Interview with Donal | Global Tattooer

  Hello Global Tattooer! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. It really means a lot having you here. I hope our conversation will inspire many young, aspiring artists to get into professional tattooing and learn about the possibilities of a successful career abroad.

Q: As an owner, please explain to us what Global Tattooer stands for.
A: Global Tattooer Is a company which was created to enable artists from all over the world to come and live and work in the USA legally, and be able to travel freely within America, working at multiple Tattoo Studios and Tattoo conventions, and still maintain the flexibility of traveling globally.

Q: When was Global Tattooer founded ? Are you a team of professionals or one man?
A: Global Tattoo was founded in 2020. I am a co-owner of global Tattooer with my business partner Caity Taylor. As of now we have a total of five people in our business, myself, Caity and three case managers, Mauricio, Kav, and Tara. We’ve all been involved in the tattoo world for many years.

Q: Who’s idea was Global Tattooer and how long it took to create this successful company?
A: The initial idea was mine, although I need to say that I cannot do it without my business partner, Caity and our team of caseworkers. I actually did my first O-1 Artist visa 12 years ago. I initially formed a company in 2015 to help facilitate the visa, then in 2018 I began to think of forming an agency which would actually do all the work needed for the visa requirements and also help place the artists in studios in the USA. In 2020 I formed Global Tattooer with my business partner Caity. We spent the first two years proving the concept working with top level artists and making sure that we had our structures in place to facilitate building the business and working on multiple submissions at the same time. In 2023 I began to attend international conventions with global Tattooer, Gods of Ink in Frankfurt, Ennis Tattoo convention in Ireland, Cali Tattoo convention in Columbia, Barcelona Tattoo convention, and of course, my own convention in New York, the New York Tattoo convention. By doing all this traveling and building our website and Instagram presence, it helped us lay the groundwork to bring the brand Global Tattooer to the next level.

Q: What where the main challenges, and what kept you motivated to continue on this path?
A: Initially, our main challenge was actually a physical and geographical challenge in that the concept was born during Covid, I was forced to stay at home for four months because my tattoo studio in New York was closed, but it allowed us to get busy. What motivates me is that am an immigrant myself in America. I came here 30 years ago under a working visa, so I believe I have a huge affinity and particular sensitivity to those people wanting to make a new life in the USA. I am also passionate about the industry I work in, owning several businesses within the industry, @inkologyartgallery, @inkologyartgallery_la, @thenewyorktattooconvention and @belfasttattooconvention.

Q: What is your background?
A: I grew up in the north of Ireland just outside Belfast. I moved to London and went to work on “Wall Street”, as a foreign exchange, money broker and then moved to New York. I worked on Wall Street for 15 years, then I owned my own construction company, and after having been tattooed for many years, I got an opportunity to open my first studio in 2011, and I’ve worked in the industry ever since. So you might say it’s been a journey off a few careers, to get to my ultimate career in the tattoo industry. Caity's career began in hospitality in New York City, working one on one with clients. She began working as a professional make-up artist in 2013, igniting her passion for a career in the arts, where she went on to work in the tv/film industry. With a passion for the tattoo world since a young age, she began assisting and managing artists, coming to manage Inkology's NY studio in 2019 and ultimately starting Global Tattooer with myself in 2020.

Q: Is it difficult to represent tattoo artists?
A: I don't believe representing artists is difficult at all, but certainly came with a learning curve. As a business person, I am "left-brained" whereas artists tend to think more with their right side. It's been a continuously exciting and collaborative process, and as all my businesses are artist facing, I believe myself and Caity have worked hard to facilitate a successful flow with the artists within Global Tattooer, while meeting their needs.

Q: Social media is a big part of our industry. What are you looking for before taking a case?
A: It’s very true social media platforms, especially Instagram, are the vehicle which are most influential in the tattoo industry. Obviously there are those artists with hundreds of thousands of followers who have built an incredible career and are very well known, and from that point of view they have established credibility. However there are those artists just beginning their journey and are facing the daunting task of building their followers on social media, which is becoming more and more difficult. Luckily with the O1 Visa, there are approximately 6/7 other criteria which are very very very important and with those we can help build a successful petition for the artist.

Q: Who is a good candidate for the 01 Visa?
A: A good candidate for the visa is an artist who has attended international conventions, who has awards, who has interviews in the press and in magazines, who is sponsored by major brands in the industry, who has given seminars, who has judged at conventions, done collaborations with other extraordinary artists, and also has done multiple high profile guest spots. Although I will say that if you do not have all of these, we will still take the time to talk with you and give you a roadmap to achieve these things, utilizing all of my connections in the global tattoo industry and the fact that I am a studio and convention owner in the I believe that it is our resources and relationships that make us distinct in the process of representing an artist for an O1 visa. The candidate who is willing to go after their dreams with vigor and determination in exposing their work to the world has a great chance.

Q: Please explain the process in working with Global Tattooer.
A: We do get many requests so the first thing I do is ask the client to complete the questionnaire that we have on our website to get all of the basic info. We will then have an in-depth phone-call in which we go through their portfolio and achievements together. Once the artist has signed to work with our company, they are assigned a Case Manager who will walk them through the entire process as the artist and manager work together to compile all the evidence required by the USA government. The gathering of the information usually takes between six and seven months, where we compile the evidence and formulate their petition to be the most readable and eligible case. As we have a huge database and contacts with all the major conventions magazines and tattoo brands around the world, we can help the artist with all of this process, but again it is just as important that the artist participates in providing us with documented proof of their achievements over the years. Once the submission is completed, submit it to the USCIS , which is the part of the USA government which overseas working visas. Once the artists approval happens, we will complete a form to schedule their interview at the closest American consulate to their current home. Once they have this interview, they will receive their visa stamp in their passport and they are ready to come to the USA. We believe at Global Tattooer that communication is key. We keep up a regular communication via e-mail, whatsapp, and phone calls to ensure that we are all on track for a timely submission.

Q: Is it affordable to work with you? Are you willing to help those from developing countries?
A: Yes, I do believe it’s affordable to work with Global Tattooer. Right now our fee is $8500 which includes preparing the petition, printing, mailing, and if you have a spouse or a child, we also include them in the petition for no additional cost, this also includes the main government fees. We have done the research to make sure that our pricing is fair as there are many immigration lawyers and agencies within the US and around the word that will offer similar services. These other entities may charge more, or less, sometimes significantly so. However, what I fundamentally believe is that we are truly unique in our ability to be very familiar with the government requirements while also having extensive backgrounds in business, one-on-one client care, and within the tattoo industry for over 15 years. Over the years, I have developed relationships with all of the major conventions, magazines and brands all around the world. I also own two studios in America, a convention in New York and a convention in Belfast. As for artists from developing countries, we absolutely work with any artist from around the world who is able to achieve the criteria needed to be approved. Additionally, I believe strongly in working with an artist who might not yet have achieved the criteria, but is willing to work hard to achieve it. We are happy to provide a roadmap to make
sure this happens if they truly want it.

Q: What do the American authorities look for?
A: The O1 Visa has a set of six criteria which is listed by the USA government. These criteria are written in a legal manner, and we take the world of tattooing and transpose it onto the legal criteria. The most crucial things are 1. International conventions of a distinguished nature, if they are by invitation this is even better 2. Awards won at reputable conventions 3. Judging at a tattoo convention 4. Sponsorship from brands within the Tattoo industry 5. Presenting a seminar 6. Interviews in major Tattoo publications 7. Tattooing at major/famous tattoo, studios all around the world with other extraordinary artists 8. Collaborations with other extraordinary artists 9. Tattooing celebrities or public figures 10. Charitable endeavors. With all the above, it is truly better to have several of each as this builds an impressive submission.

Q: How long does it take an artist from start to finish off the O1 Visa Process?
A: In total, it can take approximately between nice to ten months. This is broken into two parts. It will take six to seven months to collect all the data and referral letters to build the artist's submission. Then the government will review it for anywhere between six weeks and three months, although the review process can be expedited if you pay for "premium processing" where the government will guarantee you an answer in 15 days. Of course, premium processing is an additional fee paid directly to the government, the fee is $2805.

Q: Do you have a favorite success story?
A: To be honest, I do not have a favorite, I love each one of Global’s success stories, and approvals. As I mentioned before , I myself at one point, 32 years ago was an immigrant to the United States of America, so I truly understand the process of changing your whole life and coming to a new country and starting again. Every client is a representation of what I have already done in my life.

Q: As a team, do you inspire each other?
A: I believe as a team we work very cohesively and professionally. We each have designated responsibilities. I myself am usually the first point of contact. My business partner, Caity runs the daily activities and manages the other case managers, and ultimately oversees the final petition of every artist. There is constant contact between all of us and Caity and I have a weekly review of where we are in all cases, of course
every 2 to 3 months we do a team meeting by zoom and look at our operation procedures and we are always trying to make those better and more streamlined. The collection of the data and the writing of the petition for the submission is time-consuming and very dense material, every petition is usually somewhere between 700 and 900 pages in length. Ultimately, we celebrate our successes together, I believe it’s very important that the person who has worked on the artist’s case, that they reach out to that artist first and let them know that they have been approved then myself and Caity will follow up to congratulate.
These are our contacts:
You can also find us at these major conventions for 2024/2025
As we are a growing company, the artists are the lifeblood of our business and we are always looking to make new contacts and provide our services to new artists.

Q: Any plans for the future?
A: Yes, of course! We are always looking for ways to grow, so we plan to continue traveling to major conventions throughout the world to provide excellent service. We actually have some new exciting services, which will be available this year so stay tuned.