About me...I was born in Prestonsburg, Kentucky in 1977. I was raised in a small family community in a holler in southeast Kentucky. My parents both worked, my dad did land surveying for mining companies and my mom worked in a flower shop across the street from her sisters beauty shop. I was doing artwork at a very early age. My granny, who also does folk art and makes quilts, has drawings of mine from before I can even remember. My pappaw on the other side sang in the Old Regular Baptist Church. Most of my older cousins who lived on the holler were older boys who ran circles around me on the court and on the field, so I took refuge in alone time when I could draw pictures and practice the guitar. I kind of feel like I had no choice in the matter.
I got my first tattoo and my first guitar when I was about 13 years old. I got some higgins drawing ink from the art room at school, and needle and thread from the home ec. room. My best friends older brother stayed up half the night putting a misfits skull on my leg. That would have been about 1990. I never really thought I’d make anything of myself until in high school I met Kelli Hansel who convinced me that I could actually go to school and maybe make a career out of being an artist. I married her.
Studying art in college was killer. I couldn’t have gone for anything else. We couldn’t afford a big art school so I did the community college thing before finishing at Morehead State University. I went on to get my Masters at the University of Louisville. At Morehead I studied Graphic Design, but when I got to Louisville, I vowed never to sit in front of a computer ever again, so I majored in painting. Everybody thinks that you go to art school to get some special training like you might if you had gone to tech school for electronics. It’s not like that at all, there were people there that I thought existed just to get naked in front of people. College art is very open to the individuals path. I was able to take what I was interested in, and already doing and really develop it into something that was uniquely me.
Of course I was a bit nervous, and I know everybody thought I was throwing all those years of college out the window when I started tattooing the summer of 2004. I started that year learning to tattoo with Big Daddy Tray Benham in Radcliff, Kentucky. We’d show up on a Saturday and the soldiers on leave from Fort Knox would already be lined up outside. It was a hell of a way to learn because the shop was always busy. But after about five years of that, plus doing art shows on the road, music gigs, and trying to spend time with my family, I was burnt out. We then moved back to East Kentucky to Knott County. After a couple years of doing art shows, music lessons and some teaching, I felt that feeling coming back to me. I did a few tattoos from my studio in Knott County before opening up my own place in Whitesburg. I wanted a place where all of my passions could culminate. I feel greatly blessed to be able to do what i do and to have the support of a loving family. There really is so much more I want to say and so many stories and people I want to talk about that there is no way I could do it here.