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.
Peeking into Matt Griffith's tattoo and painting portfolio is an enchanting endeavor, because he has the ability to take cartoonish, colorful characters and weave them into a world mixed with macabre ghoulishness, without missing a beat.
Matt has a knack for taking a client's idea and transforming it into a memorable, vibrant piece; while always leaving a touch of his signature flair to remember him by. From Mario Bros characters to animal portraiture; insect/ nature themes to Einstein caricatures, Matt is well-versed in many genres of the tattoo spectrum.
As owner of 2 Dollar Pistol Tattoo Shop in Chillicothe, Ohio, this busy dad and husband runs a successful business, while keeping his tattoo chair hopping and still finds time to paint with his talented wife, Abril.
I have been lucky enough to be close friends with Matt for many years now and can assure you that if you are fortunate enough to collect his tattoo work, you will also be pleasantly surprised to meet one of the nicest guys around. Matt is a true gem and it was a pleasure to get to talk to this dedicated artist about several aspects of his life.
Have you always been interested in art? When you were a child, did you envision yourself working as an artist (or tattoo artist) when you grew up?
It did start early, back in elementary school. I remember drawing cars in, like, first grade and really loving art class. It didn't really hit me until high school that I could draw all period and not have to pay attention.
With my head into the note pad, teachers always thought I was doing school work. Instead, I was drawing Mortal Kombat characters. Yet still, I didn’t think I had talent for it. I didn’t care about how good I was, I just knew it was what I wanted to do.
When I got out of school and got a job, the problem was still there. I had an office job and would draw on my spare time. My boss would get so pissed because if I had time to draw I had time to do more work. Something had to change and I knew I should look into art as a career.
Your use of colors in your tattoo work is so outstanding, no matter what style the piece is. What are your favorite types of pieces to work on? If someone came to you and told you that you could tattoo anything, what would it be?
That’s easy; color work. I also enjoy doing old school-themed-new idea-type stuff. I really enjoy color saturation. Building up color and making the colors pop.
Over the years, I’ve watched others really excel at getting their colors to jump out at you. I just keep watching them and applying their results with my own.
I borrow a board or two to build my house. Every one that I do, I learn something new. Lately, I’ve been able to do some of my paintings and really enjoy the surreal gothic kind of lowbrow art that I paint.
You and your wife are incredibly talented painters. Do you inspire each other when you paint? And do you think your painting reflects on your tattoo work (and vice-versa)?
Yes, we do inspire each other. We learn together. When one of us figures out something, we pass it on to the other one. She taught me how to paint. Before I met her I had a few failed attempts and said, The hell with it.” But she gave me the tools I needed to get the job done.
My paintings have made me the tattooer that I am today. I learned so much from shading on canvas and that transfers onto skin. If I wouldn’t have started painting, I would be lost.
In addition to being an artist and business owner, you are a dad to Lucy. How do you balance your many roles so well?
Well, I don’t sometimes. There are too many things going on at all times. I try to make time for everything, but sometimes one or the other gets slacked. But my father gave me a good foundation. He showed me that family is the most important thing in life and that respect is worth more than money. If I remember that, I can walk the line.
What are your goals for the upcoming year on a personal level and also for your shop, 2 Dollar Pistol Tattoo Shop?
I’m working on several projects right now, but one of my big goals is to teach my apprentice, Cassel Bowen III, the game of tattooing; and show him the right way to do things. I want to instill my values into him and get his career started.
On the shop front, I would like to get some more guest artists in here and maybe do some more guest spots and conventions. But being the guy in charge, it is hard to get do that. If I don’t work, the bills don’t get paid.
In regards to my family, I just want to spend as much time as possible with them. That’s why I do what I do. They are my reason to push myself and become a better artist.
What is your favorite sweet treat (because I owe you one for doing this interview for me)? =)
(ha ha) No, I owe you. Thank you so much for being friends. My friends are my family and you guys have been there always. You and Steve are the best people I know, and I don’t say that about a lot of people. You always have a home in Ohio!
Last updated on November 18, 2009 by Jinxi Boo