Always jovial and cracking jokes at his own expense, Brad Fink's infectious personality will win anyone over within seconds of stepping into his shop. Co-owner and one of the founders of New York City’s infamous Daredevil Tattoo in Chinatown, Fink has been in the game for about 30 years now, receiving his first tattoo at just 15 years old, and starting his career as a tattoo artist only two years later.
In that time he’s managed to open his own tattoo studio, move that same studio to a new location, and open New York’s one and only tattoo museum. Needless to say, Fink is a man of unparalleled ambition and numerous talents, one of them being his keen ability to maintain a unique versatility in his work, effortlessly transitioning from Irezumi to American traditional at the drop of a hat. But Fink claims that he had no other option, “it almost sounds cliche at this point, but tattooing really picked me.”
First opening Daredevil’s doors in 1997, the same year tattooing was once again legalized in New York, Daredevil has always been the spot to go for some of the finest tattoos in the city, but Fink’s immaculate lines, shading, and perfectly contrasting colors are what sets his work apart. Characterized by his attention to detail — a trait that carries over to his museum curating capabilities — Fink’s work is a balancing act. It is the harmonious cohabitation of both light and dark, soft and sturdy.
Fink is known for his amazing artistic capabilities, but he says that wasn’t always the case during his formative years as an artist. “Back in the ‘80s it wasn’t a situation where people sort of went to art school with the intention of being a tattoo artist like it is now, that wasn’t the landscape back then,” says Fink. “It was still a very very closed profession. It was something that wasn’t glamorized like it is now. You were a tradesman basically, it was no different than being a bricklayer or something like that.”
Today Fink is known as many things — an artist, a collector, and a key player in New York’s tattoo renaissance during the ‘90s, helping to shape what we now know as the current New York tattoo community. Fink is an outstanding artist, but his real work behind the scenes is what makes his legacy truly immeasurable. Laying the foundation for artists to come, he is without a doubt a founding father for a new wave of artists — serving as a constant reminder of the rich history of tattooing and just how far we’ve come as a community.