Interview With Professional Tattoo Artist Ace Connell

You were in the music industry before you became a tattoo artist. What inspired the change?

Yeah man, those were some crazy times. I was touring all the time and out of the country some weeks, then the weeks I was home, I’d still be away from Thursday until Monday doing shows up and down the country. When I found out I was going to be a Dad to my daughter, Layla, I wanted a career I could work from home doing and was still creative. It’s been almost a decade since she was born and I now co-own Regenerates Tattoo Studio with my buddy and have a bunch more kids in tow haha.

What kind of work do you find the most creatively satisfying?

Creating is creating to me. I find my pleasure and my happiness in the craft. It’s always cool getting praise for a tattoo I’ve done or giving the client something meaningful that they’re going to wear for the rest of their lives, but the actual work is the thing that excites me rather than the outcome. My tattoo studio has a full-size piano and guitars hung from most of the walls, so I’m never a few feet away from an instrument if I want to play. Plus, Chris Shally (who I own Regenerates Studio with) and I are always having singing battles on who can sing the highest Kate Bush and Michael Jackson songs, so that’s always fun. The place I get the most enjoyment is probably drawing. I draw all the time. I draw animals from life as much as I can. I’ll go out to a zoo, a horse field, a farm, anything to draw animals multiple times every week.

Any crazy client stories?

I love every one of my clients – they are trusting me to put a piece of artwork on them for the rest of their lives. Every piece I do has a piece of me in it. Having said that, though – I’ve had my fair share of crazy clients. In fact, I feel like I attract them somehow. There was a girl once who started skipping up and down my studio whilst I was setting up, then as soon as I started tattooing her, her first words were “Do you want to talk about conspiracy theories?”. I had a woman twice my age jump on me and kiss me, but everyone’s favourite story of mine seems to be when I was groped multiple times during a session by a disabled woman and her nurse just sat laughing and saying “What are you like? I can’t take you anywhere”. The disabled woman didn’t have any mental problems, so I thought I was well within my right to ask her to stop grabbing at my junk to which her response was to shout “YOU LOVE IT!”, then laugh like Vincent Price.

Tell us about your studio?

I co-own my tattoo studio with Chris Shally. The shop is called Regenerates Studio and inside looks more like a recording studio than a tattoo studio. There are instruments on every wall, mics, an upright piano and guitar amps. I love the place. Wherever there’s space on the wall that doesn’t occupy guitars, Chris and I filled the walls with our artwork, art that inspires us and weird and wonderful things from our favourite antique shops. As you first walk in there’s a huge circus poster original print from the 60’s which is quite fitting because the studio is light-hearted and ran by a couple of long-haired, bearded circus clowns.

What’s your favorite piece you’ve done so far?

It sounds cliché, but my best piece is always my next piece. I’m always excited to move one and push what I’m doing further. Every single tattoo I do I aim for it to be the best one I’ve ever done and the best tattoo that person has on their body.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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