Sam Taylor is an unbelievable custom lettering tattooer working out of Melbourne, Australia. He is absolutely one of the most well known artists in the script genre. I got the chance to ask him some interesting questions below in this interview, and hope you guys enjoy.
When did you first start tattooing? What have been the biggest changes you’ve noticed from then up until now?
I started tattooing in 2015 at South Side Custom Ink in Springvale, Melbourne.
I guess I haven’t been tattooing long enough to see any real drastic changes (except the pain in my back has doubled and the amount of ‘iNkEd DoLLz’ and ‘TaT2d BarBieZ’ has tripled).
Have you been to the states? If so, what are the biggest differences you’ve noticed here compared to Australia?
I haven’t had a chance to get to the states yet, but the lettering scene seems to be pretty big over there, so I’ll definitely try and get there soon.
Toughest lesson you’ve had to learn as a tattooer?
Not to get caught up in all the bullshit in this industry.
All the egos and the little gossip fairies in the tattoo scene.
Don’t get me wrong – there are heaps of good peeps in the tattoo world, but unfortunately, there’s a lot of pieces of shit too.
So I learned pretty quick to focus on my own thing and keep my circle real tight.
Favorite part of being at tattooer?
I get to travel the world whenever I want, draw letters all day, meet awesome people, earn good money and work when I want.
I couldn’t ask for any more than that.
Nah but the time management side of things could always use some improvement.
Sometime juggling everything can get a bit overwhelming, but there’s worse ways to live!
What goes on in your mind while you tattoo?
To be honest, lately all I really think about are ways to improve my life and grow as a person.
I think it’s super important to keep yourself in check and change shit in your life when it isn’t working for you.
So when Im tattooing and drawing, Im generally thinking about ways to make what I want to happen, happen.
Or wondering what my dog is doing at home haha.
Describe your shop environment?
I work at a private studio in Melbourne called Empire.
As cliche as it sounds, we actually are like a big family. It’s super relaxed, and there’s no drama or bullshit which is one of my favourite things about the shop.
In my opinion, I work with some of the best artists in Australia, and its forced me to step my game up tattooing next to all those boys.
I know you make great money right now, but if you could charge $30,000 USD per full day session, how often would you tattoo and why?
Nothing would change man. The money is good, but that’s only one of the perks of my job.
I work all day every day because tattooing gives me purpose. If I was sitting at home doing nothing I don’t know if I could stay sane.
What have been the three most beneficial things to your growth as a tattooer?
Isolation, perseverance and balance.
If tattooing didn’t exist for some bizarre reason or was banned or whatever any ideas what you’d be doing instead?
Anything to do with lettering man. I get the same feeling from drawing large scale posters as I do from tattoos.
Even though I was a sign writer for 5 years, I’d like to explore it a bit more so maybe after my backs caved in from tattooing, I’ll pick up the brushes again.
Top three best pieces of advice for the many script artists trying to reach the level youre at right now?
Learn the basics: If you don’t study basic letter structure, composition and contrast, then your lettering will look like shit.
I really think people get too ahead of themselves trying to get too wild and rock fancy shading and shit when they don’t have the basics down yet.
Develop your own style.
Look for reference outside of tattooing. Use your brain instead of trying to take shortcuts and bite people’s shit, thinking people won’t notice.
Practice every day.
Become obsessed with it. Make it your life. If you stop writing, you will become stagnant and won’t progress.
Thanks so much for you time Sam! Check out more of his work @samtaylortattoos