This month we had the opportunity to talk with David King
of Apocalyptic Tattoo Studio. Here’s what he had to say
about life as a tattoo artist…
Tat2X: How long have you been in the tattoo business?
David: 20 years. 15 professionally.
Tat2X: What made you decide to become a tattoo artist?
David: Ever since I was a real young age, I was selling paintings and drawings I did. I guess one thing just lead to another. From there something deep inside of me grew. I wanted to be able to take my work in turn it into living, breathing artwork.
Tat2X: How did you learn the art of tattooing? Did you apprentice?
David: At first no, I started crudest way anyone could unfortunately. I built my own (gun), A term which still to this day upsets me greatly, 1st because that term in the industry is ridiculous, Its a machine. Anyways, it did not take me long at all to consider the fact that’s the absolute worst way to get into tattooing. So I checked around asked some questions, and started as an apprentice. It was quite a miserable experience at first. But, it became something wonderful. Needless to say I’ve never looked back.
Tat2X: Has anyone in particular influenced your career?
David: Paul Booth. I find his style to be very innovative. At a time when sticker tattoos were quite common. He broke the mold. He went above and beyond your typical tattoo styles. In addition to Paul the two people I apprenticed under (Im not going to mention their names) were great teachers, they taught me quite a bit about the tattoo industry. Unfortunately they have both passed on. As the years go by, I find myself picking up things here and there. I learn new things all the time. I think that’s what keeps me versatile.
Tat2X: What would you say is your favorite part of the job?
David: Definitely the people. I meet all types. I’ve tattooed doctors and lawyers and your average everyday people. You learn a lot about a persons sense of humor, personality, likes, and dislikes. I think the tattoo industry has progressed greatly. 15 -20 years ago, tattoo shops were places that the general public would not see themselves. Now, I have people from all walks of life come through my doors. For example, I have a very sweet lady that comes in once or twice a month to get a tattoo. Shes in her 70’s. She gives me a great big kiss before she heads out the door.
Tat2X: What style of tattoos do you do?
David: I don’t really have a particular style. I like to create the piece to fit the person. We will sit down a design something completely original. That is by far my favorite thing to do. I don’t mind doing your typical flash art work. I try to encourage the client to get something that another person isn’t going to be able to pick off the wall later.
Tat2X: Do you have a funny tattoo story to share?
David: I had a shop in North Dakota and a girl come in and wanted a butterfly on her ankle. Her 80 year old grandmother was with her. Needless to say the tattoo was completed and the grandma started to ask me about her ears getting pierced. I showed her how we do the procedure and she says oh no, I cant do that. So I told her I could order the kit like at Claire’s. She came back a week later and got her ears done. (Personally I think the piercing needle scared the hell out of her.) A month or so passed and she came back wanting the same tattoo as her granddaughter. I was shocked, she did not want the piercing needles, but got a tattoo. She loved her new tattoo and has since come back for two more!
Big thanks to David King for taking some time to answer our questions and for sharing his stories with us!
If you’re currently in the Panacea Florida area and are looking to get some work done you can find David at Apocalyptic Tattoo Studio. If you do stop in consider bringing a toy to donate for the toys for tots program!
Apocalyptic Tattoo Studio
Address: 1383 Coastal Highway, Panacea, Florida 32346
Hours: Mon-Sat 12:00pm to 12:00am
Nicole Bodem is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to the Tat2X blog.
Note: Tat2X is not affiliated with any of the tattoo artists/shops featured on our blog.