STUDIO VISIT // Simon Ban

Tattooing the perfection of nature...


How did you find tattooing?

Well, I've always drawn, drawing has always been, an integral and essential part of just growing up and who I was. I went to school for fine arts drawing. I've always been interested in tattooing, then during school  I was looking for something that was a little more experientially based than just drawing just to put something up on a wall in the end.

Tattooing made a lot of sense because I, I felt like it was a great way to connect with people.

I got started the wrong way, where I bought a machine online and I started tattooing all of my friends at school. A benefit of going to art school is that everybody wants a tattoo and nobody really cares what it looks like. So I got a lot of practice done that way, which is not how you should do it. But that's just where my path took me and I tattooed on and off in between other work  for a couple of years after school.

Then two years ago when I moved to south slope, it was walking around and walked into a tattoo shop in sunset park where I recognized the owner as somebody who gave me a tattoo previously. And he gave me a chance to tattoo full time over there. And so I started off, I started tattooing in a street shop.



When did you move into Black Iris

I ended up moving shops. I love the other shop. Those guys are amazing. And I definitely owe them quite a bit for giving me a chance to begin with. I think I ended up moving shops because this shop provided a clientele that allowed me to pursue the type of tattooing more that I was interested in. It was an opportunity for growth and to move in a direction that I wanted to be moving in. Tattooing is a fairly nomadic industry. A lot of people move around from shop to shop. Just good way to meet people, make new contacts, grow your clientele. More people will see what you're doing that way, but if you have a good spot too, it's nice to hold onto those things.

How do you think art school helped your tattoos

I was at school for fine arts drawing.that was great. I learned a lot. I learned about how to think about things critically and that's definitely informed a lot of like how I approach designing tattoos. 

There are things that you have to know that you kind of wouldn't know unless you actively seek out an education about it, which usually comes with an apprenticeship under the guise of a master who knows what they're actually doing. And a lot of my education in tattooing was trial and error on myself and some friends, early friends around me who were getting tattooed by me at the time. Even though I'm at a good spot now, I live with definitely a lot of regrettable tattoo decisions that I applied or that somebody asked for and I did. A lot of that regret could have been avoided had I sought out an education from somebody who knew what they were doing and could help guide me a little better than just trial and error.

When I say regrettable experiences, I mean just mean that like, I'm definitely, you know, there are many sleepless nights where you look, think about a tattoo you did like years ago and you're like, Oh, I could've done that tattoo better and you can't go back. Once it's done, it's done and you got to live with that and somebody else has to live with that and you, all you can really do is just like, do the best that you can and hope that that was good enough.

Yeah. So there's obviously a big element of trust that comes into it between, you know, both of you client of course. Yeah, a huge amount. I mean, the more tattoos you get, the easier it is. It's like at this point, If I enjoy somebody as work, I'll just walk in set an appointment and just pick something from their books just because I know that they were excited to draw.  When I got my first tattoo, I thought about it for like years and I researched for a long time who I wanted to go to because who I thought could pull off the tattoo that I wanted and I was willing to pay whatever it took to make sure that the tattoo was done, how I wanted it to be.done. I really appreciate that. That's totally that somebody can just give me an idea and be like, cool, make it happen,. So all I can do is try to try to honor that as best I can by doing the best work that I can.

Check out more of Simon's Work // Instagram // @squids.ink

Interviewed by David Zabriskie

For what it's worth.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest