Known for his incredible realistic portraits of some of our most beloved pop culture icons, Empire Ink tattoo studio owner and Tattoodo Ambassador Alex Rattray gave us a behind the scenes look at how he got into tattooing and what nerd life really means. Sci fi nerds, music lovers, film fanatics, and more can unite over a love for Alex's work, his awesome authenticity as well as his devotion to portraying our heroes on skin.
What is your artistic background? Was realism always the style you were most interested in?
I was always drawing or painting as a kid. At Primary School, I would get let out of class to paint backdrops for school plays. Then, in High School, I would skip English and Maths and just go help out in the Art class.
After High School, I was excited to attend Edinburgh College of Art but was a little let down when I felt they were stifling my creativity. It felt that they were a factory churning out generic art styles. Disappointed, I gave up on art college as it seemed like there would little in the way of job prospects.
Realism wasn’t really as big when I first started. Like most tattoo artists, I did my fair share infinity symbols in the beginning but as time went on, I focused on making my tattoos more and more realistic.
How did you get into tattooing? Did you always know this was what you wanted to do?
You’re known for doing stunning portraits of pop culture icons, but who are your favorite pop culture references, movies, heroes? Who are your favorite artists?
You’ve won multiple awards, are sponsored by some of the best names in the business, but what does success mean to you? What have been your favorite moments up to this point in your career?
What was it like opening up your own shop, and why did you choose to open up in Edinburgh? What is the tattoo community like there?
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You’re a self-proclaimed nerd, which is awesome. What would you say is the nerdiest thing about you?
Any plans for 2018 that you want to share? Guest spots, travel plans, new projects?