Interview with Ian Thompson

   Hello Ian Thompson! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. It really means a lot having you here. Please start by telling us something about yourself and your background. Hey there, I am a tattoo artist from Waterford, Ireland. I've been tattooing for 8 years now. Something that surprises a lot of people about me is that I grew up in the countryside, and spent a significant amount of my early years farming, and while pursuing my career in tattooing found myself in Dublin city where I am currently based.

Q: What got you interested in tattoo art?
A: I had always loved art, all my life, but there's just something so captivating about creating a work of art on skin, that you then take with you for the rest of your life.

Q: How old were you when you did your first tattoo? Who gave you the trust?
A: I was 22 when I did my first tattoo, on myself actually. Almost like a right of passage, but I could not have predicted just how important that decision was and how far it's taken me.

Q: How long did it take to figure out your creative direction and to learn the basics?
A: The first few years were a constant grind, not only to find which styles best suited me, but to acknowledge where I needed to improve before finally getting the confidence in the basics.

Q: Was it difficult? Did anyone help you?
A: It was a difficult time for sure, after my first year of tattooing I saw the most growth, this was when I started working with Soydan in Yakuza Tattoo in Waterford city. It was inspiring to be working and learning from such a skilled artist.

Q: There are many interesting tattoos in your portfolio. All beautifully done in black and gray style. Are you sticking to this type of work or you might experiment with other styles and techniques?
A: While I do love black and grey tattooing, I also believe as an artist you should always experiment, challenge yourself and try new things.

Q: What do you like about this style the most?
A: I love how versatile it is, I feel like there's endless possibilities, from capturing all those tiny details in a realism piece to making something more simple, bold, illustrative. Your imagination is the limit really.

Q: Do you have any favorite tattoo you did recently that maybe was challenging to do at first but it turned out really good in the end?
A: Recently I had a gothic illustrative portrait booked in, this was going to be a challenge as it was a partial cover up, and working between existing tattoos on all sides. In the end the tattoo turned out wonderful, the available space between the existing tattoos was utilised to its full extent and both myself and the client were thrilled with the result.

Q: How much the experience helps in maintaining regular clientele and feeling confident? Let's not forget the fact that modern tattooing requires constant learning and curiosity.
A: Tattooing these days is a saturated market, being confident in your abilities and putting out not only your best work but your best service to your clients is important to ensure a regular clientele, but to stand out in the crowd you must always be learning and adapting in this fluid industry.

Q: Talking about creativity and personal development... What are some of your plans for the future?
A: I am planning to go to more international conventions and guest spots. I am currently getting ready for some shows and to do some work in Germany. I am truly blessed to have these opportunities to see and work with such incredible artists at these events, and to be a guest in their studios.

Q: What is your experience when it comes to working together with other artists?
A: I have had the chance to work with some pretty amazing artists over the years. Recently I had an opportunity to do a short guest spot in Swan St.Tattoo in Manchester where I worked with Chris Green. It was a little intimidating to meet such a high profile artist, but he was so down to earth. I learned so much being able to sit in on his tattoo session watching one of the best at work.

Q: Which country is your favorite to work as a guest guest artist and why?
A: For me my favorite country so far to guest in has been the UK, there are so many great studios and artists while also not being too different to what I'm used to back in Ireland. Being a short flight away I've managed to spend a significant amount of time doing guest spots all over the UK.

Q: How is the local tattoo scene? Do you see progress?
A: The tattoo scene here in Dublin is booming, it's hard not to be inspired by how many talented artists there are here and the general acceptance of tattoos by the public is more popular than its ever been.

Q: What about the global tattoo scene? Do you think we are heading in a good direction?
A: Absolutely, as a whole, I'm always seeing people all over the world push the realm of possibilities with tattooing as an art form and many cultures getting rid of the taboo association with tattooing.

Q: The American tattoo scene is huge and very diverse. If given chance, where in the USA would you want to go? Where is that creative hotspot?
A: The scene over there is massive, and given the chance I'd like to soak up as much of it as possible, I think I'd be spoiled for creative influence.

Q: We have a lot of tattoo conventions nowadays. Every county has their own and I think the level of quality and professionalism is way higher that it used to be just 7-10 years ago. Most are really well organized and the artists who participate are amazing. Please write some of the awards you got and how much does this means to you.
A: My very first convention was probably one of the biggest milestones in my career, the 2019 Waterford City International Tattoo convention, I was thrown in the deep end as I was offered a booth only about a week before the show. I was a bag of nerves and excitement, it was an amazing time. I managed to come out with 'best of show', 'best of Saturday' and 'best small black and grey' It meant the world to me that in a place with so much talent and skill around me I was able to stand out and make such an impression.

Q: You are lucky company like Yayo Skincare noticed you and supports your work. How and when this beautiful collaboration happen?
A: I have had an amazing relationship with Yayo over the years, they reached out to me pretty early in my career and asked if I'd be interested in using their products for my tattoos. Ever since they've been my number one choice for tattoo aftercare and process butters to work with. I cannot thank Kirk from Yayo enough for the support over the years.

- Are you open to work with other brands?
There are so many great companies in our industry that offer revolutionary products, I'm always happy to work with brands that can help me give my clients the best possible results.

Q: If you were starting today, with so much more info about tattooing, seminars, tv, YouTube and what not... What would you do differently? Please give some advice for those who want to try getting into professional tattooing?
A: Honestly despite all the advancements, popularity, and readily available info and access to equipment and what not in modern tattooing, the fundamentals remain the same. If you want to get into professional tattooing there's no better way than to do your research and have someone mentor you in a professional environment.

Mr. Ian Thompson thank you so much for the interview, it really means a lot.

Find Ian on Instagram: ian_thompson_tattoo