Dan Price is a tattooer working out of his own studio The Lab in Wilmington, DE. He is killing it in the black and grey realism world, and has got the respect of many big names in the industry. I got the chance to do a written interview with him below, and hope you guys enjoy.
Things seem to be really clicking for you these days. What three things so far would you most say have contributed to your development as an artist?
ONE I always have told the people I try to give advice to to stay consistent and relentless, and I don’t mean just tattooing because we all may not be tattooing everyday or super booked and that’s okay … what IS important is that we are staying consistent with ideas and ways to grow.
TWO Even 10 years ago when I began tattooing it was a different feel in the industry, not good or bad, but I feel like I was right in the middle of the social media era and the old schoolish era, and knowing a bit of both mentalities helps me respect the old and understand the new and that has guided me to be a person who respects who came before me while also making sure I stay with the times because eventually we will all be a bit less relevant than we once were.
THREE I will take this answer and speak from a Tattooer perspective and say that the techniques I was taught by a few artists and the small changes I was shown in hand movement, application, paying attention to heals, prep, people skills, etc has been a huge contributing factor to my success and consistency … these people know who they are and I’ll never take them for granted!
Biggest influences/inspirations as you came into the tattoo scene?
When I came into tattooing I had the privilege of seeing the dvds, books, and social media’s start coming about, so I would have to say my biggest influences in the beginning were Mike Devries, Nikko Hurtado, BJ Betts, and anyone with a tangible item I could touch/ read/ watch… now we’re in a time where this is just inevitable so I have so many people that influence me, almost to many to count but a few would be Carlos Torres, Noah Minuskin, Daniel Rocha, Troshin, Eric Marcinizyn, Ryan Evans, Ruben, Sergio Sanchez, James Strickland, Klown, Jose Lopez, Deran Hall, and about 100 others haha
What was the first piece you created where you were just like “Yeah, this is legit.” Include a photo if convenient.
I’ll be honest, this is difficult to answer to a T, although I think I could provide a ballpark time frame. I think I began to get comfortable with my work about 4 years ago after working with Chris Nunez and his team at Handcrafted Tattoo in Miami, and I think I “woke up” a lot as far as knowing how serious I wanted to be about my career and how passionate the people around me were about theirs …. I fed off of that!
So I know Daniel Rocha is working on your back. Are there any other artists who come to mind that you’re really eager to collect from? Have you been worked on by any other solid artists? Do you feel that watching other top tattooers work on you helps you grow as a tattooer?
First of all I want to thank Daniel for his work ethic and opening up his doors for me when I’m in Vegas … has to be one of the hardest I have seen anyone go for their family and brand and I’m hype to get it finished! I have three of four pieces from Eric Marcinizyn that I obviously love, most from early is his career and one from a few years back. Right now I’m three sessions into my whole Torso by Dmitry Troshin which I’m very excited about.
There’s a few other guys I would love to collect from for sure, but before I can dream to big I may have to get a few things lasered because I don’t have to many large spaces left to give such great artists a larger project to do. I guess I could do some space filling with medium size pieces but I’d prefer to go big and give artists freedom in larger spaces.
You been to conventions lately? For some reason I feel like you’re not the biggest convention guy…If my assumption is correct, why so?
To be honest I don’t have a particular reason why I don’t go to many conventions, other than the fact that I’m a bit shy and anxious around huge groups of people, and while although I may be terribly wrong I just don’t feel like the people I really look up to would particularly enjoy me just walking up to them starting a random conversation when they didn’t know who I was haha .
Also just speaking in business terms if I’m working and busy, and I’m going to go somewhere and potentially not be busy, I would rather not jeopardize the consistency. I do understand this can be a negative to my opportunities to possibly expand, although I have always worked more private, and have still been able to travel while doing what i love, but you know what Jordan you got me here haha I should probably get on the road and take the risk.
Three hardest lessons you’ve had to learn on your journey as an artist/business owner?
I’ll keep this one shirt and sweet
- No one doing amazing will get you to where you want to be without an equal amount of due diligence on your end
- I spent a lot of time wanting to do work that was similar to other artists styles …. forget it, do what you do best whether it’s already a style or not … your personality and work should and will speak for itself. People will respond accordingly.
- You can go fast by yourself, but you won’t go far!
Funniest/most bizarre/craziest experience with any client thus far?
So I haven’t had any “standout” crazy things happen to me, but have experienced a client of a friend of mine pass out and piss themselves in the process! We never saw them again haha
Do you have a solid piece of advice to give specifically to tattoo collectors hoping to build an amazing collection?
Add me as an artist on your list haha…. Be patient with artists, you’re not the only ones trying to get an appointment. Do not price shop! Be prepared to spend between 1000 and 5000 dollars per session with any of the top guys in the game. Look at what what they do and what they excel in before voicing the subject matter you want, the closer you get to the mindset of the tattooer with your idea, the better chance you have a a response and a great tattoo. Develop a rapport with your artist, not all of us just want your money, we also love creating long term friendships and relationships with great business as a perk to it.
Most difficult part of being a tattooer? Most rewarding?
The Most difficult things for me are realizing that at 30 I can’t tattoo for 13 hours a day anymore (neck problems)…. another difficult thing with traveling a lot is never really feeling grounded large in part to always being with new sets of individuals, and staying in different places that are unfamiliar at times. The most rewarding as corny as it sounds is seeing people reactions to what we are able to provide them … most clients don’t have have much of an artistic understanding they just have some good ideas but aren’t sure what it will translate to on skin, so it’s awesome to be able to make someone “better looking” on their way out…. we all appreciate you guys.
If you had the pricing power to charge something outlandish like $25,000 per full day session, how many days are you tattooing per month and why? (I know you’re already cashing out hard as is but let’s just dream a little deeper)
SSSHHHIITTTTT, i would be tattooing 5 days a week untill my hand and head fell off…. we do have a shelf life you know! Haha and I love tattooing man I would try my best as a human to still focus on the work and save as much as I could to provide a better life for myself at a later date. I’m not that old yet.
What do the words “Lead The Followers” mean to you?
To me, Lead the Followers represents a movement that leans towards guiding people in the right direction on their decision making within tattooing or for anything in life for that matter. Telling us to make calculated decisions, don’t fall for the gimmicks, be true to who you are and what you want and literally lead those who follow you to a better quality of life whether it be a business decision or an art decision. We will all be judged for decisions we make whether we like it or not, but with that being said let’s be comfortable in those decisions by not being closed minded.
If you don’t always want to follow the leader that’s okay,
but always lead the followers!
Thanks so much for your amazing perspectice Dan! Give him a follow and check out more of his incredible work @danpricetattoo