Richard guy is a tattoo artist, specialising in black and grey work. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter as Richard Artist Guy.
For my first tattoo, I had my initials across my stomach with stars between. The font was big, old English font shaded in black. I used to be overly mad on hip-hop, and that sort of encouraged me to get that tattoo.
There’s a lot of crossover between horror and ink fans, what do you think the connection is?
I think it’s on the individual. If the artist is a fan of horror, it’s going to show in his work. But yeah, I, and many other tattooists, are into horror. I grew up watching the classics. I was born in the 80s, and horror then was more interesting than it is now. It was a lot more frightening at the age I was then, too. My dad loved to draw, and he used to draw me a lot of gore and monsters. I was only young but I loved it all.
Of all your tattoos which do you think is most synonymous with horror?
I think a lot of the Giger-esque tattoos I’ve done are most synonymous with horror. Giger is the king of horror, and I’ve tattooed some of his work directly onto clients’ skin, as well as horror movie-themed pieces and skulls.
Who are your favourite horror tattooists?
Tommy Lee Wendtner. Mr Dist, Toxycxlr, Carl Grace, Paul Booth, the list goes on.
How much do a person’s tattoos tell you about them?
That’s difficult. You can meet someone and not know they are tattooed. First impressions can be deceiving. You can pick out bits of a client’s personality from the ones you tattoo regularly.
Is it okay to get a tattoo just because it looks fucking cool or do you believe there should be a deep message behind each tattoo?
Each to their own. If they want something that looks cool, that’s up to them. I am the same. If I see a large, scary-looking tattoo, I’d happily have it on me with no meaning behind it. There are people out there sporting ink with no meaning whatsoever. I’m not dissing the ones that have tattoos with some meaning behind them. Art is art, and I’d happily wear it on my skin for the hell of it.
Avoid those studios that are just in it for the money. If you want a portrait, don’t get sucked in by the cheaper rate. Check out the portfolios on their social networking sites. Visit the studio to see their work. Also, just because an artist has a studio doesn’t mean he specializes in that thing.
For those who haven’t been to a tattoo convention, what can they expect?
Mind-blowing art and a place to be inspired. Don’t think it’s all big, bad tattooists partying, as it’s far from it. It’s artists sharing their passions with the world for you to enjoy. Go to one. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
If, for whatever reason, you were told that you could only have one more tattoo, what would it be and why?
A skull, purely because I love skulls. If I was told I could only tattoo one thing for the rest of my career, it would be skulls.
There are still a lot of people who discriminate against tattoos in the work place, why do you think that is? Do you think this trend is reversing?
Work places are still discriminating, and it’s wrong. I think they have to open their eyes to the art. But there are also a lot of silly people out there, getting their first tattoo across their neck in an effort to look like a badass then complaining when they can’t get a job because of their tattoo. Tattooing’s well on its way to being more acceptable, so soon enough employers will see it for the art it is. My fiancé, who is quite advanced in nursing and almost has a full bodysuit, had it hard in the hospital until the laws changed.