Each week our intrepid artist liaison, and generally jovial Eikon staffer Patrick Coste, sits down with a tattoo artist to get to know them a little better. This week, he's catching up with Ontario artist Bobby T.
Bobby T works like a maniac. He draws like a man on fire. He loves hotrods, bikes, and he’s been around longer that he hasn’t - 20+ years! I re-introduce you to Bobby T, just in case you needed an introduction!!! - Patrick Coste
Name: Bobby T
Years tattooing: 20 years
Years actually good at it? 😅 I think around the ten year mark the technical aspect of tattooing kind of just clicked and it changed my tattooing, although I'll forever be a student of tattooing and art in general. I'm constantly trying to push myself.
Place of business: Sleepy Hollow Tattoo Parlour, Welland, Ontario, Canada
Patrick Coste: Good day Bobby! I’ve got to ask, what's your real name, haha?
Bobby T: Haha! People ask me that all the time... I’m Bobby T lol. It's like asking Mr. T what the T stands for... It's just “T”. Lol.
PC: Pleased to meet you, haha! Look, I gotta say, I got to really meet you and see you at the 7th annual Hub City Tattoo Convention, and I’ve been hooked since then! You’re quite the traveler, and a strong, busy artist - like crazy busy! You travel, you do a crapload of COVID-flash...Is it helping you to stay sane?
BT: Ya, on the convention scene I'm kind of choosy about which ones I work, because I'm busy with work at home. I want to work more shows I really do. I go to a lot in the States, just to enter competitions and hang out and be a spectator. It's still inspiring to me after all these years, but I mean I'm always trying to produce art. It does keep me as sane as someone can be during this pandemic. Without art, who knows? I'd probably be talking to a Wilson volleyball.
PC: Hard not to talk about COVID-19. How do you think tattooing will change after all this? How do you think we’ll adapt ??
BT: Well I think the whole world’s gonna change, at least for the foreseeable future. I was reading something that said that after the Spanish flu in 1918, it took until 1922 for people to kind of relax and go out and about again. I hope people come get tattooed. It’s how we make our living. Tattoo shops always get thrown under the bus in terms of what the government looks at as being clean, but we get held to such strict standards by our health department. I would rather go to a tattoo shop instead of a hospital. I mean if you can go to Walmart with hundreds of people not wearing masks, you should be able to go to a shop by appointment only when you know we’re going above and beyond to keep everyone safe.
PC: So, true.... Alright, enough of pandemic-talk. Summer is here, and I know you like bikes and cars!!!! Are you ready?
BT: Oh for sure. Winter time in Canada definitely drags its ass. I hate winter. I'm huge into hot rods and bikes, I grew up on it. I think if I wasn't tattooing that's what I'd be doing for a living. I hate having to put my toys away, it kinda breaks my heart every year. At the same time come spring, you kind of get to fall in love again, lol. I just think in a world where a lot of our freedoms are slowly disappearing, as long as you have a tank of gas and somewhere you can cruise, no one can stop you. Vehicles aren't just machinery to me, they’re an extension of who I am. They become family.
PC: You've been tattooing for quite a while, in fact, since you were in diapers right?? Haha! Do you go to your shop these days, keeping tight and all?
BT: Lol, it sure seems like it. At this point in my career I’ve been tattooing for more of my life than I haven’t! And yes, I'm always at the shop, not tattooing obviously right now, but I like creating art there and just being in the atmosphere. It's filled with all the things I love. All my Halloween and horror movie stuff is there. It's like a museum or mausoleum depending on how you look at it, lol. I'm definitely itching to shake the tattooing cobwebs off and get back to work.
PC: Bobby, it’s always a pleasure, I hope to see you soon, right?? Keep in touch man!!
Follow Bobby T: https://www.instagram.com/bobbyttattoos