For the December/January issue of Inked magazine, I had the pleasure of interviewing tattoo artist, painter, and now sculptor BUGS, whose blend of cubism and art deco inspired tattoos have earned him international acclaim as an innovator in the industry. You can pick up a copy at local news sellers in the US & Canada or download the digital mag via Zinio. Here's a taste of our Q&A:
Because there's such a demand for your work, how do you keep things fresh and find new ideas to answer this demand? Well, it's been about fourteen or fifteen years since I started doing my own style. I've been improving my style over these years and now it's kind of strong and powerful. When people see my work on others, they recognize it right away. I reached what I was looking for. To keep it fresh is a lot of work. You take a lot of time to progress but to stay on top of your game is the hardest part. Every day I draw. I paint a lot. I practice, and the more I do it, I discover new things.
How do you find the balance between very angular design and the contours of the body? That's hard to explain. It has become natural to me--it's the way I draw things. When it comes to designs like flowers or women (there are a lot of women in my work), I try to avoid too much detail and information. I try, in just one outline, to show the silhouette of the body, for example.
What do you think is one of the biggest challenges?
It is to be creative every single time. Consider that all my work is custom and original--that's where it becomes complicated. When you do flash, you can do the same design ten or a hundred times with little variation, but when it comes to my kind of work, people are expecting original art. It's a lot of work. How many cubic women or flowers can I do? They all have to be different--in my style--but different. I never do the same tattoo twice.
Read more in Inked. You can make an appointment with Bug's at The Tattoo Lounge in LA.