Tat2X: How long have you been involved in the tattoo business?
Champ: I have been involved with tattooing for about 13 to 14 years.
Tat2X: What made you decide to become a tattoo artist?
Champ: It was a good way to remain an artist and make a living.
Tat2X: How did you learn the art of tattooing? Did you apprentice?
Champ: I apprenticed under Sean Wyett at Blackcat Tattoo in Boise Idaho. I was doing tattoos out of my art studio for a few months. Sean must have gotten sick of me bringing in these tattoos I’d done and asked me If I wanted to learn tattooing the right way. So I was kinda forged in the fire after that because he had me tattooing from the first day forward. I worked with Sean for 4 and half fun ass years then I moved to San Diego at the age of 25.
Tat2X: Are there any artists tattoo or otherwise that you admire?
Champ: All the guys I work at Guru with are really my inspiration. The shop is super creative place with 12 guys constantly busting out new art. Mucha and Rick Griffin are my favorite style masters but for tattooers its hard because there are so many amazing tattooers today. Like Curtis Burgess, Justin Wetherholtz, Jeff Gogue, Grez, Tim Biedron, Adam Turk and James Tex– that guy’s killing it.
Tat2X: Has any individual in particular influenced your career?
Champ: Kevin Dickinson lit A fire under my ass when I showed up at Guru. We would spend many a late night in the shop drawing after tattooing all day to wake up in the morning and draw more before work. If shit doesn’t work out you’ve got to let it go and start over and get it right even if you have to redraw it 15 times. If it’s not right it’s wrong.
Tat2X: What would you say is your favorite part of the job?
Champ: Making people happy and learning.
Tat2X: How would you describe your style?
Champ: The guys say it’s illustrative style? “F” that question!! Ha Ha!
Tat2X: What’s the most unusual request for a tattoo design you’ve ever had?
Champ: I covered up a Metallica logo with a bigger Metallica logo that had lightning shooting out of it below a girl’s bikini line. I also did a realistic depiction of a lion f***ing a man, on a guys chest. That’s like once in a lifetime shit.
Tat2X: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists tattoo or otherwise?
Champ: Get a real job.
Tat2X: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
Champ: Everything is game at the shop. It’s so diverse it’s weird. But when I’m home drawing in my studio it’s usually Roots Reggae or 90’s Hip Hop and Punk Rock. I love the Descendents, Operation Ivy, Fatt Freddys Drop, J5 and Hank III.
Tat2X: What do you do to relax when you’re not at the studio?
Champ: I draw tattoos on one or both of my days off usually. But when I do get some free time I like to surf, golf, shred snow, chill with my chicky and all that.
Tat2X: Is there anything else we should know about you or your studio?
Champ: It’s a great shop to get tattooed at, we have 12 guys with lots of experience. We just had a full remodel and it’s really cool inside. We will be at Ink and Iron again this year in June so look out for Guru… we will be there in force.
About Tattoo Artist Champion Grubbs:
To see more of Champion Grubbs spectacular work you can visit Guru Tattoo or you can email him directly at [email protected] . You can also follow him on instagram @championtattoos .