Published on February 15th, 2018 | by Joseph Saulnier0
Body Art Expo Returns to AZ State Fairgrounds
Thousands are expected to be at the Arizona State Fairgrounds this weekend (February 16 – 18, 2018) to experience all of the beauty this culture has to offer. I recently was able tattoo artist Bobby Moss about his experience in the industry.
Joseph Saulnier: What drew you to body art in a world full of so many artistic categories and genres?
Bobby Moss: I was drawn to the body art world because I grew up in the industry. My mother was a tattoo artist and I grew up in the industry since I was about five years old. I’ve watch the industry grow and evolve. Every aspect of this industry continues to change daily, everything from machines and after care products to Ink lines and clothing companies. This industry has risen from the shadows to a beautifully desired form of collective art. After this industry became more mainstream, my wife Heather Moss chased down a name all her own as a well known tattooed supermodel. All of her work, besides a few pieces, were all tattooed by me. Having my biggest and best canvas thrive as well shows the many dynamics of this industry.
JS: What is the most inspirational piece you’ve ever worked on, whether it inspired yourself, the “canvas” (as it were), or those around you/the person you were tattooing?
BM: The most inspirational piece or piece I can remember that has had the most impact on me was a tattoo I did for a lady who had breast cancer. She had both of her breasts removed and we covered her scars with [lilies] it changed her life, her confidence and her outlook on life after winning her battle.
JS: What is the most emotionally invested piece you have completed?
BM: I don’t have a specific piece that comes to mind that was emotionally invested. My wife’s entire right sleeve is dedicated to our love our marriage and our children and the precious time that we have together. It was the First really big piece that I had ever done on her so that one is still our favorite to this day.
JS: As body art becomes more and more socially acceptable, do you still experience any negative attitudes/views against you or your work? How have you handled it over the years in the changing climate (e.g. do you still respond in the same way you did when you first picked up a needle)?
BM: It is really great that Tattoos had become more and more socially excepted bowl throughout the years. It is still very apparent that some people still call Tattoos to a certain stigma and it’s hard to rewire that thought process. However, seeing how far we’ve come as Artist and as an industry I rarely run into the negative feedback and receive more praise on my work than negativity.
JS: What is the oddest request you’ve had?
BM: The weirdest thing I’ve been asked to do was my little pony with a box of Ramen noodles next to it I don’t know why I think it was something that she remembered growing up but it was odd.
JS: What was the longest you’ve worked on a piece, including those that take multiple sessions? What is the most detailed piece you have ever worked on? Is the answer to these questions mutually exclusive?
BM: The longest piece that I have worked on with the most detail was probably three days long. My client came in Friday and we finished on Sunday evening. He was in severe pain but made it through. It was his whole rib cage and partially his back you were Roman statues and I really intricate piece on his back.
JS: Is there ever anything you won’t do when it comes to body art, whether it be working in a specific location (on the body), a specific type of tattoo (i.e. name of significant other) or design (cult/satanic/racist/sexist/etc.)?
BM: There are certain things I won’t do. I won’t do racial tattoos, ant- police or anti flag related pieces. I am very cautious when tattooing faces and what their requests are. Other than that, not much more bothers me.
JS: Have you ever had someone who just was not happy with the work done? How did you handle that situation?
BM: Every once in a while you run into a client that is difficult or they don’t like what you have done. You just have to fix it and be able to accept criticism or just need to know that not everybody’s going to like your work. Yes I she had some customers that were unhappy, it’s not what they thought it was going to be. So I work with them to try and figure out what they really want and to try to meet them in the middle and make sure they have the best experience even in a less than ideal situation.
JS: What is your opinion of “scratchers” (I’ve been told this is a common nickname for amateurs who attempt to tattoo themselves, or others, with little to no experience)? Would you ever cover a “scratchers” own work on themselves?
BM: Scratcher is a touchy word. I consider a scratcher someone who is working at home with no real trade training or apprenticeship because their work isn’t good enough to get a position in a shop or their ego is too big to learn how to tattoo correctly. I will cover anyone’s work. If a client comes to me unhappy for whatever reason and I am confident in my abilities to give them a great cover up then I will take the job.
JS: Could it be said that technically all artists start as scratchers? If not, what’s the main difference between a tattoo artist starting out and not having tattooed anyone before, and a scratcher?
BM: Absolutely not. Scratchers have no real trade training, some are unable to obtain quality or professional equipment. They are careless of keeping a sterile environment for themselves or their customers. There is much more that goes into tattoo than just Ink and skin. You learn these practices through proper training and apprenticeships.
JS: What one piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in the body art industry?
BM: My advice to people coming up in this industry would be to slow down and figure out the artwork. Don’t be in such a hurry to make money. The money is going to come and a lot of it will come once you learn the artwork and then the business. Fine an artist you aspire to be like or a shop that is a good fit for you and your goals, start from the bottom and work your way up, just like any other profession.
Bobby Moss is an all custom tattoo artist specializing in both black and grey, and color. Bobby is a second generation tattoo artist, born and raised in Arizona. He has been tattooing professionally for 22 years, and has owned Timeless Art Tattoo since 2007 alongside his wife, Heather Moss, whom has also made a name for herself as a very well known, internationally published tattoo model.
For more information about the Body Art Expo, please visit http://bodyartexpo.com/.
For more information about Bobby Moss or Timeless Art Tattoo, please visit https://www.timelessarttattoos.com/.