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.
Though Waylon Rodgers is just 23 years-old, he has already been tattooing for nearly half his life. While I had never personally met anyone who caught the ink bug at as young of an age as Waylon had, it was certainly fun to listen to stories of his tattoo journey, which began as a very young collector and quickly blossomed into a desire to work behind the needle as well.
He first picked up a machine at the age of 12, after already owning ink himself at the ripe old age of 11, when his dad tattooed his back. After that first tattoo on his own skin, he had decided that he wanted to be a tattoo artist and continued to nag his dad throughout the next year to let him turn the machine around on him, to get some practice in. On his 12th birthday, his father told him that if he really had intentions of tattooing another person, he first needed to work on himself and proceeded to set up the equipment and ink for this ultra-young tattooist.
Waylon then proceeded to work on his own left leg for the next seven hours, and from there, he never looked back. By the time he turned 13, he had completed his whole left arm sleeve himself and headed out to travel the tattoo trail, as it was illegal in Oklahoma at the time. He moved to Louisiana and began tattooing other people, while at the same time, found an appreciation for the art of airbrushing.
When he turned 16, he moved back to Oklahoma City to visit his family, where he continued to sling ink, and soon began to get noticed by other underground tattoo artists and shops alike. Soon thereafter, a fellow artist asked him if he would be interested in tattooing at his shop, where it was then finally legal in Oklahoma, and studios were popping up like crazy all over the state.
In the years since that first shop experience, Rodgers has studied the art of tattooing and worked hard to acquire the beautiful style that he now calls his own. His attention to detail in the realism genre has earned him a loyal clientele and his work definitely continues to advance at a steady pace. Currently tattooing out of Cannibal Graphics, a shop in Northwest Oklahoma City that was instrumental in helping to get tattooing legalized in Oklahoma state, Waylon is constantly working hard to improve his technique and learn from artists whom he admires.
It was fun to learn of Waylon's unconventional introduction into the world of tattooing and is a pleasure to feature him on the site. I hope you enjoy learning more about Mr. Rodgers and viewing his admirable tattoo work, in today's installment of Inkerviews.
Have you always been an artist? When you were a child, did you envision yourself in the arts, or as a tattoo artist?
I've always been into art, ever since I can remember; and for the longest time I wanted to work at M.G.M. Studios doing cartoons.
Until I started messing with a tattoo machine, I had no idea how big tattoos were or anything about them. All I wanted to do was figure this stuff out and cover myself in these permanent pictures. I never really went through an apprenticeship, I just picked things up along the way.
You are an excellent realism and portrait artist. How did your professional tattoo art journey lead you in this direction?
I started doing ONLY black and grey tattoos because I was a big fan of Paul Booth and Bob Tyrell, but as I get older, I find my self pushing more for the vivid color and realism, that you can capture from mixing all these colors together to get a wicked contrast.
Who are your inspirations in the art world and in the tattoo industry? How do you feel they have had an impact on your work?
All of the obvious artists, which are really too many to list, but for the last three or four years I've looked and studied the work of Nick Baxter, for his unreal vision; and Guy Aitchison because anytime I need anything on texture, color, layout, and execution of a design, he is for sure the guy (no pun intended).
You are also an excellent painter. Did you begin painting before or after you started tattooing? Do you feel that your painting has an impact on your tattoo skills (and vice-versa)?
Really it is all something new to me and I’m learning a lot from keeping up with all the killer work from my favorite artists, and also from the guys who I work with. They've really pushed me to paint more so I can experiment more with color blending and trying to keep myself well-rounded as an artist, and not just a tattoo artist.
You are also a dad and husband to an adorable little boy and a beautiful wife. How do you balance time between your many hours working on your art with your family life?
It’s awesome doing what I do because I don’t have to punch a clock and stay true to a strict schedule. My wife Cameron is also very in tune with the tattoo world. She is a model for H2Ocean, the president of the Gypsy Queens O.K.C, Ladies Of Metal, and is a full-time student in the culinary arts. She has an awesome collection of tattoos on her (90% done by me), and the tattoo on her foot is done by another sick-ass artist, Adrian Dominic. I love being able to spend my time in the morning with my son while my wife is in school. He is by far one of the coolest little kids I’ve ever seen. I can already tell he is going to be into art and he is only two. Every time he sees me set up to paint or something he sits and screams "PAINTING" or "COLOR," when he wants his crayons.
Do you have plans to do a lot of traveling and conventions in 2010? If so, can you give us a rundown of where people will be able to see you and make an appointment with you?
Yes, I can't wait to get started! I’ve got, like, five right now in the works, and soon I will have them posted on my myspace page, as I get them added to my calendar. You can check out my myspace at myspace/WaylonRodgers
What one word best describes you?
That’s easy, random.
What one word best describes your work?
What is your favorite sweet treat?
Unholy shit, I have no idea. Man, Jinxi, my wife is a pastry chef so this is a hard one, but if I had to pick only one, it would have to be a huge-ass chewy peanut butter cookies!
*Be sure to visit Waylon's myspace page to see more of his awesome work.
Last updated on January 6, 2010 by Jinxi Boo