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.