Full Name: Jason Turner
OCCUPATION: Tattoo artist
How old were you when you started tattooing? I started my apprenticeship when I was 22, in 2009. I was actually in getting my first tattoo, which was on my chest, and I said to the the tattooist, “How do I get into tattooing?” He explained that it was by apprenticeship. I happened to be in the right place at the right time, as the shop was looking for a new apprentice!
Did you practice on yourself? Any pigskins? During my apprenticeship I didn’t practice on any pigskins. I actually learnt to tattoo on myself. It was mostly on my thighs and feet, which is how most tattooists learn. That’s why most tattooists wear long shorts ha ha.
Do you get nervous before you tattoo someone? I don’t get nervous as such anymore about tattooing clients. I guess I put a lot of pressure on myself, because I want to make sure I fulfill each client’s request and vision to the best of my ability.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job? I think the most rewarding and satisfying part of my job is seeing a client’s face and reaction when they first see the finished product. It’s 200% satisfying, and I never find what I do a drag or hard work. The saying goes that if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. I totally agree with that!
Have you ever turned anyone away … Creative differences? I don’t think I’ve ever actually just turned a client away, so to speak. On occasion your job as a tattooist is to offer other options to a client, to help them look past their initial idea and maybe reinvent that a bit.
Favourite type of tattoo? At the moment I’m definitely into doing old school traditional pieces. I also really love doing large Japanese pieces. Working in a holiday town, as I do, is great because you get the opportunity to cover so many styles, from small text tattoos to back pieces and sleeves.
If you weren’t a tattoo artist, what would you be doing? If I wasn’t tattooing I guess I would still be teaching in childcare. I loved that type of work. It’s actually very similar in ways to my job now, believe it or not. No day was the same working with kids, and they all have different kinds of personalities and humour.
Best tattoos you’ve done? The best tattoos, the ones that really stand out, are usually large pieces. Most of the time you’ve put anywhere from 10 – 50 hours into them, and it’s great to see them completed. But, as I said earlier, even putting a small rose or butterfly on someone who has procrastinated about it for years, seeing their reactions is just as satisfying.
Tell us who inspires you? People and tattooists who have inspired me through my short career so far are quite easy to rattle off. My boss, Brett Barrington, is self taught – like most tattooists. I’m grateful for the work ethic and the skills that he has taught me. I’m grateful to everyone I’ve worked with who’ve taken the time to show me tricks of the trade that I can pass onto others. And of course, my loyal clients; it’s hard to describe how thankful I am for their continued support and belief in me.
What does the future hold?
I just hope to continue to learn and grow as a tattooist. I’d really love to own my own shop one day down the track. Yep, that’d be awesome.