Kyler Shinn worked alongside reality TV stars at one of Oregon’s most renowned tattoo shops. Now, he is setting up in Albany.
Shinn, a tattoo artist from Springfield, has been working at Area 51 Tattoos for the past ten years. This is the location of the reality TV show “Epic Ink.” Now he’s etching his path — in ink.
Bodacious Tattoos have a riot of colour. X-Men collectibles and Marvel comics are bursting off the shelves, and colourful skateboard decks form a mosaic of cartoons. Many of these characters were drawn by tattoo artist Shinn himself.
Shinn stated, “I love bold lines and vibrant colours.” Shinn is covered in bright colours. Scooby-Doo is there, along with The Little Toaster. His grandmother’s tiny thimble. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And his son’s Spiderman drawing.
Shinn told reporters that tattoos were a way to express oneself.
He has drawn cartoons ever since he could draw, he says. He said some of his teachers had told him they knew he was an artist and saved his classroom work.
Shinn began selling tattoo concept artwork for around $20 and thought becoming a tattooist was out of reach. Oregon is among the few states where you must attend school rather than have a mentorship program.
Shinn had a few other jobs before he got to do what he loved — “drawing on people for fun.”
He also worked in the construction industry and custom car interior detailing. He considered them all to be an art.
“I consider all that I do an art form,” he said.
Shinn received financial support from family members and acquired the skills to work with established tattooists.
He said, “The stars were aligned perfectly for me to push my capabilities,” as he sat at a table he had made himself.
Shinn moved from reading about the big names in the industry to working with them.
Over the past ten years, Shinn has commuted to Springfield Area 51, where the A&E TV show “Epic Ink” is filmed.
He never did it grudgingly, and said goodbye was difficult.
He said, “They are my Family.”
He said he owes his artistic growth to Chris 51 and other artists at the shop. He was willing to accept constructive criticism, and they would work together on their designs.
He was not a cast member, but his artwork and he were featured on the show sometimes.
“Chris joked that I was keeping his shop in order,” said he.
He said that they were all supportive when he informed his colleagues about his departure.
Shinn wanted to own his store because he had lived in Albany. He explained that the timing seemed perfect because he was eager to be nearer to his children.
Both enjoy spending time in tattoo shops, where they pretend to give each other tattoos with Sharpies. He revealed that his daughter also has ambitions to become a tattooist.
Shinn, the sole tattoo artist in his shop, plans to expand to accommodate more walk-ins and to build a team.
Shinn has only one word to describe his current feelings: surreal.
“Thirteen years ago, I had no idea that I would become a tattooist, but I now don’t think I will ever do anything else,” said he.
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