“When I make any kind of art for fun or commission work I tend to get inspired by pop culture or things that I love in general. I like when I see those influences in other people’s work.”
Name: Aaron Hamilton
Occupation: Tattoo Artist at Aerochild Tattoos
Creative Industry: Visual Arts & Crafts
1. How long have you been tattooing and what sparked your interest in the art form?
My dad is an old biker so I grew up around tattoos and seeing people get tattooed in motorcycle clubhouses and kitchens and places like that. I was interested but it seemed kind of gross at the same time. Then as I got older I would hang out at book shops and look at magazines and books about the history of tattoos and I saw that there was a lot more to it than the biker tattoos that I was used to seeing.
I sort of gave up on the idea of tattooing for a long time and just concentrated on art and other work. Then I met the guys at Aerochild. Justin offered to apprentice me and I never looked back. That was almost eleven years ago.
2. How has your tattooing style evolved?
My personal style sort of leans toward whatever I’m really into at the time. I’ve been having fun doing a lot of black work lately. But it’s fun to do a variety of styles.
3. How has the tattoo industry changed now that tattoos have become more widely accepted?
As with most industries, when things get more popular there are good and bad things. The good is that you have opportunities to do bigger and more fun pieces. And people have a better understanding of the process. The negative is that you have weird trends. Which I don’t think is necessarily a great thing for a permanent change to your body.
But even trends can help social acceptance, which can never hurt.
4. What’s your process for translating someone’s idea into a tattoo?
I think it’s important to know why someone wants a tattoo. Is it just something fun? Is it something super meaningful made to just compliment their body? That influences the design and the way I imagine it going into them.
Most of the time, if I design I tattoo I try to imagine putting it on myself. If I can feel good about that then I can get behind my design.
5. Are there any other local artists that inspire you?
Birmingham has a handful of guys that have been tattooing for a long time; twenty or thirty years. A lot of them are really talented people. I am definitely inspired by a lot of those guys and respect them quite a bit.
Outside of the tattoo world there are quite a few local artists that I really enjoy. When I make any kind of art for fun or commission work I tend to get inspired by pop culture or things that I love in general. I like when I see those influences in other people’s work. People like Daisy Winfrey or Danielle Franklin. You can see, on top of being very good artists, that they create from what they know and love.