Tat2X: How long have you been involved in the tattoo business?
Carl: I have been involved with tattooing for 13 years since 2001.
Tat2X: What made you decide to become a tattoo artist?
Carl: When I was younger I was studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering. As students, my brother King Afa and I were always broke. Our financial situation was pretty dire, to say the least. Looking back on our money worries now, I wish we could have found something similar to this article here that contains an overview of some of the best credit cards for students. I think a credit card would have massively helped us out. Anyway, we needed a way to make money to survive. My brother had a tattoo done in Tonga with a home-made Machine, so he had some kind of idea of how to make them. Toothbrush, sewing needles, motor from my electronic projects, and a piece of hanger to tie the needle onto with threads and away we started tattooing starting with ourselves.
Tat2X: How did you learn the art of tattooing? Did you apprentice?
Carl: I always wanted to make a living off art as I always loved the subject, however tattooing had never crossed my mind… I started tattooing friends of friends, and the word got out, so I decided to approach a studio in the city of Kuala Lumpur for an apprenticeship…Spec Ung took me in for a year before I migrated to the States.
Tat2X: Are there any artists tattoo or otherwise that you admire?
Tat2X: Has any individual in particular influenced your career?
Carl: Yes Filip Leu or Felix Leu (dad)… He made sure that the whole family were tattooists too.
Tat2X: What would you say is your favorite part of the job?
Carl: my favourite part of the job is seeing people happy with the end product…they always make me love my job even more!
Tat2X: How would you describe your style?
Carl: I would call it Polynesian tattoo or tribal.
Tat2X: How do you feel about Western style tattoos?
Carl: I love western tattoos too, in fact I apply a lot of the western techniques to my work. I’m also slowly learning how to do western tattoos.
Tat2X: What’s the most unusual request for a tattoo design you’ve ever had?
Carl: I’ve had a lot of guys requesting to tattoo their genital parts but I just can’t go there, I wouldn’t wanna eat after that, girls are fine though, don’t mind.
Tat2X: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists tattoo or otherwise?
Carl: My advice is to follow your dream and work towards it, make every moment count. Don’t take your eyes off the target..give it everything …make sacrifices…
When I first started making money, I made sure I had the best machines and second was my Autoclave, not on smokes and Alcohol.
Tat2X: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
Carl: Depending on my mood, I listen to Easy Listening, Hip Hop, African, Funk, Reggae, RnB, Heavy Metal and also House.
Tat2X: What do you do to relax when you’re not at the studio?
Carl: When I’m not tattooing I’m at the Gym as I also do bodybuilding.
Tat2X: Is there anything else we should know about you or your studio?
Carl: At the moment I’m in the process of teaching my son Carl Junior III ( the 3rd).. To take over my job one day..I started him off with a lot of drawings..I wanna do what the Leu Family are doing and I’m also fighting to become a Pro Bodybuilder by Winning Mr. New Zealand one day.
About Tattoo Artist Carl Cocker:
To see more of Carl Cocker’s excellent work you can visit Kalia Tattoo or you can follow him on Facebook at Kalia Tattoo Ltd or on Twitter at @carl_cocker . You can also visit his tattoo studio in Auckland, New Zealand.