This week we sat down with Ryan Campbell of American Crow Tattoo in Columbus, OH about his new 'Keep It Bottled Up' design for the IA Fall Line, his journey in tattooing, and how he collaborates with his clients to make unique tattoos for each one.
1) How did you come up with the design for the Keep It Bottled Up tee?I knew I wanted it to be nautical themed and then I thought about how many of us deal with our own demons and personal struggles that make us feel dead inside. I wanted this design to be a representation of the way the world makes us feel sometimes that we can't really express how we feel and that we feel trapped by our feelings.
2) How would you describe yourself / your tattooing style?
I would say I'm a productive, positive person that loves close friends and making the people around me feel as welcome as possible. I grew up in a very conservative home and art and tattooing was a way for me to kinda break out of that and express myself the best way I knew fit. As far as style I draw a lot from traditional and geometric imagery. I love bold lines and muted color tones. I also grew up going to Florida a lot as a kid & I love the ocean, which is why a lot of my designs are nautical themed.
3) How did you get into tattooing?I got into tattooing by just getting tattooed very quickly at a young age. I started getting tattooed as soon as I turned 18 and was always into drawing and art so that played a big hand in me getting into the industry. I would love to give a shout out to the guys that helped along the way, Sam Fortney for being a best friend and teaching me how to tattoo, Shaun Kidd for steering me in the right direction on what steps to take to get into tattooing the right way, and also to David Tevinal for tattooing me at an early age and showing me what hard work and drive gets you [the man is a monster and I'm so glad I had a chance to work next to him at Memento tattoo in Ohio].
4) How different is the process of designing a t-shirt, vs designing a tattoo?
Tshirt layouts are different from tattoos just because of layout, I wanted it to be easily readable from a distance and at the same time something that the masses would want to wear instead of a single individual
5) What does "Keep it Bottled Up" mean to you?
"Keep it Bottled Up" means that all the shit you go through and the hard life lessons you experience you should never forget. They make you stronger and ready for the next stage in life.
6) When you're not tattooing, what do you do for fun?
When I'm not tattooing I love to be outside. I skateboard as much as I can and I also love to go camping and kayaking. Living here in Columbus Ohio we have loads of cool bars and nightlife so there is always something fun to get into with friends. I also work on making custom wood mandala coffee tables and coat racks so I try and do that as much as possible.
7) How do you work with your clients to come up with a unique design?
Sitting down with clients in person is always the best way to get the ball rolling, I love making custom pieces for people that meet their individual needs. It's always good if a client has an idea in mind or some sort of references that I can start with and then I just let the creativity flow on my end. I find as many references as possible for myself and then I run with it.
8) How did you hear about InkAddict?
I always saw InkAddict around at tattoo conventions and loved your products. I love that they are very industry driven and include some amazing artist in the designing of their clothing brand. I met Jim in person at the Cleveland show this year and started to just build the relationship which has been great!
9) What's your #1 piece of advice for new clients?
A piece of advice for new clients is: Do your research. Find an artist that you can trust as an artist and love their work. Let the artist design something that will look amazing and that you will be proud to wear, just remember not everyone does the same style and subject matter, so find someone whose work speaks to you.
10) What inspires you to create?
Meeting new people; everyone plays a part in your life in some way and brings out different parts of you. Nature inspires me and so does architecture. I love the design, straight lines, and math behind it all and that's why I think I'm drawn so much to traditional tattoos - clean and solid line work.
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Here at InkAddict, we love our Vets and Military Service Men & Women. This week, we pay special homage to tattooed members of the military, both Veteran, and Active Duty.