Tattoo Master 22

Tattoo Master 22

This is a trade publication and so this must be a studio where you are working.

About three or four months ago, I approached Frank LaNatra asking if he would like to be the next guest editor of Tattoo Master. Almost straight away Frank responded saying it would be an honour and started throwing some pretty cool ideas around. At this point, I have to say, this is typical of Frank and is what made it a pleasure working with him… when he commits, he commits! There wasn’t a single time over the following weeks that I thought he wasn’t putting in 100 percent, whether that was chasing features and artists, or just putting up with my endless questions and sometimes strange requests.

In those early days, Frank’s initial brief was simple; he wanted to showcase the best of illustrative tattooing. From the off he was determined to make this a defining issue of Tattoo Master; he knew who he wanted featured and he knew what he wanted to get across. Probably our biggest problem along the way was fitting it all into 100 pages—at one stage we were seriously thinking about asking if we could extend the number of pages. But fit it in we did, and personally, I think Frank’s brief was met and then blown out the water.

Another sign of Frank’s passion and love of the illustrative style (and of the respect he has built up over the last few years) is the artists he got to work with us. You only have to read the Contents page and you’re left a little breathless. We’re talking about artists who are on top of their game, as well as newcomers who are blazing ink-stained trails around the world with their work. Throw into the mix illustrators such as CreatureBox and Zombie Caricatures, and every page was turning into tattoo gold!

Months later, after a lot of hard but rewarding work, it is Sunday evening at Tattoo Jam 2013. The convention has been full throttle from start to finish, kicking off with a seminar from Frank on ARTIST FriDAY. But now it is all over and I am standing outside Frank’s booth with his fiancée, Christa, and his convention BFF, Bob Krane. Moments earlier, Frank picked up three awards, including Best of Convention. Chatting to him now, he looks a little tired but above all, he looks very happy… and I know how he feels. I think I can safely say, for both of us, it was the perfect ending to a great trip.

These things don’t come easy, especially to people like Frank and I, who want everything to be perfect every time. The behind the scenes prep work, the bits and pieces that no one gets to see, is the dedication that makes or breaks a tattoo, or in this case, a magazine. The hours Frank researches, sketches and plays with colour palettes; the hours I spend chasing the perfect image for a feature, or the right words to convey an emotion… it’s all for the love of this crazy ink filled world we are privileged to be a part of.

So until next time… stay safe and love what you’re doing.