state of the art: ryan weaver - kingdom tattoo

this week we're featuring ryan weaver, a tattoo artist and the owner of kingdom tattoo in decatur.  i have been following ryan's work on instagram (@ryanweavertattoo) for a couple of years after he was mentioned to me by a few of my friends.  i was immediately impressed by his tattoo skills, and ryan will be inking my next tattoo.  he has been tattooing for 17 years, and has owned kingdom tattoo for over 3 years.  

jh: why did you decide to start kingdom tattoo?

rw: [working long hours for someone else] "i didn't feel like i could be a very present dad or husband.  i kinda set it up to make it where i could be available to them."  

jh: so now on top of tattooing you are running a business, do you feel like have more time for your family?

rw: "i have a lot more time."

jh: how did you get into tattooing?

rw: "tattooing chose me.  i was in bands growing up, and just kept getting lots of tattoos.  the more i hung out at this one particular tattoo shop the more they seemed interested in me.  historically as apprenticeships go you are asked to apprentice.  it's different now.  the more i got tattooed the more i enjoyed the process."

jh: how would you describe your style?

rw: "american traditional is the broad category that best represents what i like to do.  i drive an old car and live in a mid century house.  i'm real nostalgic about vintage things; it speaks to my soul.  to me old mid century sailors getting hearts, anchors, roses and stuff; just simple readable images; to me that's what tattooing is.  and that's why i do the things i do.  this is the stuff that best represents the feeling i get tattooing."

jh: how do you think tattooing will change over time?

rw: "today everyone kinda shuns flash, but i think it's going to come back around.  most of this stuff in here is originals that i've been collecting from tattooers all around.  'cause i want to have the most unique collection of flash around."

ryan does impressive work, but i am more impressed with the man behind the work.  as a small business owner with a child on the way i hope i can prioritize my life as well as he does.  ryan, thank you for taking the time and sharing.  thanks also for the advice, a good time, and great work.

to see a gallery of images from my time with ryan click here.  you can follow ryan on instagram @ryanweavertattoo or on facebook.