Kevin Paul, More Than Just A Celebrity Tattoo Artist
Kevin Paul was probably one of the most down to earth chaps we've talked to.
And you'd expect someone who's gotten to chill with some pretty notable names in the UK scene to be pretty evasive.
Kevin got into tattooing in the early 90's, he was around thirteen or fourteen then, about the same time he started getting tattooed as well. Like many tattoo artists, it's always been art for Kevin. He's been drawing tattoo designs on textbooks at school from a young age of twelve and gave himself his first tattoos at thirteen. That's what led him to tattooing. From starting out with putting something heavy on one pencil ends to put pressure, giving him the feel of a machine, to getting behind the actual thing, tattooing Ed Sheeran's chest, Kevin has come along way.
But despite how the road turned out for Kevin, it wasn't always an easy ride. Far from it, actually. Kevin recalls how his interest in tattoos can be traced way back when his older brother ended up in jail really young. His older brother went home with tattoos from jail which fascinated the young Kevin. From there, he started to make do with what he had then. Take note that this was the time when tools were virtually inaccessible, especially when you're a wee fourteen year old.
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Kevin reveals how he used to try to re-draw tattoos he particularly liked on the back of bike magazines. Paul Booth and H.R. Giger played a big part on Kevin's influences, with both artists' style leaning towards dark art style. He eventually developed his own style through the years, taking cues from these two, attending conventions, and meeting new people.
Although tattooing celebrities have opened up many opportunities for him the last four years, he admits that it was doing dark art tattoos he enjoyed doing the most. It's where his roots are. Though he doesn't mind doing mainstream, having made good friends along the way, it's not what he wants to be known for. It started when he tattooed hip-hop duo Fizzle Kicks a few years ago. Kevin has since then tattooed over seventy acts including Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles.
It's no doubt that tattooing is a career for someone who wants to follow his own pursuits. I, myself, haven't met a tattoo artist who hates what he does for a living. Kevin is one of the lucky ones who get to wake up to a job he loves every day.
I learn more from my clients than I ever did at school. —Kevin Paul to Tattoodo
There's no secret about how Kevin loathes the tattoo industry in the UK. The way he sees it, people no longer see tattoos the way they did back then. Tattooing has become a career for some people who are looking for a way to appear ‘edgy’ or to make plain easy money. We agree that tattoos have become so available to everyone, that anyone who can convince a tattoo artist that he/she can be legally tattooed may get tattooed however way they want. But what he hates the most about the local tattoo scene is how sanitation and expertise have been neglected. And with the rise of tattoo machines anyone with a credit card can purchase online, it surely is getting worse.
Aside from tattooing, Kevin have also dipped his fingers in writing, having had written for TV shows and appearing in a film. It's been good for Kevin Paul.
When I asked Kevin what advice he'd give to any aspiring fellas who are in it to win it to be a tattoo artist, he's pretty straightforward about it. So, what does Kevin Paul has to say to anyone to become a tattoo artist? Make sure you're a good artist. Let's be honest, no one comes straight out of the womb and draws an 8.5 x 11 portrait in charcoal; it all has to be worked hard for. When you get that sorted out, find a good studio to apprentice for. This man takes tattooing very seriously, and he'll probably have no qualms to tell you right off that tattooing isn't like something you wear to up your street cred.
Finally, what's looking up for Kevin Paul? As of now, he's filming a new season of Tattoo Disasters and there's more TV writing for him as well. F-ck the haters, totally.
“I think the industry needs tattooists to pull together; to sort out laws with government. They will do it if we all pulled together on it. People are to bothered about egos and not about the industry.”—Kevin Paul to Tattoodo Follow Kevin on Instagram and Facebook.