I never really thought about it. I just did it.
Growing up in a small town in the midwest, Austin was supported to pursue art early on in life.
Ever since I was a little kid I would always draw. I just grew into it. My mom was an artist. She did crafts and paintings. Stuff like that. I was supported by her and everyone, really. It was just something my family did.
His fascination grew into passion. And he never wanted to do anything else.
I always wanted to try to make a career out of it. I always wanted to be an illustrator. I never wanted a normal job. I just wanted to create stuff.
Like many, Austin’s first glimpse of tattoo art was from the musical artists he followed.
I first learned about tattoos in middle school, probably. I was always kind of a punk rock kid growing up. The music I liked and everything I saw had tattoo around it. People like Tupac and Marilyn Manson. They had a lot of tattoos. I just thought tattoos were cool.
An opportunity arose to fuse his love of art and tattoo.
I was getting tattooed by an artist that I showed some of my artwork to. He was impressed and offered me an apprenticeship.
My first day tattooing I was terrified.
After his short apprenticeship that taught him the basics, Austin took his learning on the road.
I feel like I’ve learned more by traveling and working with a bunch of artists. I’ve worked with a bunch of shops and a lot of people I respect a lot.
From his apprenticeship to the journey that lead him to Hart & Huntington Tattoo Co. Nashville, Austin feels the most important thing to learn is respect.
I want artists to have a deep respect for the art form in general. It’s not all about money. It has to be something that’s important to you. No matter what style you’re doing, respect the art and the history of it.
Be proud of what you’re doing and know that it’s forever. It’s a deep rooted tradition for people. Put your all into it. And always try to grow.
How Austin continues to grow is from his peers and a bit of healthy competition.
I got tattooed by people who I thought were better than me. That’s why I always like to work around good artists. You want to try to be as good or better than the people around you.
You’re always going to grow if you try to work with other artists that are trying to grow, too.
One thing that hasn’t changed is Austin’s favorite tattoo style.
I always liked cartoons and illustrations, like illustrated books and stuff. So I draw with an illustrated style…lots of exaggerated stuff and bold color.
Most of my work has a horror movie feel to it. I like to draw creepy stuff with a cartoony, illustrated twist…a lot of zombies, Frankenstein, Beetlejuice, and vampires.
The respect Austin has for the art enables him to put everything he’s learned into his next tattoo project.
I hope I feel every new tattoo I do is the best one.
I want to give people a tattoo I wouldn’t mind wearing.