How long have you been tattooing? Jeff Todd: I’m going on 12 years.
How did you get into the field?
Jeff: I got a tattoo, believe it or not. It was late in life – I was like 28. I just got one and then within like a month I had sleeves and I got interested.
Were you interested in art before that?
Jeff: Yeah, all growing up. But it was just one of those things – it just kind of bit me. He started even younger than me. (To Butch Comer): You got your first tattoo at 15.
What was your first tattoo?
Jeff: It was a stupid tribal armband, which is no longer there. It’s covered up by a bunch of other stupid tribal tattoos [laughs]. I was trying to hide [the first one].
Butch: A dragon.
What was your first tattoo as an artist?
Jeff: You know, I don’t even remember. I was thinking about that the other day and I have no idea. (To Butch): Do you remember your first?
Butch: It was a monk. An Egyptian monk.
Jeff: I don’t remember my first one. It had to be something simple, I think it was a piece of tribal. That was big back when I started out.
Do you have a favorite style?
Jeff: The old school style.
Butch: Yeah, me too.
Jeff: That’s really what we like [the American Traditional style] and that’s what we’re trying to bring back.
I know a lot of artists now are trying this “hyper-realism” style.
Jeff: Yeah, stay with the basics and the traditional. It looks great. But, hey, to each their own.
Do you have advice to someone looking to get a tattoo?
Jeff: Check the artist. Check the shop. And then the vibe, you know? When you walk in, talk to the guys. You get a good vibe, you know?
Butch: Yeah, see if it feels right.
Jeff: Yeah, a big part of it is the feel because you have to entrust yourself with somebody.
Butch: No bad vibes.
Is there anything either of you won’t tattoo as far as where it is or what it is of?
Jeff: Depends on the person. I have done face tattoos. I don’t like doing them, but I’ve done them. I stay away from the really hateful stuff. I’ve never done a swastika and never will. I don’t like the hateful stuff – bad vibe. [But for face tattoos,] it’s more with the person, really. It’s dumb. Everybody I have given a face tattoo I have tried talking out of it.
Tattoos are becoming more acceptable in society. What are your thoughts on this change and how society views tattoos?
Jeff: I think they’re slowly coming around because everybody has them.
Butch: No one is ever going to be happy. You’re always going to have people against anything.
Jeff: I would say just because of the quantity of tattoos that are out there, it’s a little more accepted.
Butch: I think when these people get older, you know the young people that are 18, 19, 20, when they’re 40 and 50, then it will be cool. They won’t even think twice about a tattoo. But there’s still old people now that look at you, they don’t want to hire you, they’re scared of you if they see you walking down the street. But so many people have gotten tattoos now that I think it’s going to be a numbers game, you know? The tattoo people will outnumber non-tattooed people.