interview with Harrison Daniel | style | Perth, Melbourne 11/08/2018


Q: How long have you been tattooing? What inspired you to start learning about this beautiful art form?
A: I have been tattooing for 4 years now. After I finished school I studied visual arts and meet a few others who where interested in tattooing. listening to them discuss the industry and certain artists work made me curious. Tattooing never crossed my mind growing up, but after studying so many other forms of art it was definitely intriguing. I had no clue what I was getting into, but it ended up being the best decision I ever made.

Q: Was it hard to learn? What is your opinion on tattoo apprenticeship?
A: For me the hardest part was getting the tattoo to heal right. So many times through out my apprenticeship the client would leave after a day of tattooing and I would be super happy with the piece, but it would heal terrible. Ink would drop out or I would over work the skin. Takes time to figure out so many different factors but that was something I always worried about and still do.

Q: You have a very remarkable style. These days, seems like every single day there is a new style, many artists are coming up with new cool ideas, it is hard to create a unique "signature" style.
A: It can be really hard to think outside the box and get creative. Fortunately I was in a studio where it wasn't co-workers, it was a family and everyone was so driven and passionate about their work, always pushing each other to be the best artists they could be. Being surrounded by this, I had no option but to progress and push my art as far as possible. Taking inspiration from everyone around me I was able to create something of my own. I'm very grateful for all my clients, they allow me to push my designs further and further everyday.

Q: Tattooing itself is not an easy skill to learn. How much the knowledge for tattoo ink and skin plays a big role? Are there any specific rules of applying a specific ink to a different skin type etc? Give me a bit of guidance here.
A: Knowing your inks is very important. The more you use them the more you will see your tones and values healed across different skin types. I will always start with a black background first so I know how light and dark I can go with the subject matter and the skin tone. I'm happy to tattoo darker skin tones, but before the appointment we discuss that I'm restricted with how much tones I can use in the piece as my light washes won't show, making the tattoo a little less 3 dimensional.

Q: Realistic tattoos definitely took a big presence in the "new era" of professional tattooing. It's something that the last decade artists can take pride in being able to create a new way of doing tattoos and therefore stunning results. Taking the tattooing itself into a whole new level, I honestly see it as a big progress.
A: Yeh, I totally agree! opening up Instagram everyday after I finish work, I'm always blown away by what other artists are creating. It puts pressure on me! I stress that I might not be able to keep up! haha. I guess it helps me push further as well.

Q: Talking about your style... Despite the nice balance between the black & white ink, are there any other ways like applying some 3D effects or a nice background to compliment the whole design and bring the "realistic note' even more, what's the secret? heh
A: As well as having a nice dark back ground, using every stage of your grey wash set is very important in my eyes. You can take the easy way and whip tones out over an area for quick coverage. But slowly building up tones from light to dark really brings everything out. Also when looking for reference photos I will also try to find something with a different perspective. For example on my girlfriend's sleeve I chose a girl with her back to you instead of looking forward like a regular portrait. It's so different, it's interesting to look at. Not every client is willing to get that creative, but when they do I always get a bigger reaction from other artists and clients.

Q: How much experimenting is important for artistic progress? Have you ever tried something different than the style you're known for?
A: Playing with other styles is really fun! I do black and grey realism almost everyday so getting to do a little colour or some line work is refreshing. It helps break up my routine. I haven't adventured to far from black and grey but I can see myself moving into color realism in the future.

Q: Big tattoos like sleeves and backpieces can take 4-5 sessions to complete or maybe even more, depending of the complexly of the design, but when it's all done, I bet it's a pleasure for both, you and your client. Are this types of tattoos a big challenge (not just time & energy consuming) but at the same time a great way to really show off your skills even more?
A: Starting large tattoos like a back piece is always a challenge at the beginning. After the first 2 sessions you're left with the foundation of the design, so it doesn't really take form until the 3rd. I always worry that the clients trusted me with a full back and I've done a shit job! haha. Once that 3rd-4th sessions comes along I stop stressing and we both get to see that design come to life. It's a slow journey but definitely rewarding for both me and my clients in the end.

Q: Tattooing is a job that requires love and complete dedication. The journey of self development as an artist and maybe as a person outside tattooing can lead you to many interesting experiences and teach you some valuable lessons. There are ups and downs, lots of competition and pressure to become better on daily basis. Anything you can say that you cherish about being a tattoo artist?
A: What I love most about my job, is that it's not a job! I go to the studio and hang with friends, sit in the aircon and listen to my own music, doing something that I enjoy, getting paid to do my hobby, it's crazy! Another thing I cherish is being able to travel and tattoo. If I'm ever feeling boxed in at the shop then I can organise a trip and go out to do expos/conventions and meet new artists, and get super inspired!

Q: While doing a tattoo, customers usually reveal the story behind the design and the whole experience changes for both. Suddenly you learn about life struggles, coping strategies, love, compassion, victories of veterans etc etc. So many emotions that we humans have and express so differently. How much the good connection with the clients is important for one artist? Do you help your clients with some ideas for their design?
A: When discussing the design before tattooing, if the client specifically wants certain elements involved then I'll do my best to incorporate. But if it really doesn't work for my style or I can't imagine it working the rest of the design, then I explain to them why. Not all clients reveal their stories or their struggles, but when they do there is a closer connection with your client, and they're most likely going to trust you a lot more if they've shared that part of their life with you... 80% of the time clients will give me a lot of freedom, they're not so much attached to the piece emotionally, they just really want a piece of my art on them. Which is awesome!!

Q: Winter is probably the best time to get a tattoo, but seems like people are in a rush to get tattooed this time of the year. What are some of your best recommendations for getting a tattoo during summer and its aftercare treatment?
A: Australia can get very hot in the summer. After a session I'll cover the tattoo with cling film or saniderm, then I'll tape some paper towel over the top just keep the sun from hitting it... I would also recommend wearing pants or long sleeves for the next couple days just to protect it from the sun.

Q: After so many years in this job, what would you say to someone who plans to start tattooing? What's the best approach?
A: I've seen so many young apprentices come and go because they just want to look cool and trendy. This isn't fashion, we all worked hard to get to where we are because we genuinely love the art. I would just say make sure your ready to give everything up and dedicate yourself to what will probably be the best job you will ever have, and don't go for it because you like your favourite rappers face tattoos.

Please write your contact info such as email, website
IG: @harrison_tattoo

Mr.Harrison Daniel, Thank you for the interview,
Kind Regards,
The Skin Artist Team