I was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, in 1971, and began drawing at an early age. My father would bring home the unused forms from work and my brother and sisters would use the blank side for art. It was always fun and I kept at it. When I was in high school I joined the Art Club and eventually became president. The club raised money by selling candy bars and we went to New York City with the proceeds. While in New York, we went to The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Pratt Institute of Art in Brooklyn. I was gravitating to the art of Georgia O’Keefe, Vincent Van Gogh and Keith Haring, among others. However, when it came time to apply for college I decided against studying Fine Art, knowing that it rarely led to a career.
In 1989 I enrolled at Emerson College in Boston. I majored in film with the thinking that it was an established industry and a practical choice compared to painting or drawing. As early as my sophomore year though, I realized I was not interested in becoming Steven Speilberg. I felt more affinity for the work of independent filmmakers like Barbara Koppel and Gus Van Sant. I also realized I was not interested in living in Los Angeles, although I had visited San Francisco and Eugene and liked the west coast. The New England winters were getting to me and after I graduated I decided to move to Eugene.
I had put myself through college on loans and serving coffee, but figured in Eugene I’d find work at one of the television stations or advertising agencies. Strangely enough, serving coffee was more lucrative so I found myself behind the espresso machine again. It turned out to be a fortunate thing because that is where I met Bonnie Jean McVay, the owner of Tattoo by Design. She and Diane, the office manager at the time, were coming into the cafe before work occasionally and through them I started to learn a little bit about the tattoo world. To hear early on that Bonnie Jean refused to do any racist designs made me realize I had some unconscious prejudices about the industry. I had gotten a small tattoo of a gecko when I was 19, but that half hour in a slow shop in Haight-Ashbury was my only experience with that end of the art world.
When I was eventually asked if I wanted to work counter for Tattoo by Design I figured it would be a great way to find out what it was all about. I worked counter for a little over a year before I asked for an apprenticeship. I got my tattoo license in 1997 and have worked at the shop ever since. I am both a member of the Alliance of Professional Tattooists, and a new member of the National Tattoo Association. I am grateful for all the training I have received and appreciate all the people who have come in for tattoos. This is an incredible medium and I feel incredibly lucky to have landed a career in the arts.
In addition to a few photos of my work below, you can see more of my tattoos at my portfolio on the Tattoo by Design facebook page.