November 26 2013
Confessions from René Botha at Liquid Amber
Written by Gastown Admin
What got you interested in tattooing?
I have been tattooing for four years. I have always loved tattoos, and have been drawing since I can remember. When the opportunity to apprentice came along, I seized it right away.
What was your first tattoo? Was there any meaning behind it?
My first tattoo was a dragon done by Adam Sky at Sacred Heart Tattoo. I believe I was 20.
Are there any artists that have influenced you?
Yes, lots! Jeff Gogue, Steve Moore, Mike De Vries, Shaun Barber, and Jeremy Geddes, to name a few. I could go on and on. There are many amazing artists to draw inspiration from if you know where to look!
Were you a traditional artist before you started tattooing or vice versa? Does one medium influence the other?
Yes, I came from pencil drawings. Different mediums definitely influence each other. I feel like crossing back and forth made me a better artist. It’s helped make connections I might otherwise have overlooked or perhaps have taken longer to recognize.
How would you describe your style?
My true love would be black and grey realism, but I have a great appreciation for colour as well. I’m drawn to pieces that allow me to work with light and shadows, creating realistic three-dimensional images.
What do you think a client should expect from you as a tattoo artist, and what do you expect from a client to make a successful tattoo and good collaboration?
I think it’s important for the client to familiarize themselves with the style of the artist they’ve chosen. Looking over the artist’s portfolio and making sure the style corresponds with their idea or concept. It’s also important for the client to have a good idea of what they want, but to be flexible and receptive to the artist’s professional opinion and experience. In other words, trust your artist.
Who are your typical clients?
I really don’t have a typical client, plus I really enjoy tattooing people from all walks of life. From doctors and lawyers to ex-nuns and Rush fans.
Do you have a routine to prepare yourself before tattooing a client?
Extra large decaf coffee and good music!
Have you ever had a client come to you and ask you to do something that you don’t feel comfortable doing?
Yes, I’ve had requests to tattoo unusual places on the body. With that said, I’ll usually do anything at least once!
What do you think makes a good tattoo? Alternatively, are there any tattoo styles/imagery that you don’t like?
A good tattoo would be a piece that’s large enough to show detail, texture and contrast. I love images that are simple and focused. It’s a powerful way to convey an idea.
What do you think is one of the biggest tattoo myths?
That you can cover up a barbed wire armband with a portrait of your mom.
If you could tattoo anyone in the world, who would it be?
Oh, definitely the Pope.
If you weren’t tattooing what profession do you think you would be doing?
I would be working in Forensics. When I started my apprenticeship I was getting my bachelor in Forensic Technology. I had to choose between the two. No regrets!
Do you have any advice for someone who is considering getting their first tattoo?
Take your time, do your research, and make sure you resonate with the artist you choose!