It was surprising to learn that the person running Snake Pit, a horribly hilarious Instagram account that displays really bad tattoos, is actually an incredibly talented tattoo artist in his own right: Casper Mugridge. Casper started the account to show off all those funny tattoos that only extremely deep and strange Google searches will find. Some of these pieces are so awful they'll leave you either laughing hysterically or grimacing from the reality of it. It's like car crashes, super serious public arguments between couples, or people who wear tinfoil hats and scream about the impending world doom: you cannot look away.
These funny tattoos make us ponder the sanity of society, for sure, but they're also a good example of why you should actually go to an experienced artist. Ya know, you want that hyperrealist portrait of your daughter to look like your daughter...not Animal from the Muppets.
JM: It was interesting to find out what a talented artist you are yourself, considering Snake Pit’s reputation for showing off funny tattoos and the best of bad tattoos! When did you start tattooing and why was it the occupation you chose to pursue?
I’ve been tattooing for 11 years. I’ve been doing art my whole life and getting tattooed for a long time. It made sense for me to pursue it as a career.
JM: Are you surprised by the interest and following in Snake Pit? Why do you think the account took off so successfully?
I’m not entirely surprised by the interest. I try to post things you wouldn’t see anywhere else. I run two other big accounts on Instagram: @blackworkers and @blackworkers_tattoo which have been around for a long time now. Initially I used those accounts to boost @snake__pit off the ground. Running those accounts gave me the know how to run and maintain a page. For me snake pit is a nice change from my other serious tattoo pages.
JM: Some of the funny tattoos in your feed are so bad it’s hard to believe that someone actually shared it with the world in the first place. Do people send you their terrible tattoos, or do you do weird internet searches to find them?
At the very beginning I would search out the content myself . The page has gotten big enough that people send things to me.
JM: Other pieces on Snake Pit are by really incredible artists but just totally perverse subject matter like Shunga. Why do you think people are drawn to pieces like this? Are we all, deep within, just a bunch of depraved horny weirdos?
I don’t know the deep down reasons why anyone would get a tattoo like that. Shock value, it’s funny, or they're just really into anal. I do know they’re great conversation pieces. "Who would get that?" "Did you see that crazy??" Or it's just entertainment and funny. I try to show the underbelly of the tattoo world...the things that don’t normally get seen because it’s not a common subject matter.
JM: Many people think that the art of tattooing is being lost, and that trends like “ignorant tattoos” are to blame. What do you think? What does the future of tattooing look like to you?
I think the term ignorant tattoo is a code for unskilled and not artistic. I don’t think it has a place in tattooing at all. It’s a slap in the face to all the hard working tattoo artists who have worked to make it their career and who are always trying to improve, progress and get better in every way. It’s hard to say what the future will look like. Everything in tattooing has already been done. I think artists will have a harder time standing out which forces artists to push and do things differently. Whether it's subject matter, body placement, how it's tattooed, etc. Those are the things that will stand you apart and push the industry.