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.
I was lucky enough to meet Nate Kostechko many years ago and even back then, his tattoo work stopped me dead in my tracks. It was so unique and had this special quality that made it really stand out. Well years later, his style and skills have become even more refined and I constantly marvel at the pieces that he churns out.
He is so amazing with blending and colors. The ink palettes he uses are gorgeous and I am always impressed with his knack for pulling a piece together from top to bottom; interlaying many aspects into the design, while showing a solid foundation at the same time.
Nate’s work has this surreal quality that manages to also weave elements of realism throughout it and the result is magical. Not only is he a gifted tattooist, he has an air about him that is charming and positive. Great art and a great person makes for one excellent combination indeed.
Having recently opened his own tattoo shop and gallery, Coil Tattoo Gallery, with his girlfriend Lauren, Nate is venturing into a whole new chapter of his tattoo journey. He was kind enough to talk to me recently for Inkerviews and I’m excited to share a glimpse inside the world of Nate Kostechko with you.
What intrigued you about the world of tattooing and becoming an artist within that world? Did you want to be an artist when you were a child?
Skateboarding and my older brothers are how I became involved in tattooing. Always skateboarding as a kid, I looked up to all the pros and stuff, so when they all started getting more and more tattooed, the minute I turned 18 I was down!
Plus my brothers lived on their own, started getting tattooed and were always real hyped on it. I would go visit my brother in Santa Barbara when I was 15 and 16 to go skate, party in IV and look at hot college girls (ha ha). For real. But one time he had this big party and the first gnarly tattooed people I ever met were Karl Marc and Nick Vargas.
Karl's head was tattooed and Nick had everything from sleeves, hand, throat, etc. I didn’t know you could go that far with it and have it look good. They had work from Grime, Adrian lee, and Ron Earhart, so early on I saw sick work.
I never thought I would tattoo, it just kind of happened one day. I dropped out of college, got a tattoo, then just kept getting more and more. So eventually the guys at the shop just asked, "What are you going to do? Wanna tattoo?" So I started learning.
I never sought out to be a tattooer, I just got lucky finding such a unique world where you can make art and have a nice living from doing it.
Your style is so unique. I always know a Nate Kostechko piece when I see one and I find that to be such a statement about an artist (when you have found a niche and style that stands apart from the crowd). How would you describe your style? What led you in this direction?
My style of tattooing is hard to determine where it 'stands' in the tattoo community. Basically, I’m trying to create new and unique images in skin that will last and stand the test of time. Applying any and all techniques that I have learned from tattooing over the years and sticking to what I know works.
What led me in this direction is, unfortunately, trial-and-error. Wanting to grow, I tried anything and everything, and the results were not always the best. My art style is driven by making ideas a reality. I want art to seem real, even if it is the most abstract organic object, or as simple as a cupcake. I want it to be able to look and appear as if it really existed.
You recently opened a rad new tattoo shop in Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA. Can you tell us about Coil Tattoo Gallery?
My girlfriend Lauren and I recently moved to LA, in a quiet little neighborhood nestled in the trees with our two dogs. I decided it was time to go after my dream and I knew she could help me make it happen. We found this amazing, old, weird little spot on the edge of Chinatown, built in 1895, right outside of downtown LA.
I don’t know why, but I love it down here. Maybe it’s all the skateboard history, or the epic art scene, or maybe all the crazy people we run into everyday. All I know is we get to do what we want all day. Everyday. It’s great!
I wanted to contribute to the tattoo community by opening a proper tattoo shop, that also has an art gallery, so that is how Coil Tattoo Gallery came about. I named it Coil because I figured that true 'tattoo people' would get 'coil' - it’s what machines run on! (ha ha)
The space consists of four booths. Right now it’s just myself and Dave Barton working here. Lauren makes sure the shop is running well; and Robert is apprenticing, helping with everything.
We have been having a lot of guest artists already: Zaq Weaver, Phil Robertson, TJ Zimmerman, Oleg Turyanskiy from Russia, Robert Hendrickson, and Ryan Needles. Soon Stretch from Connecticut will be visiting, and Jose Morales from Hawaii. We are here everyday, we get to the shop at noon and stay pretty late. If we are not tattooing, we are painting, drawing, or doing something.
What is your vision for the shop and what are some plans you have for the future (in regards to Coil, as well as your personal journey as a tattoo artist)?
Plans for myself and my shop? Just keep going, dig deeper, submerge myself more and more into the world of tattooing and art in general. I’m not going anywhere!
As for the shop, we have stuff in the works. The next art show is in the process of being finalized, and I have some amazing artists who may be making Coil their new home. So keep your fingers crossed.
What one word best describes you?
What one word best describes your work?
What is your favorite sweet treat?
'Magic' chocolate chip cookies (wink wink).
Last updated on November 28, 2009 by Jinxi Boo