Bonjour mes amours!
As I sit here writing this post listening to Mazzy Star with a pinot noir, I am dizzied in bliss from getting back to what I love doing. It’s been about four months since I’ve shared content with you guys and I’m grateful to be back to it. I plan on writing within the next few weeks on why I needed a break…HOWEVER, we’ll get into some other fun stuff first.
Since I can remember, I have been fascinated with tattoos. Even though I only have two right now, I’ve got about the next nine at LEAST lined up. Back in April I discovered Bailey Matheson on Instagram (@baileytattoo) and was drawn to his unique style of art. Naturally, I had to know more about him and what sucked him into the world of tattooing, so I reached out for the whole scoop. He even sketched out a one-of-a-kind #badontheweekend piece which is BEYONDDDD.
Sooooo let’s get to the interview with Bailey, shall we?
RR: You’re the first tattoo artist I’ve interviewed so I’m SUPER stoked about this. Tell us a little bit about yourself!
BM: I’m stoked also! You’re the first person to interview me regarding my art, so that makes two. I am actually a tattoo apprentice, but I’m working towards becoming an artist and have been since August 2016. I’ve done tattoos, but not enough to claim to be an artist yet. I’m hypercritical of myself too, so it may be a while before I actually claim that.
RR: When did your interest in tattooing begin? How’d you get into the industry?
BM: My interest in tattooing probably started back when I was 18 and I got my very first tattoo. At the time, I was more intrigued than interested in the industry though. I saw it as this weird, mysterious world and honestly never saw myself actually being a part of it. I didn’t get my second tattoo until I was around 21 and that’s probably when the interest initially birthed itself. I had drawn for most of my life, so I was already in a position to start building a portfolio of drawings and sketches. I texted my artist at the time and asked if he had any openings for apprenticeships and unfortunately he didn’t. However, he saw my drawings and told me to keep drawing, so coming from someone in the industry, that was hope enough to not give up. I then remembered him telling me about a new tattoo shop that had opened in town, Harbor’s End. I ran down there with my portfolio and introduced myself to the owner, Mason, and luckily he was willing to give me a chance and introduced me to the world I thought was once so bizarre.
RR: Your artwork is incredible and very unique. Where does your inspiration come from?
BM: Thank you so much! My inspiration comes from all over. I don’t have a car, so I walk and skate a lot around my town. I see things in nature that’ll sometimes spark an idea for a drawing. I’ll hear someone talking about a certain topic when I’m getting coffee in the morning and that might be the spark. It’s kinda one of those things that just come; you can’t really go looking for it. Some of the artists that have been most influential and inspiring to me are Salvador Dali, Banksy, and Andy Warhol.
RR: Beyond tattooing, do you channel your creativity into other artforms?
BM: I love music. I’m not very good at it, but I love it. That’s probably my biggest escape really. I love drawing and visual art so much, but I don’t know if there’s anything quite like the escape that playing music can offer. I play for myself and no one else, so that’s why I’m not too concerned about not being great. Music has also inspired my drawings before. I can definitely clear my mind and get into a pretty creative head space when I’m jamming.
RR: What tattoo(s) have you done that you are the most proud of?
BM: I haven’t done a ton of tattoos yet, probably around 20-25. I’ve done seven of those on myself and the bulldog I did on my right thigh is probably my favorite so far. I like it the most, because although it’s pretty simple, it’s probably the most technical tattoo that I’ve personally done. It has line work, some shading, and some color packing, so it was a fun and exciting piece for me to try some new techniques.
RR: Where are you tattooing now and do you have any plans to open your own shop one day?
BM: I’m at Harbor’s End Tattoo in Laguna Beach, CA on Pacific Coast Hwy. I would like to think that one day that may be a part of the plan. I feel like opening a tattoo shop is one of those milestones that every tattoo artist would love to accomplish. It’s a little too early in my career to think too seriously about that, but I’d be lying if I said that wouldn’t be rad.
RR: In a recent video I saw on your Instagram, I saw you practicing some tattooing on yourself! Is this a regular thing?? How many tattoos do you have yourself?
BM: I think tattooing on yourself is a great experience as an apprentice. It’s definitely a little bit trickier, because you have to pull some lines a little irregularly, but there’s also less pressure when trying new techniques. As a beginner in the industry, I feel way more comfortable trying something new on myself than on someone else. I have around 20 tattoos right now and about a third of them have been done by me.
RR: What is one of the most important pieces of advice you’ve received as an up-and-coming artist?
BM: I would say the best advice I’ve ever received as an artist is to just go for it; to attempt to do something with your life that you genuinely enjoy doing. I know, cliché, huh? Someone once told me though, “if you get a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life” and ever since then I’ve shot for that. I feel like we kinda live in a world where it seems mandatory to have a 9-5 cubicle job. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that if you enjoy it, but I feel like growing up we’re told we have to pursue certain kinds of jobs. We’ve all heard it, “go to school, get good grades, get into a good college, get a good job”. No parents ever pushed their child to become a tattoo artist (I could certainly be wrong, but I would imagine this isn’t common).
RR: Lastly, tell us where we can find you on social media!
BM: You can find me on Instagram at @baileytattoo. I also literally just made a Facebook page linked with my Instagram a couple weeks ago. I am most active on Instagram, but I’ve been trying to share all my posts with that Facebook page too.
Thank you again Rebecca for the interview, it’s been a pleasure and I greatly appreciate your interest in my work.
Peace and Love.
I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again – one of my favorite things is working with up-and-coming artists and entrepreneurs. I love discovering the young creatives and being a part of supporting their craft.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed talking with Bailey and sharing with you all! Go follow him on Instagram at @baileytattoo. When scrolling through my feed his work always catches my eye in the best way, so I hope it can do the same for you too.
Check out more of my interviews here!
Artwork courtesy of Bailey Matheson.