It is always so inspiring when I meet people who are passionate about life. No matter where that enthusiasm is directed, there is just something magical about being around someone who really loves what they do and the direction they are headed. So imagine how fantastic it is when you encounter a creative soul who is fervent towards their not only their career, but their art, their friends, and life in general. Enter, the talented Eva Huber.
Eva is that rare gem of a tattooist who makes you want to surround yourself with color, design, paintbrushes, and tattoo ink, like there is no tomorrow. Her designs and creativity are so inspiring and it’s easy to see why she has such a loyal clientele, that continues to grow and grow with each passing day.
Bitten by the ink bug at an early age, Huber started her own tattoo collection at the age of 16, when she and her best friend decided it was time to succumb to the body mod urge. Little did she know that just a few years later, her lifelong love of drawing and creating would lend itself to a future as a tattoo artist, of which she has been dedicated to for eight years now.
After proving herself early on, Eva has continually landed gigs at renowned shops that are just brimming with tattoo talent. Some of her early years were spent working alongside Cory Cudney, where she learned different perspectives towards the art form and soaked up extensive knowledge along the way. She next worked at the famous Off the Map studio, meeting a slew of talented tattooists who were a mixture of shop regulars, as well as guest artists, who Off the Map hosts regularly. She has now found a wonderful home with Andy Barrett at Horseshoes & Hand Grenades in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Eva loves her home at H&HG where the atmosphere is laid back and full of artistic inspiration.
It was such a pleasure to speak with the beautiful Miss Eva about her tattoo journey, views of the industry, and what great things are coming next for her. I hope you enjoy reading about her today. Oh, and don’t be surprised if she captivates you with not only her beauty, but her true talent and charm as well.
When you were a little girl, did you think you would grow up to become an artist, or work in the artistic field? Do you remember drawing and creating a lot as a child?
Growing up, all I did was draw- on the paper, walls, sidewalk, clothes, even myself and friends at school! I knew I had it in me to be artistic and it was almost uncontrollable. As far as getting into tattooing though, I didn't see that coming, ever.
What was your initial exposure to the tattoo world and when did you first add your own piece of ink to your skin? Was that a transformative time in your life?
My Great Uncle Norman has 'TRUE LOVE' tattooed across his knuckles. I remember seeing those when I was very young. Then a few years later my sister had me sneak into her bedroom and watch her hand-poke a little cross tattoo on her ankle. I think I was around 8 or 9 at that point?
I just remembered seeing the knuckles and thinking, “Wow, he has something to say.” Where as witnessing my sister, it was more of a secret rebellion, back to claiming her rights! Hahaha.
I was 16 when I had my first tattoo and it wasn't anything crazy. My best friend and I chalked our learners permits and went into a skeezy shop in downtown Buffalo, NY. Our tattoos cost $30 a piece and were nothing spectacular- other than that we were identifying ourselves and responding to that primitive urge.
When did you know that you wanted to be a tattoo artist and what were those first steps you took to learn the craft?
I would say right around the time of being 18 it struck me that I could potentially be really good at this medium which I had no experience with. I had been drawing and painting since I could remember, and seeing some of Cory (Cudney's) tattoos I was so so intrigued as to how he achieved that same result I could on paper, but only in the skin.
I inquired to a shop and was turned down because I was a young blondie chick with two tattoos who wasn't taken very seriously, probably because I turned down any advances that were proposed to help me "learn" outside of the shop ;) Eventually I found a place that was looking for a tattoo & piercing apprentice, so I went down there with my drawing portfolio and pleaded my case. They said I would have to prove to them that I was serious about getting into the business and had to work for it- something I was always taught growing up- if you want something it doesn't get handed to you, you have to work for it.
Anyways, I stopped partying so much and going out on weekends with my friends and instead was tiling floors, installing and painting trim, cleaning the shop and being a counter person. After about a month of free labor, they told me the apprenticeship was mine :) I stayed there for about a year and a half maybe working with some of the most insane characters I had been exposed to. A man by the name of David Catillano wears my first tattoo (fly outline) on his forearm and I wish to God I knew where he was just so I could say thanks and catch up on these past crazy 8 years since he disappeared!
In your early years as a tattooist, you worked with the talented Cory Cudney. Can you tell us about that time and what you learned working alongside Cory?
That was my first experience working in a primarily custom studio and it was pretty awesome. I was scrambling and didn't have my own station for the first few months, so I would tattoo where I could, when I could, in the shop. By the time I started working with Cory I was figuring out the type of blending and technical approaches that he already had down for years. That being said, two people can do a tattoo and the outcome is the same, however their approaches may differ. Cory and I tattoo very differently, yet a little bit the same. It was great working with someone who is still inspiring on that level of pulling off such awesome tattooing! I'm glad he's one of my friends and when I worked with him at his privately owned studio, and then at Divine Machine Tattoo, it was just awesome. Working with and for Cory is something I miss, along with my tattoo-family back home at DMT.
You also worked at the world-renowned shop, Off The Map. How did this help your skills to advance even further? How long were you at Off The Map?
Working at Off The Map was cool because it got me out of my comfort zone from back home, and they always had different artists coming through the shop, so it was cool to compare notes and just meet new artists. I think so long as you have the determination to advance, you will achieve that, and working with EVERY artist I have had the privilege to work with has contributed to my learning and developing artistically.
Sometimes information overload can be a hinder, whereas allowing information to process and then develop where and when you need it, can be beneficial. I was at Off The Map for about a year and a half before I decided to leave and go to work with Tattoo Andy a few towns over.
You have been tattooing for over eight years now and during that time, the tattoo industry has changed dramatically. What are some of the changes you have noticed and do you see those as positive steps? Where do you see things heading next?
Yes! I have been tattooing since just before age 19, and I will be 27 this month! Where does the time go??
The media exposure has really blown up our craft. On one hand, one could say that it's not an accurate representation of what "tattooing really is," but you know what, tattooing does have drama, it's NOT glamorous and sometimes these projects take a long, long time to complete and the client makes you want to pull your hair out.
I cannot tell you how many people were inspired and found their guts to finally go and get that tattoo they've been thinking of after watching other people on TV do it. Some of the literature publications however are just garbage! Some of the books are just horrifying - showcasing some of the worst tattoos I have ever seen. But then again, that too is a blessing in disguise because after all, cover-up tattoos also account for at least half of everyone's business. ;)
You now work at the first-class Horseshoes & Hand Grenades shop alongside Andy Barrett. Tell us a little about the shop and what a typical day is like at H&HG.
Working here is amazing!! It is owned and operated by "Tattoo" Andy Barrett and it is so chill and a very creative environment. We are the two resident artists and we have friends come through and guest at the place. We keep a drum kit in the basement (I love playing - haha) and Andy just invested in an Inversion Table. So when our backs are sore we just go hang upside down for a few. We focus on doing custom work and have an $80 shop minimum. We both charge $150 per hour and our clients range from small little names to full back pieces and sleeves. Just the other day I tattooed a wolf on the side of Tracy Adam's head - she's the singer for a local hard core band in CT named Napoleon Complex. We drink coffee from the coffee machine, goof around with Dave our stellar front desk person, and just tattoo all day long. We close around 6 pm because it's nice to get stuff done outside of the shop, but will oftentimes stay later if we're already working on something. Sundays are by appointment only.
Your work is so fantastic because you are so stellar with traditional designs, but each of them has special pizzazz added that really gives them the “Eva Touch.” How did your style progress and develop to the point you are at now. Were you always enamored with the traditional-style designs?
Wow, thank you for saying! I don't really know how I developed a "style" but I can say it's inevitable for any artist to not leave their fingerprints behind. I actually hated traditional when I started because I thought it was ugly and too simple - then once I understood the beauty of these designs, the whole thing made sense and I just adore it. The uglier the better, I say.
Though the dynamics are constantly changing, there are obviously many fewer women tattoo artists in the industry than men. Has being a female ever presented challenges to you along the way? Do you feel you have had to work even harder to achieve the success you have than might have been necessary for a man?
Well, what is success? That definition is different for everybody. I focus on what I want to do and do it. I generally stay booked out and my bills are paid with room to play a little.
As far as being a lady in the industry, I have run into a few ignorant individuals who akin genitalia with capability, but that's OK because to each their own, and I don't really have time to worry about and associate with people like that.
I try to be as professional as possible and think most people know that I am. I don't need to broadcast that I am, only because my actions do the talking :)
And as far as having to work hard, that's been the story of my life! Nothing has been handed to me, nor have I demanded anything either. My parents both raised me to work for what I want and to take responsibility for myself. With this, it's easy because I love tattooing and am passionate about it, so it's not something I mind striving towards. I just have to keep in mind what it is I am striving for. I would rather be known for doing awesome artwork than anything that resembles my physical representation and that's the truth.
I love that you combine beauty, intelligence, and talent so well. These traits also seem to present themselves in your design? Do you draw from your own life when creating your artwork?
Ha ha, are you serious? Wow, that is one of the nicest things I have heard in a long time!!! Thank you :)
It is hard for me not to contribute personal aspects into my artwork. When I am working with a client there are preferences I lean towards when it comes to specific designs. When it involves me just doing whatever I want in a painting, or sometimes the client is awesome and gives me a theme or idea, and says put what ever image you think responds to this; on a subconscious level, yes, I am very involved and my inner monologue creeps into the details.
There is inspiration and information all around us in this place. Intelligence is beautiful, at least to me, and talent is what one person deems as valuable! I am truly fortunate to be thought of as someone who can give to others what they are looking for. It's humbling on many levels and also encouraging and rewarding. You get what you give, this is true with everything in life.
Speaking of artwork, in addition to being a talented tattoo artist, you are also an outstanding painter. How often to you find time to work on creative endeavors that are not skin-related?
Wow, again thank you! I have been painting more recently - can be a bit manic with this sort of thing. I've recently gotten into watercolor painting and am LOVING every minute of it. Luckily, I am a quick learner and have been getting more reward than frustration out of this.
We are actually putting on a Tattoo Art Flash Show here at Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Tattoo, the weekend of March 26th, and are really looking forward to showcasing a bunch of friends from around the country and area that night!
What are your favorite mediums to work with when drawing, painting, and creating?
I do a lot of red pencil sketches and Dr. Ph. Martins for my watercolor painting.
Do you take on commissioned work? If so, how can a collector go about ordering a piece?
I absolutely do, and all they have to do is tell me what they're looking for! They can always inquire via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the shop to see what's up. I have a gallery on my website (tattoosbyeva.com) where curious patrons can take a look at what I've done and see what's for sale.
Do you have plans to travel a lot this year? If so, what conventions or guest spots will you be participating in? How can fans keep up with your schedule and book an appointment?
Luckily, I got my website in check this year - one that actually runs decently and looks professional! I have travel dates listed there, and I also update on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. There is so many venues online to post info, it's maddening to keep up with it sometimes, but it's also awesome to get yourself out there.
I will be tattooing at Rock The Ink in Albuquerque, NM from March 11-13. There are a few other conventions I am thinking of doing, but just waiting on confirmation. I will post them as soon as I know.
What is your favorite thing about being a tattoo artist?
I think it was my calling…everything!
What are your goals for the coming year?
I'd like to do a few larger pieces and get them done fast (ha ha). Also, I am working on designing some new T-shirts and other merchandise, painting; the same goals as every year, really - the cycle never ends!
What one word best describes you?
What one word best describes your work?
(Ha ha) I don't know? Solid? Unique? Awesome? (ha ha)
Any final words for Jinxi Boo readers?
Thank you for taking the time to get in touch! Anyone looking to get tattooed can email me at email@example.com and if you'd like me to hit up a convention in your area, just let me know!
Thanks again :)
Be sure to visit Eva's website to see more of her outstanding work, keep up with her accomplishments and travel dates, and find out how to make an appointment.