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 Cory Ferguson.
Cory Ferguson, the myth, the legend, and the most humble man I know. Hell, he takes time to sit down with me while wearing 7 other hats! He must've cloned himself somehow. - Patrick Coste
Name: Cory Ferguson
Year tattooing: 20 years
Year actually good at it?: hahaha! Every artist is their own worst critic, so there’s a part of me that thinks I’m still waiting for that to happen. But in all fairness, I picked it up pretty quickly and was headed down the dotwork/geometric path within 2 years of starting.
Place of business: Good Point Tattoos, Oakville, ON, Canada
Geometrica app: www.instagram.com/geometricatattooapp
PC: What’s up Daddy-O haha! Last time I saw you, I think it was in Calgary and you were on daddy duty!! You're travelling quite a bit these days...What I’m saying is, you're so active on every level: tattooing, family, apps, seminars, conventions - travel is an awesome perk. Do you have 24 hours like all of us??
CF: Haha that’s true! We run into each other all over the place, don’t we? Yeah, I wish I had like 60 hours in a day. For the most part, I just find a way to get everything done, but there are definitely days where sleep takes a backseat to work. Starting a new app and having a baby at the exact same time has pushed me to my limits, but I absolutely love everything I do so that helps. My desire to progress and see new ideas come to life just outweighs my desire for free time I guess. My amazing daughter and our little family are always first priority though, and I try to fulfill all the Dad duties each day before switching my focus to the tattoo-related projects.
PC: You just went back to Hawaii right? You forgot to bring back me in your luggage lol! Was it for vacation or work?
CF: Ahah! Yeah, we were just in Hawaii, finally getting to introduce the baby to all of our Ohana down here who've been waiting patiently to meet her. We come here a lot, and every time it's always a mixture of work and vacation. I think that’s the classic tattooer story though - no matter where I go I will be tattooing. I also find it easier to work on things like my TattooSmart projects, and now my app Geometrica while here, cuz I’m away from my shop and I can focus on these other things.
PC: So much happiness and fulfillment in travel right? You bring your whole clan with you when you travel, that's amazing!!
CF: Yeah absolutely, we generally travel as a unit haha! Travelling has been such an integral part of my life for the last twenty years. I couldn’t imagine my life without it. One of the things I was looking forward to the most about having a child, was showing them all these amazing places I get to visit, and having them grow up with the benefit of seeing all these different cultures and ways of life. I hope that it will make her worldly and open-minded later on in life.
PC: It definitely will. You were also born into a tattooing family, right?
CF: I sure was. My late father was a tattoo artist and a pioneer for legalizing tattooing in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Back in the early to mid-1980s, he met with the health board and people from the city to make it legal to open a tattoo shop, after it had been banned since the mid-’60s. When he moved back to Ontario after that, he started working for Crazy Ace Daniels at Way Cool Tattoos. I soon joined him there making needles and working the front counter when I was 17. That was 1993 when I started there, and he started teaching me to tattoo around 1997. Tattooing became my full-time job in 2000.
PC: You're quite in demand as well. You do the convention circuit, you do seminars, you're part of the TattooSmart community...how did that come up?
CF: I met Russ Abbott when I tattooed him at the Hell City convention, and it was right around the time he had started TattooSmart. At this time, I was also just starting to get into digital drawing and I was seeing all the cool stuff he was doing. I was inspired to apply those same programs to my style of work with repetitive geometric patterns, so I made a few brushes in Clip Studio Paint, of some of the most common henna and geometric patterns that I was tattooing at the time. I thought they worked amazingly, so I showed them to Russ the next time I saw him at the Paradise Tattoo Convention to see if he would be interested in doing something with them, and it just grew from there. Russ and I are good friends now. We’ve done some really cool things together, and pushed the limits of what was possible for brushes.
PC: Holy crap! I'm gonna call you Mr. Ferguson from now on! This is next level man. Hey, I've got to ask - you could've gone any style, how did you end up doing dotwork/geometry tattoos??
CF: In the beginning, I was working at a street shop and I had to learn every style of tattooing. I went to Europe and discovered the whole blackwork movement that was starting there at the time and that was it. I was just hooked. It spoke to me in a way that none of the other styles of tattooing did, and that became my focus from then on. I still tattooed in other styles for many years, but slowly I did less and less of other styles and more and more dotwork/geometry.
PC: You do it so well! Hey, before we've got to go, I've got to plug the brand new app you're putting Cory Ferguson's name on. What's the scoop?
CF: Hell yes! This app is like my second child - haha. It’s called Geometrica, and will be available on the App Store starting early Feb 2020. It’s the first drawing app made by a tattooer, so naturally every step of the way it's been made with tattooers in mind. I tried so many other drawing apps and always felt like they were missing something, and I wanted more. I knew that in the grand scheme of things we tattooers are a small market. No other app was going to focus enough on our little community to cater their software to the things we need or want, so I decided to do my own. I knew I had some great ideas. I knew the things I was envisioning in my head for pattern making and geometric drawing would be amazing, if only someone would make them happen. So it’s a very geometry-heavy drawing app, with tons of symmetry drawing features that have never existed before. As we grow from here, the app will feature lots of new symmetry functions, but also tools that are more all-encompassing to the tattoo industry and not just the geometric tattooers.
PC: Last one, I promise hahaha! Tell me where can we get tattooed by Cory Ferguson this year?
CF: The main place is my home base of Good Point Tattoos in Oakville, Ontario, and of course you can always try to catch me on the convention circuit. But if you’re serious, and you want large scale work, (which is mostly what I’m taking on these days) the shop is always your best bet.
PC: Thank you so much, man! Say "hi" to your lovely ladies, and see you on the road!
CF: I certainly will! Thanks, Patrick, hope to see you again soon!