Tattoo artist Jay Freestyle started out as a piercer. It was his mentor that pushed him into learning to tattoo. After a few months of practicing on pigskin, Jay found the confidence he needed to tattoo friends and co-workers. He didn’t have an apprenticeship, so he learned by observing his surroundings. He also picked up techniques from the tattoo artists who worked on him.
Brandon Bond, Shige, Jeff Gogue, Myke Chambers, A.D. Pancho, and Tofi are some of Jay’s favorite and most influential tattoo artists. While developing his art, he focused on making it distinctive. Inspired by a variety of techniques, he took elements of different styles he liked doing and combined them. With such a freestyle (pun intended), his art is always evolving to keep it enjoyable.
We asked Jay to describe his style. He replied, “people are always asking me what my style is because they want to categorize it, so it’s easier to understand, so in that regard, I just term it watercolor so they can understand it easier. But, I don’t like to categorize my art because then it creates certain boundaries that people expect. The thing I like most about what I do is that there are no boundaries, and I’m free to create whatever I feel. My work is very graphic and abstract, produced in a painterly manner. It’s simply a combination of elements that I feel work well together and create something that is aesthetically pleasing.”
Jay’s advice for someone looking for their first tattoo:
“Do your homework, look for a style that speaks to you, then seek out the best artists in that field of work. Don’t price shop, save up and get a piece done properly one time because you only have one shot to get it right. Have a very basic idea and let the artist do their interpretation of the idea. A tattoo doesn’t have to mean anything, so for those who are watching too many TV series about tattooing, in real life, no one cares what your tattoo means. It’s perfectly OK to get a tattoo just because you like it.”
“Get tattooed by the best, not just a good artist, but the best. It’s how I learned, and I think that other artists who have done this will agree that it’s one of the best ways to learn. You’ll form a bond with the artist, and they’ll most likely be very open to teaching you a few tricks/tips. Most importantly, you’ll see them in action firsthand. Another important thing would be to draw/paint every day.”
Jay believes in living life to the fullest. He’ll do anything once. When he’s not tattooing, he loves to travel and experience new cultures, explore the unknown. He also has a keen interest in Japanese Shibari.
At present, Jay works at Dermadonna Custom Tattoo in Amsterdam near the Red Light District, China Town, and Dam Square. It’s easy to understand why he loves the location — and so do his clients.
Jay’s preferred methods of contact are e-mail or Facebook.
Images © Jay Freestyle