Uncut Interview for @tattoo_instaview on Instagram
Keith Ciaramello aka @tattoosbykeith
How long have you been tattooing?
It was 20 years last fall.
Did you have any mentors who have helped you in your craft.
Absolutely. I think that's why mentoring young artists is so important to me. I think there is an epidemic of untrained operators out there. Not just a lack of training in tattooing, but business, ethics, and social skills.
Do you have any other formal art training ?
I hate to use the term "self taught", because I learned from so many books, dvds, websites and personal experiences with other artists. I only started attending classical art classes in the last 3-4 years. Its been awesome. I highly recommend it.
What did you do before tattooing?
I was a progressive heavy metal drummer.
What is your shop name ?and how do clients contact you ?
My shop was Kustom Kulture Ink, Inc. for the last decade, but I was forced to relocate due to hurricane Sandy. After the move I made a decision to push forward with marketing my own name as a brand. The new shop is simply "Tattoos by Keith". Kustom Kulture Ink, Inc. is still my corporation though. Best way to contact me is to call 516 623 5665 or email email@example.com.
Can you discibe your shop setting , atmosphere?
The third generation of my studio is a minimalist, semi-private shop. I tattoo by appointment only, with one walk-in day on Wednesdays. There is a second station that I rent out and use for guest artists.
Do you work with other artist? Do you find it helps your art?
I mentored a bunch of artists in the last 10 years. You may have noticed that I try not to air any "dirty laundry" publicly, so let me just say it got very tiring launching careers for people who ultimately made choices that were extremely disappointing to me as a mentor. 'Nuff Said. Otherwise I would say working with other artists of all skill levels is a great experience. There is something to learn from everyone.
Who are your favorite tattoo Artist /artists?
Too many to name, and Instagram just makes it worse! LOL! I think I have a new favorite every couple of weeks.
What is your favorite tattoo on yourself and why?
Scot Winskye from Inkwell Tattoo in Kentucky did a recreation of a sailor girl my Dad had. It's for my wife. It means a lot because of all the personal connection. There's my Dad, my wife, and Scot is one of my best friends.
How do you describe your style?
I think I've been labeled realism, pinup, dog portrait guy. The truth is I see myself as an illustrator. I do way more styles than most people are aware of.
What other mediums do you work in?
Everything. Digital and analog mediums of all types. I love to draw, paint and sculpt.
Do you find it influences your tattooing?
Absolutely. All tattoo artists should be working in another medium.
Any Family or friends that have helped you in your career ?
My entire family. My brother introduced me to Frank Delisi. He go me into the business (back when you needed to know someone). I love Frankie. It was awesome to tattoo him last year at the Park City Utah Convention.
Any Future plans or projects for yourself or shop.?
I have BIG plans as it relates to professional development in the tattoo industry. Top secret for now. In the meantime my DVDs and downloads are available through my website www.tattoosbykeith.com, Kingpin Tattoo Supply, and Guy Aitchison's Tattoo Education website.
What are your favorite machines, inks, Needles etc
Rotary wise I use Bishop and Cheyenne Thunder. I don't tattoo with coils very often, but when I do I use Keith B machines exclusively. Needles are from Kingpin, Eikon and Needle Jig. Obviously, the Thunder uses cartridges. Eternal is my ink. I have an odd color here or there from other companies, but Eternal is all really need.
What’s your favorite part of tattooing?
When it all goes smoothly. LOL.
What would you like to say to your followers and fans ?
Thanks so much. Sincerely. More cool stuff on the way for ya!