Inkerviews features the work of tattoo artists and collectors, as well as fine artists, in a series of interviews. With an exciting lineup already in place and endless more to come, I hope you will check back often to read about these incredible people and enjoy their visually stunning talents.
Born in 1452, Leonardo Da Vinci was said to be the epitome of a "Renaissance Man." Whatever subject he approached, it seems he would learn, study, perform, and master. These areas were plentiful and diverse: from his paintings and art, to his architecture and engineering; from scientific discoveries, to geography and astronomy; and the list goes on and on.
Enter the modern-age and meet Carson Hill. A new age "Renaissance Man," who like Da Vinci, seems to tackle all sorts of fields of study; learns them, studies them, executes them and masters them. Like Leo himself, Mr. Hill is an amazing painter, as well as an accomplished tattoo artist, sculptor, photographer, scientist and inventor. Not only is his capacity in the art world (both on skin and on canvas) of transcendental proportions, but his avant-garde ideas in the world of tattoo machine technology, helped to develop cutting-edge tool advancements in an industry that had remained steadfast for decades.
The Neuma Tattoo Machine was Hill's brainchild and came about after a lot of work, time, planning, and prototype building. As is stated on the Neuma website:
Neuma Tattoo Machines was started by tattoo artist Carson Hill in the year 2000 when he invented the first pneumatic tattoo machine and began the patent process. In the early years, the company was secondary to his tattoo career while Carson focused on tattooing and continued to grow as an artist. Carson has used only Neuma tattoo machines for nearly his entire career.
Through the years, many Neuma2 (or n2) tattoo machines were sold, but it wasn’t until April of 2007 that Carson incorporated the company and decided to take things a step further. It was then that he enlisted the help of some amazing people who helped him create a business for Neuma and establish Neuma as the technology leader in the tattoo industry – always striving to advance the state of tattoo technology.
His dedication and vision doesn't stop there. Earlier this year, the Neuma company launched a social networking site (which I totally dig, by the way), called Amuen. This hip site is a positive place for creative people of all sorts to connect, appreciate and display their artistic talents. If you aren't a part of the community already, give it a peek, I think you will like what you find. It's like Facebook for artists.
While Carson's innovations are impressive indeed, one only needs to peek at his impressive portfolio to be truly blown away. A Carson Hill tattoo is an unmistakable sight. A biomechanical prodigy, his ability to weave unique characteristics throughout each tattoo he executes sets his work apart and onto a distinguished level. I was lucky enough to collect a "Carson Cupcake" when he tattooed my hand a few summers ago and I treasure its beauty every day. Not only is it gorgeous and brilliantly designed, the colors still burst as boldly and beautifully as the day it was tattooed.
Hill's understanding of light, shadow, texture and 3-dimensional forms make his organically-themed art a treasure to behold. His appreciation for nature is evident and it seems as though he utilizes his surroundings in almost any project he immerses himself in.
It's always a pleasure to speak with and be around Carson. His genuineness, creativity and positive vibe is infectious. I hope you enjoy the ride, as we peek inside the world and imagination of Mr. Hill.
As both an artist and an inventor, your work incorporates math, science, design and creativity. When you were a child, which of these fields did you envision yourself pursuing (if any of them)?
While I did not necessarily see myself pursuing these things, math, art, science, electronics, and mechanics were always very fascinating to me. As a very young child, one of my favorite things to do was to take things apart, especially if it had lots of parts. Then I would attempt to put them back together, which was usually unsuccessful, but I kept doing it anyway.
As a slightly older child, architecture became of some interest to me, and I would build or draw/design miniature houses or cities, skate parks, etc.
In school, though I did enjoy them, I didn't pay very much attention to science or math. However, these were two subjects I had a certain embedded understanding for, and so I still did well, even though I chose not to do the class work.
For example, one year in high school I took this math class, but never did any of the work. Most of the time spent in the class I would stare into space and think of things that actually interested me, and didn't even acknowledge the homework issue. But since I was there, I took all the tests, and I kid you not, that year, on every single test I took, I got a perfect score of 100%!
So needless to say, I passed the class with a 'C.' I think the teacher hated me because I never did any homework, but had to pass me because I obviously understood the concepts that were being taught.
It might also be interesting to note that although I am quite fond of science, I do not take it very seriously, as I see it as merely another perspective of the meaning of life; where we came from, and who we are, and not as an absolute.
One parallel I can draw between sciences and religions of almost all types is their reluctance to acknowledge the possibility that they are speculating something that is unknown to them, and not simply stating fact. In other words, they all insist that they are the correct ones, when clearly, even based on this example alone, that cannot be the case.
Your tattoo work combines so many beautiful elements: organic design, abstract patterns, beautiful uses of light & shadow, 3-dimensional forms, and more. How do you think this style became your forte? Is it the way you see a piece when you go to design it, or does it just develop as you go along?
Thank you, Jinxi, you're really very nice and I'm glad you think so.
This 'style', or 'exploration' it might more accurately be called, speaks volumes to me. I cannot describe it in its depth of detail because, like many of life's greatest things, words cannot express its meaning to me, what it does to me, for me, and so on.
But I can say (in run-on sentence format), that it is a most liberating experience to captivate an observers attention with a piece of art that once existed only in my imagination. By my use and application of learned and taught technical abilities in a way, in which the subject matter becomes believable by the viewer, even though it does not exist in nature. Does that make sense?
How do you manage your time between running Neuma Tattoo Machines, the Amuen website, tattooing, and painting? What's your secret?
Well, the truth is there's a lot more than those things too. At Neuma we always have at least one project in the works, whether it be a new product, art event, or production re-engineering, things like that.
And there is always something new to learn. Always, as in every day. I started Neuma without any business understanding or education, and so I have been actively learning, step-by-step, how to start, keep, and maintain a business throughout the process.
However, this information is completely invaluable to me at this point, as it comes from my personal experiences which I believe to be the best way to truly learn. On top of that, I have art: drawing, tattooing, painting, sculpting, photography at times (mostly for use with other art projects), and other art-related projects that I am involved in, as well as projects of my own and projects that I involve other artists for the group’s benefit.
I find that the more time I spend doing the art-related stuff, the smoother my life goes, and the happier I am. Lately, I have been spending a lot of time in the art studio, doing a lot of sculpting and painting.
Amuen, like everything else, is a daily job. But it is less demanding, as it basically runs itself. My real job on Amuen is just to socialize with people, and that’s not so hard to do.
I must also point out that without the help of the Neuma staff, namely Steve Johnson, there is very little likelihood that a lot of what I do would actually get done. There is certainly no way I could do it alone, and I definitely owe Steve a debt of gratitude.
What one word best describes you?
Exploratory might be a good one.
What one word best describes your work?
How about experimental?
What is your favorite sweet treat (because I owe you one for doing this interview for me)?
Hmmm… I’m not entirely sure. However, I am sure that if you make it and I eat it, it will be delicious and very appreciated.
And if you are an artist interested in learning more about, or ordering, a Neuma Tattoo Machine, go here.
Last updated on December 9, 2009 by Jinxi Boo