Friday 29 November 2013

Interview with tattoo artist Matt Lambdin (Troy, Michigan)

Name : Matt Lambdin
Location : Troy, Michigan
Who : Tattoo artist at Ironclad Tattoo Co

Lisa Jenson : After learning to tattoo, how much time passed  before you could said to yourself "hey, I'm good tattoo artist"?

Matt Lambdin : Well, I would say that I've only recently found my niche, if that's what you would call it. Within the past year and a half or so. For the first three and a half years that I was in this industry, I felt I progressed very slowly.

L.J. : Put a name to your tattoo style.

Matt Lambdin : That's been a question that all the guys at the shop and I have always had trouble answering. We need SOMETHING to put on the website, so I said Illustrative, or Stylized Traditional. I'm sure there are hundreds of other names to call it.

L.J. : Do you think it's possible for a person who can't draw very well to succeed in tattoo industry?

Matt Lambdin : Of course I do! It's not always about someone's ability to draw (although, it can't hurt). I'd imagine a portrait artist's first discipline is probably attention to detail. But then again, I wouldn't know! Realism is a skill on a whole different level, that I myself can't grasp, but I think someone's design ability is usually what's key. As well as experience.

L.J. : Looking through your portfolio, it seems you can draw everything from animal portraits to mandala and dotwork tattoos. Is there anything about tattooing/drawing that you find difficult or you would like to learn?

Matt Lambdin : I would like to be able to draw the human figure better, and I think that I need to spend more time on faces while tattooing. But, with every project, you tend to understand a little bit more. For instance, horses and dragons don't seem to come naturally to me, but I feel I'm slowly starting to understand them (well, horses at least!). As far as what I need to learn about tattooing; that list could just go on...

L.J. : Based on your experiences, do you find most people have some philosophy about tattoos (meaning, expressing yourself etc), or feel like it's just a picture on skin?

Matt Lambdin : For others, both situations are probably equal in frequency. For myself, I lean more towards the art of the tattoo. What I want on my own body, would be something I admire and appreciate. Not so worried about what story or meaning I can conjure up to tell everyone.

L.J. : Each of your works is a piece of art, but do you ever feel tired and blank? How do you find inspiration?

Matt Lambdin : I think everyone feels void of creativity from time to time, but I feel lucky because a lot of my clients will allow me to run with their ideas. And trust me, a lot of bad ideas come out of my head. Probably more so than any good ones. But I usually find inspiration from older, classical artists. Or from my peers, especially after period of time where I feel I've slipped a bit.

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