March’s Featured Artist is Steve Brown, a passionate tattoo artist at Bold and Bright Tattoos (82 Colborne Street, Brantford). Brown has spent the last seventeen years as a custom tattoo artist by trade, and in his spare time, he paints and draws, creating images for his clients to choose from and for his own personal enjoyment. Brown has always been interested in creating, and does not remember a time when he didn’t enjoy using the arts to convey his ideas. “Art has been my outlet for as long as I can remember, and hopefully,” he says, “as long as I’m around.”
He says it’s hard to pinpoint what first inspired his career; he admires many trades and crafts, from fine woodworking to metal sculpting – anything that takes years of dedicated practice is admirable to him. He says he loves the challenge of taking years to perfect a craft, and when looking to make a career in the arts, he gravitated toward tattooing because it seemed hard to do. He wanted to know everything about the art form, “Not just how to tattoo but how to make the machines, pigments, needles. It was absolutely fascinating,” he says.
Tattooing for Brown has changed in many ways over the past nearly-two decades. When he first started, there were only about ¼ as many shops, and tattoo artists safely guarded their professional tips and tricks. “The journey men were gritty and shops were a little off the path,” he reminiscences. “But that was part of the excitement and experience.”
Photo Credit: Steve Brown
As years pass and tattooing gains popularity, he has noticed that his customers have changed and are much more savvy, inspiring artists to accommodate these changes. Their shops are more visible, they actively use social media, and they offer a huge array of specialties and styles to suit every taste. “It’s been a pretty explosive growth to watch over my career. I’m lucky to have worked over the timeline I have, and have grown up in this trade.”
Brown’s mantra as a professional artist clearly reflects his desire to continue to learn, grow, and perfect his craft. “Try harder than you already are,” he says, “Then work even harder.”
For more information about Bold and Bright Tattoos, click here. You can also follow Bold and Bright Tattoos on Instagram @boldandbrighttattoos, where Steve tries to update daily on work done in the shop.