Interview with Matt Jordan | Ship Shape Tattoo, New Zealand  23/05/2012 

Q: When did you start doing tattoos? What made you to become a tattoo artist?
A: I started tattooing around 8 years ago, I was 18 at the time and was sick of the work I was doing. I knew what I wanted to do, so I took the plunge and committed to tattooing.

Q: Why tattoo artist?
A: My dad was also a tattooer so I had always wanted to do it, I had an obsession with tattoo from a very young age. I had a pretty artistic background in a sense, my dad passed away when I was young but I still loved art and tattoos. I spent a lot of my life drawing and painting. My older sister, Bonnie, was also an artist so we used to draw together a lot when we were young.

Q: What kind of art interested you while you were starting?
A: When I first started tattooing I was into every kind of art I saw! I found inspiration in all kinds of things and still do. I think this is very important if you want to truly make the most of it and progress as your own artist.

Q: Do you have any influences, people you admire?
A: Too many to list... haha! Some of my favorite artists from the start were Paul Booth, Robert Hernandez, Fillip Leu, then from there the tattoo artists just started popping up all over the place. To this day I still find new tattooers and painters that blow my mind!!


Q: Some people say that it is possible to be self though artist. What are your thoughts about this?
A: I think it’s possible, although I think (with the odd exception) you will never reach your full potential. The more you watch what other tattooers are doing and get tattooed by others the more you will learn about how it works. I like to think I learn something from every artist I meet good and bad, you know what I mean?

Q: Artists are constantly making some changes in their style, technically and artistically. How has your work developed over the years?
A: I tattooed flash for around 4 years, and then I started working towards doing realism work. From there I have tried lots of things, sometimes to stay busy you have to do all kinds of tattoos! I think this has helped my tattoos become what they are. I still don’t think I have found something I feel I want to call my “style” every tattoo I do I approach differently.

Q: I can see a lot of custom tattoos. In which designs you find most creative freedom?
A: Some tattoos that are not portraits but are realistic are the most free for me. I love when a customer says “I want you to do something e.g. a skull but do it any color you want!” 9 times out of 10 when this happens, their tattoo will end up 100 shades of pinks and purples ha-ha...

Q: Maybe the most impressive think about your work is the color shading in layers. Seems like there is 3d work in some of them. What is most difficult part in doing color tattoos ?
A: I guess so, most of the time its not intentional, it just happens when the photo to start with has that 3d look to it. The most difficult for me is to not over do it. I get so carried away with colors as I do a lot of black and grey, so when I do color its generally loud.

Q: Can you tell me about the making process, do you collaborate with your clients when it comes to ideas?
A: I like my customers to give me a guideline to follow. I will then come back to them with images I think will work best, and work from there to make a compromise if I need to. Normally they just let me do my thing though.

Q: What kind of tattoos people like the most?
A: In New Zealand realism is just starting to take off now witch suits me just fine!! I am getting a lot of statues and such at the moment which is great fun but very hard work!

Q: Would you say that there are some tattoo trends nowadays?
A: I see tons of people getting phrases and lyrics tattooed on them at the moment. Day of the dead stuff is FINNALY starting to die down. I have seen many trends in my short time tattooing and I’m sure there are countless new ones on the way. I think wizards are going to come back hardcore soon... Well we can only hope.

Q: What are the most interesting experiences with the customers?
A: Hahaha… So many! Some are a bit personal though, maybe one day I will write a book about the weird shit I have seen and heard. I will have to ask my customers first though.

Q: Any strange requests, you would like to share with us? Or there is no strange request for a tattoo?
A: An elderly man (about 80) once asked me to tattoo a pair of red and black lacy underwear on him with “Spank me, fuck me, please.” written on the bum.

Q: In a few words, what are the most important things that every single artist should know in order to become successful and respected?
A: Don’t be a dick, don’t be a rock star, be friendly, and be humble. If you think you’re the shit you’re not, there are a thousand artists out there that are better than you so try harder and never stop learning.

Please feel free to share your feature plans about your work and your work info.
I have some plans up my sleeve for the next few years so keep an eye on my blog and I will keep you all

Thanks so much for this opportunity and I look forward to work with you again in the future.