's Be Realistic,” which explained his realistic tattooing techniques. When we began the project, I had been a client and friend of his for many years, so it was an easy step to moving into working on another creative project together. We really understand each other and have very similar perspectives on art, tattoos, and ideas. We worked so hard on that book and both learned so much about the writing, collaboration, editing, and publishing aspects of putting a book together. Though it was challenging to complete, once we were finished, we both wanted to get another project started as soon as possible. The “Tattoo Prodigies book” came along next, where we decided to celebrate some of the best tattoo artists in the world and their accomplishments, both on skin and on canvas. I got to conduct the interviews for the book and also work on the editing aspect of bringing all of the text together. It was a fascinating process and again, I learned so much. Not only was it a wonderful opportunity to get to write, but I was able to speak with an incredible group of tattooists, who were all very helpful and inspiring. I learned so much about what makes tattoo artists tick and how similar many of their work ethics and ideals are. We felt like the book turned out beautifully and are so happy that readers are enjoying too. If Skin-Artists readers don't own a copy yet, they can always contact me through my website (www.JinxiBoo.com) where I have the books available for sale. I'm always happy to answer questions about them and receive orders.


Q: Let's say a few words about "Cranial Visions". To me the book is like a beautiful life story. There are so many feelings through the art in that book. But people could be little skeptical or maybe confused because skulls have been "always" a synonym for mortality, eternal life, religion, power, protection, fear, rebellion as you say in your little description of this book. So many "contrasts" in all those meanings. What is the basic idea of the book?
A: I'm so happy that you envision the book as a life story. I think that's a beautiful way to look at it and I totally agree. Skulls have had a very intriguing place throughout history and I think that each society and generation sees them in a different light. That is what makes this book so fascinating, because each artist included in the book has their own interpretation of the skull and what it means to them. For some, it is symbolic in terms of religion, mortality, and eternal life. For others, it is a design that associates rebellion and deviation from the norm. Others use it as inspiration and find beauty in the framework of the design and the reference image it becomes when they create their own work. The interpretations are endless and that's what makes it so inspiring. “Cranial Visions” gathered together a HUGE array of skull-related artwork - over 800 full-color images in 240 pages! The book includes works from artists like: Shawn Barber, Jeff Gogue, Nick Baxter, Sean Herman, Guy Aitchison, Alex Grey, Bob Tyrrell, Nate Beavers, Bugs, Nikko Hurtado, Cory Norris, Juan Salgado, Nikko Hurtado, Victor Portugal, Kore Flatmo, Durb Morrison, Jeff Ensminger, Volko Merschky, Simone Pfaff, Aaron Bell, Kyle Cotterman, Aric Taylor, Nick Chaboya, Megan Hoogland, Christian Perez, Phil Robertson, Carlos Torres, Cam De Leon, Alex De Pase, Bez, Kari Barba, Nathan Kostechko, Roman Abrego, Jeremiah Barba, Ben Corn, Steve Morris, Dave Barton, Cory Cudney, Mick Squires, Mike DeVries, Carlos Torres, Simon Hayag, Dan Hazelton, and SO many more. Not only is the artwork stunning, there is also a detailed history of the skull and how it has changed, yet remained so important, throughout history. Again, any readers who want to own a copy of “Cranial Visions” can contact me at www.JinxiBoo.com to order the book.


Q: What was your part in all that not just like an editor, but maybe emotionally?
A: Researching and learning so much about this subject really gave me a new perspective on the way I saw not only skull art, but interpretive art in general. That's the amazing thing about art, it has the power to elicit emotions and meaning that is unique to each individual person who views it. Because I am a writer, I often note that words have this impact on me, but just as powerful, artwork can have the same effect. As each book I have had the pleasure of working on has done to me, I end up having a very emotional attachment to the projects I work on. It is WAY more than just a job to me, it's a labor of love that will stick with me for life.


Q: How do you see life? Like a challenge, like a chance, maybe like a unknown destiny? Is there "always" black or white- good and bad?
A: This is a tricky question to answer because I find that it changes constantly. Each day and goal is a challenge that brings with it ups and downs. But the key to finding your way through it all is to realize that each of those instances contains an opportunity to learn and grow. If you take something positive away from each challenge (even if it's hard to find something good within it at the time), that lesson will strengthen you and help you to be more prepared, more educated, and more aware the next time you encounter a hurdle. I really believe that to appreciate the “good” times in life, you need to see the other side of things to gain that perspective. We learn from mistakes and we grow stronger each time we pick ourselves up from tribulations. Life is definitely a roller coaster ride, but it doesn't mean it can't be a FUN ride as we work our way through it all. I don't know if I believe in destiny, but I do believe that EVERYONE has something amazing to share with the world. Even if you don't see what that gift is yet, there is nobody else like you. So find your strength and let it shine!


Q: Tattoo Prodigies is another awesome book, Jinxi! I can see a lot of different tattoo styles from many artists there. Tell me more about this collaboration.
A: Thank you so much for your kind words, Iva. Your support has always meant so much to me and I really appreciate it. I also appreciate that you feel the dedication to this book showed itself in the pages of “Tattoo Prodigies.” I am constantly blown away by what an amazing story there is to tell with tattoo art. Each person and each artist has their own unique way of presenting their story. So working from this mindset made the project really fun to dig into. As I said above, I found it quite interesting that although each artist has their own way of tattooing and creating, there are a lot of similarities amongst these maestros that all blend together. Their hard work and love of the craft is apparent. Their positive outlook towards the industry and their clients is inspiring. It was a common thread that ran through the entire interview and writing process. Very interesting indeed!

Q: Please feel free to share your basic info about the book and the book's goals.
A: The goal of “Tattoo Prodigies” was to honor some of the artists in the industry who are really creating dazzling tattoo work. In addition, we wanted to explore what made each of them tick and find similarities which might account for how successful and creative they are. I must note that we had to limit the roster to 80 artists, simply because of size and page limitations, but if we could have, the list would have included thousands of artists. The level of talent out there today is astounding and reaches far beyond those chosen. The book weighs over 5 pounds, measures 10 inches wide by 13 inches tall, and has 256 full-color pages - so we included as many as we could squeeze in there. It's full of true talent, so I hope you will all check it out.


Q: Your talent for writing is well known around the world. What is the most challenging part in writing books?
A: Oh gosh, thank you again for your kind words. Writing books is much different than the blogs I write on my website or the articles I write for magazines. It requires a lot of time spent researching and learning, and then an ability to take that information and transform it into pages that are interesting to read. I have learned that it takes a LOT of patience and time. Each project I have worked on has taken nearly a year to complete.
There are so many revisions and additions that are important to include along the way. Getting to the end and feeling like you are finally telling the story that you set out to tell is very rewarding (and cause for celebration).

Q: What is your biggest inspiration? How much time was necessary to realize that writing books could be your passion?
A: My biggest inspiration in all that I do will always be my family. My husband Steve and my three kids: Brynn, Shea, and Aidan. Everything I work on and attempt to do is done so with them in the back of my mind. I guess I know that anything I create will be out there in the world for them to see or read and I want them to be proud of me. In terms of writing in the tattoo genre, I am inspired by tattoo art in general. But the artists who create it, the collectors who wear it, and anyone bold enough to step outside of the box and be proud to present skin art to the world. The entire tattoo community is a home to me. It's where I feel the most comfortable and accepted and I will always be grateful beyond words for this. It is a community full of open-minded, true individuals and that's why I cherish being a part of it so much. When it comes to other writers who inspire me, my favorites are Henry David Thoreau and George Orwell. For their own reasons, they each had profound effects on my life and the way in which I viewed the world around me. Besides being brilliant wordsmiths, their ideologies are very much in synch with many of mine. I will always read and reread their works throughout my lifetime.


Q: Seems like tattoos are your life, your excitement, your journey, your best story. Can you connect yourself with one of your books? If so, in which one you find yourself the most?
A: Oh wow, that's a great question. I think that it might be most closely related to “Cranial Visions,” simply because that book was such an interpretive book. It means different things to different people and this is similar to the way I see my tattoos. The artwork I wear becomes a part of the person I am. It tells a story of my life in different stages. It makes statements and it carries a lot of emotion for me, just as I think the artwork in “Cranial Visions” does for many who read and enjoy it.

Q: You've collaborated with so many great tattoo artists all over the world. Was there any pressure when it comes to trust like a co-worker?
A: I was lucky in the sense that I already knew many of the artists whom I interviewed and talked to for the book, but there were many that I was meeting for the first time as well. The great thing that I have found in the tattoo community is that when people are truly passionate about the art, they embrace those around them who share this love. Incredibly, this was my experience with every single artist I worked with. They were all very kind, gracious, and helpful. I really think that is something that you will find is a constant in the ink industry - people who are true and caring. There aren't that many other industries in the world where that will remain true -that's what makes the tattoo community so exceptional, in my opinion.

Q: What is the hardest part in writing a book? Is there a red line you can not across?
A: I would say that the hardest part is the tediousness of the process. Each stage takes a lot of time and a lot of patience. When you are researching, there is SO much to learn and take in. When you are outlining, there is so much to include. When you are writing, there are so many stages to putting the words and sections together in a way that is consistent with your vision. When you are revising, it seems like it will never end and that there is always something to improve on. When you finally finished and send it to the printer, it's exciting, but nerve-wracking, as you hope that all of your efforts will have been well worth it. When it is printed, it is more hard work to promote it and sell it. But with that said, I love it all, or I wouldn't keep doing them. In terms of crossing lines, I do like to push the boundaries, but I am also very dedicated to keeping all of my work positive. I want people to be built up and honored for what they do and never have anything negative associated with anything I put out there. I really believe there is enough negativity and misunderstanding in the world, if you are going to create something for others to partake of, make it something positive and inspirational, or else, what's the point?


Q: Writer, tattoo collector, cupcake expert, synonym for positive energy, open-minder, the coolest mum ever, the most amazing person I've ever known. Strong and decent woman that should be like a role model to the rest of us, especially to the mums:) Many creative lines that makes one great portrait of a successful woman! I guess those are just a few words to describe you:) How do you see yourself in the other part of the mirror? How can you describe yourself? Not just physically, but emotionally?
A: Oh my goodness, you are WAY TOO KIND to me. Seriously, thank you so much for those amazing words. It's funny, but I don't ever think of myself that way when I look in the mirror. =) I really just try to do the best with what I know and what I'm capable of. Life has been such a journey for me. One of self-discovery and acceptance. Once I got to a place in my life where I decided to embrace the individuality I owned and try and do something positive with it, new doors seemed to open up for me. I think I spent too many of my early years trying to fit into a mold that was meant for someone else - trying to please the wrong people and not living MY life. So once I changed my mindset, it was like a light bulb went off and things were so clear and bright. I just love that I have the opportunities I have: to be tattooed and collect ink, to meet the incredible people in the industry, to have the chance to read and learn, to think for myself, to write, to share, and more importantly than anything, to share my life with my husband and kids. These are the things I love and what keep me going. If I have any impact on anyone else, that is just icing on the cupcake. I am honored that anything I do is even read or seen, let alone have an impact on someone else. To me, that is what life is all about. I don't care about riches or fame, I care about making people happy and sharing what I know with those around me. One of my favorite quotes is, “Happiness is not to have more, but to be more.” That pretty much sums up the way I see life every day and am dedicated to staying true to that mantra.


Q: Your lovely family, your biggest inspiration! You guys are not just an "ordinary" family. You guys are like friends, a nice rocking crew!
A: They DEFINITELY ARE my biggest inspiration! They mean everything to me and keep me going every day. I feel so lucky to have their support and love. Thank you for the kind words - we all appreciate it greatly. I am so proud of each of them and want my kids to love what they become in life. As long as they are happy, that's all that matters. I believe that is what makes a person successful - if they can look back on their life and be proud of the choices they made, know that they helped others, and were happy. I hope they learn this lesson from me and Steve, because as parents, I feel that this is our most important role.


Q: You've said that you are planning a new book in 2011. This going to be your own project. Can you tell us more about that, or you going to keep it like a top secret?
A: Well, I do have a few new book projects in the works, actually. Mike and I have started working on a follow-up to the first “Let's Be Realistic” book, which is very exciting. The other project I have planned is still in the organizational stages, but it will focus on tattoos of a very special variety. I hope to have more information about the plans soon, so I will keep you posted. In addition to these projects, I just launched a new business called Ink Editor, where I offer writing, editing, and proofreading services to tattoo artists, photographers, fine artists, or anyone who seeks this type of work. To read more about this business and see some of the specifics that I offer, you can visit my website at www.InkEditor.com.

Q: What are your aims in everything you do, especially in you tattoo projects, like books, advices and all the rest of the activities we can actually see on your website?
A: My goal is always to promote the tattoo industry in a positive way. To showcase the people who make and wear the ink and to let them know how much I appreciate their dedication to keeping the tattoo world growing and moving forward. There is endless potential when it comes to creativity with this medium and I feel really lucky to play a small role in it all.

Q: If you got a chance to reborn again, would you be Jinxi Caddel as we all know?
A: That's such a great question. Gosh, I think I would. I guess if there is one thing I know how to be, it's me. So why change that, right?

Thanks, Iva. You are the best. I really appreciate the support and love I get from the readers of your website. I owe you all cupcakes with extra frosting and sprinkles!! Love, Jinxi

Thank you for the interview Jinxi.
It was my honor. All my best, take care.

CHEK OUT: Interview with Jinxi Caddel