Kyle Stacher, based out of Hopeless Ink in Vancouver, Washington, is an illustrative force to be reckoned with. Tattooing for nine years, Stacher got his start by drawing on himself. Yes, you read that right. “I started getting tattooed at age 18, in 2005, and quickly realized they were expensive,” Stacher said. “So how do I get more while being so poor? Do them myself. Terrible idea. That being said I have a ton of shit awful tattoos and so do my very close friends. I later learned to appreciate tattooing for what it really is. A big fucking secret!”
Starting out, Stacher was heavily influenced by Nick Baxter. (You know, of the infamous Bloodlines gallery show we covered in December last year.) Once Stacher started tattooing, he fell in love with the likes of Ed Hardy, Sailor Jerry, and Cap Coleman. “I've always wanted to do traditional tattoos but could never figure it out correctly. It just never clicked so I just do this style now,” Stacher said. And "this style" is indeed working. Stacher’s artistry is visible in this illustrative work — the lines are clean, clear, and his handle on his black work is top notch. The way he stipples and pepper-shades follows the form of his subjects, and creates a texture and depth worthy of fine art masters.
When asked about his tattoo influences, Stacher is firmly rooted in his community. “My influences these days are mainly my friends and coworkers that I've had throughout the years. Especially the guys at Hopeless Tattoo. They always want to be better than each other (in a healthy way) and it really pushes all of us," Stacher explained. "My greatest influences have to be from my best friend Lawrence Edwards who I couldn't have done this without, and my girlfriend Holly Susuki who has shown me that all you have to do is keep giving a shit and you'll kill it.”
We also asked Stacher about his pop culture influences: “Arianna Grande, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, any love ballads from the 80's-90's. Not even joking. I love it. If this isn't what you meant by influences of pop culture then sorry, not sorry!” Sorry, not sorry.
Stacher’s booking and planning process for custom pieces is a work in progress. He’s in high demand, so when his books are closed, he doesn’t tend to reply to emails. The backlog, coupled with the back and forth of planning and plotting, makes it so some of the details get lost. He always gets it together, however, it’s a learning curve. “That is literally me in the past being like ‘Hmmm, how can I fuck with myself in the future?’ So because of that I usually contact my appointments a couple days before their tattoo to have them once again tell me what they want and how they want it.”
“I appreciate all of my clients for putting up with me and for always being the easiest people to work with," Stacher said. "As far as the actual [act of] tattooing, I just like to constantly be thinking of what the next step is and how I can turn it into something next level or just different than the thousands of other people that have a similar style. How do I stand on my own two feet and not on the shoulders of others?”