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 Steve Peace.
This charismatic 'mélomane' loves tunes as much as tattooing. I'm not kidding here! He cares, he delivers... this is truly a recipe for success. - Patrick Coste
Name: Steve Peace
Year tattooing: 23 years
Year actually good at it: Still waiting...
Place of business: Immaculate Tattoos, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
PC: Good day Steve, always nice to talk to you. I recall 5 years ago when I first met you, I helped to carry a thermal copier. You were all surprised that someone you didn't know helped you out! I have to come clean, I just wanted to enter the exhibition centre faster... hahahah!
SP: Hah... that’s awesome! I can appreciate that in many ways. It’s tough setting up the show with people in the hall, so we do try to keep everyone out til the Friday now as the questions just get out of hand. Once the shows are all set up, most of the questions go away.
PC: I notice and strongly believe, that your love for music is almost equal to your love of tattooing. What would YOUR band be?
SP: I don’t actually have a musical bone in my body…I just love the music I grew up with, and still, listen to it every day when I work. My band is Judas Priest. I just got hooked in 1982 and never stopped. Tattooing allowed me to add to my music collection (til I had kids), so my room is all decorated with old show posters and gold albums. Everyone has their addictions, and Judas Priest and tattooing just happen to be mine.
PC: Them kids eh? Haha!! What's your top Judas Priest album?
SP: That’s a tough one...the last one they did in 2018 was amazing. It's called "Firepower". If I can still produce some of my best stuff at 68-70 years of age, I’d be very happy.
PC: I meant to ask this question when I first met you, how and why did you start the Edmonton and Calgary show? I’m sure it didn't start out to become one of the greatest shows in North America.
SP: I had a couple of friends start bugging me to start a tattoo show with their help. I think they thought it would be a quick buck, not realizing if I was included it had to be industry-focused, which tends to come with a lot more bills than most shows. Our first Calgary show was in 2004 at a local hotel, and was as successful as it could possibly have been….and it pretty much just broke even to the penny. I would have it no other way though, as I know all the shows we have put on have all been done with integrity, which is what needed to be done to make it into the show it is today. I’m glad we hooked up with Eikon from the first show, as the supplies you offer to each artist ensures we have a very clean show, as well as reducing our debt load. We have had some ups and downs at the show over the years and I am surprised I am still here at the other end, intact physically and mentally for the most part. If you put me back in time to one of our earlier shows and have me run it now, I don’t think I could pull it off.
It's almost time for the 2020 Edmonton tattoo show. Where are you at with all of this?
SP: Luckily I partnered up with a trade show firm; CanWest Productions, several years ago that works on the shows with me now. After 10 years of running the shows myself, I simply could not do it alone anymore financially or energy-level-wise. The shows still kick my ass to run, but I’m also older now so that's more easily done than before! My new partners do all the boring stuff like accounting, floor plans and advertising, while I just have to invite artists and look good! I do manage all the health board stuff and immigration letters for international artists, but I won’t start that until only a month out.
PC: You sure have a good recipe right here, and I can’t wait!! What's your new project - TattooDay?
SP: TattooDay is an app we started working on a couple of years ago. Basically it's a social media app for the tattoo industry, by the tattoo industry. A lot of artists are having problems with today’s social media pulling back on their viewership, forcing them to pay to boost posts which still have viewership issues. We have added a whole bunch of great features that lend themselves to the tattoo industry in a positive way. Basically the app can send out cancellation notices to all of an artist's client list, meaning artists can book up open spots in minutes, instead of posting on regular social media hoping the right person sees it in time. The app will also work in conjunction with our tattoo shows so clients can see which artists are attending and if they have any open spots available. We are releasing the app this spring with many added features to follow.
PC: You've been around a while, and seen a lot of changes in the industry...how are you keeping up with all of that?
SP: I actually do quite well with changes...I love new shit! I wish I had my Cheyenne machine, cartridges, and an iPad Pro back in the 90’s. Life would have been so much better, but it has been interesting to work through the evolution of tattooing in the last 20 years.
PC: Where can we see you, and how can we get tattooed by you this year???
SP: I will be doing a few shows this year. NIX in Toronto, then a couple in China in September, followed by the Rock River show in Illinois. I also will hopefully attend the Tahiti show in November again this year, but might conveniently leave my tattoo gear at home and just use it to decompress from running the Calgary show in October.
PC: It was a pleasure to chat with you Steve, you are rock solid and very appreciative of all that surrounds you. Keep on rocking. See you on the road!!!!
Follow Steve: https://www.instagram.com/stevepeacetattoos/