Recently, we selected to work with Tyler Malek, who describes himself as "an eleven year tattooer, workaholic, and family man, who is scared of sharks and bird feet. He also enjoys long walks on the beach with the wind blowing through his rat tail on a cool summers eve." I want to know more, don't you?
All jokes aside, Tyler Malek's philosophy on his work is that you've got to chase your creativity, and that's what is appealing about being a tattoo artist. Like many artists of all sorts of trades, Malek chases the "not good enough" mentality in the sense that once he reaches a milestone, he's already chasing the next one. This type of tenacity is what makes or breaks an artist. Fortunately, Tyler is still slaying it, while running Underworld Tattoo Company.
When it comes to inspiration, he's looked to artists before him and artists that are currently working to help him generate a drive or desire to create something better.
"I originally was pulling strong influence from Kyle Cotterman, Paul Acker, and Steve Wimmer," said Malek. "They all tattoo with serious color pallets and have a truly buttery application that was always super appealing to me. I was always asking myself; how the F do they do what they do?! Steve Butcher and John Barrett absolutely CRUSH right now, and have me on the edge of my seat waiting for their next tattoo to drop!"
Malek shares that if he's not tattooing, he's probably still tattooing, and laughs about it. He also notes that his wife and daughter are his driving force - which is probably also a great indicator of why he says he doesn't travel often to conventions far away. "I am a little baby person when it comes to flying." He shared that two of his favorite conventions are the DC Tattoo Expo and the Boston Tattoo Convention because he loves the way things are orchestrated behind the scenes, that the artists are treated well, and the shows benefit everyone involved.
Aside from tattooing and admitting that he's a sugar fanatic, he says if he could trade places with anyone for a week, he'd be Dracula. "I would be able to stay up all night to watch all the Netflix shows. Being able to turn into a bat, fly around, and bite the hell out of people, while not being on bath salts sounds pretty great to me."
As Malek continues his work, check out his Instagram (@tylermalek) and watch him advance in the industry. He shared that mind has been blown throughout the years on the popularity and excitement of tattooing, and can't imagine where the tattoo industry will be creatively in the next 10 years. "I'm just happy to be a part of it, or at least be along for the ride!"
Amy Cooper is a photographer and journalist from the Detroit area, interested in ink, music, and lifestyle. Drop her a line on social media at @acronymdetroit!
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