Ryan Reynolds, 28, of Elkhart, has been a tattoo artist for 5½ years. He works at Witchhammer Tattoo, located at 26084 C.R. 6 in Elkhart. The shop can be reached at 574-226-0357 and is open seven days a week: Sundays through Thursdays from 3 to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 3 to 10 p.m.
Q: Why did you want to become a tattoo artist?
A: There was a shop in my hometown, Edwardsburg, and I always used to go in there and bug those guys, hangout with them. I just really liked the environment and the atmosphere. I’ve always been into art, so I didn’t want to paint for a living, I wanted to something more permanent and just get better at it. So what better thing to do than to put things on people’s skin. The shop in my hometown really got me into it.
Q: Do you have any sort of formal training or are you more self-taught?
A: A little bit self-taught, a lot of watching. The older guys in the shop and stuff (helped me), but a lot of it was self-taught. I still to this day do pick stuff up from people I work with. We all bounce ideas and we all pick things up from each other. If I have a day off, I’ll go into a shop and just check out what other people are doing, and maybe I’ll pick up some tricks, maybe I won’t. Maybe we’ll just converse about art techniques.
Q: Do you have any specialty areas in your work?
A: New-school, black and gray, color bomb. A lot of solid color saturation, we call it color-bombing. I’m not into one thing, I love to do color more than anything. A lot of my paintings and drawings are color, but I’ve been getting more into black and gray lately, just trying to broaden my horizons and the skill level I’m at. I just started painting portraits. I’m getting more into realism now. I just want to have more notches on my belt.
Q: What is the most unique or memorable tattoo you’ve ever done?
A: They’re all unique in their own way. They’re all custom drawn to fit the person individually. The most memorable one though, this guy came in, he had a little pink spot, like how when a scab falls off, it’s a little pink. This guy had a little spot like that and wanted it put on his other hand. I mixed up some colors and as I was doing the tattoo — it only took a minute — I asked him why he wanted it. He said it was the spot where his wife last clenched when she passed away. It gives me chills.