Today we’d like to introduce you to Josh Carter.
Josh, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Well, my journey as an artist began when I was very young. As a kid I used to draw all the time. I would copy graphics out of Thrasher magazine and doodle logos from the metal bands I was into. When I entered into my teenage years I started diving into punk rock and hardcore, tattoos were huge part of that aesthetic so I started to collect tattoos myself as soon as I could. When I was around 18 I moved to Venice beach California and got work helping out in a piercing shop right on the boardwalk, there was a tattoo shop next door that I hung out in all the time. I realized pretty quickly that tattooing was something that I wanted to be a part of and I pursued it aggressively. I started by tattooing friends and gutter punk kids I met on the beach, I also hand a couple of older tattooers mentoring me. Once I was good enough (the bar was pretty low back then) I landed a job at one of the Venice Beach street shops. I tattooed simple walk-in designs on tourists. Over time I slowly worked my way up the ranks constantly trying build up my skill set.
Sometime around 2006 I moved to the Phoenix area with my wife and daughter, shortly after that I decided it was time to start focusing on a single style. I was always drawn to Japanese culture and design so that was the style I went with. For the over a decade Japanese tattooing has been my main area of expertise. I focus a lot on large scale sleeves, back pieces, and body suits. I will however dip into my tool bag and tattoo other styles but my main loves lie with the imagery and folklore that accompany the Japanese style.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
As I mentioned before, Japanese is my main focus. I was drawn to that style because of the striking imagery and the rich cultural history that goes along with it. I draw my influence from early Edo era woodblock prints, artists such as Hokusai and Kuniyoshi just to name a couple. I also study how early Japanese tattooers would lay out their Horimono (Japanese for body suit tattoo) and emulate their style while still trying to add my own flavor. I take great care to make sure that the designs I tattoo follow the form of the body and look as if the design as always belonged there.
I hope when people see my work they can see the love and respect I have for the Japanese style, I would like people to see it as a piece of art that was painstakingly designed and appreciate the commitment it takes to apply such a tattoo.
The sterotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
Seeing as how my art is my lively hood I don’t really suffer from too many financial challenges, particularly at this stage in my career. Good equipment can be pricey and, in the beginning, it can be a bit of a challenge to gather all the things you need to tattoo, especially before you’ve built up a name for yourself. I however have been able to build a successful career and I am incredibly grateful every day for the clients that trust in me and my abilities, blessing me with the ability to provide for my family.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I own and operate Dame of the West Tattoo in Old Town Scottsdale along with my partner Jon Garber. I encourage people to visit the shop even if they just want to stop in and look around. Were happy to talk to anyone who’s curious about tattoos or tattoo culture whether or not they are interest in getting tattooed themselves.
- Address: Josh Carter Dame of the West Tattoo
7151 East 6th Ave. Scottsdale, Az 85251
- Website: dameofthewesttattoo.com
- Phone: 480-534-5843
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @joshcartertattoo
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DameoftheWest/
- Twitter: joshcartertat2
- Other: @dameofthewesttattoo
All photos were taken by me.