There are only a few blogs we get excited to check out and we are proud to say that Tattoo Snob is definitely one of them. They constantly update the site with amazing photos of some of the best work out there. Their coverage has helped introduce up and coming artists to the public and showcase work that is some next level shiz. The Hope Blog reached out to Kevin and Julene who run Tattoo Snob to ask them what what it takes to manage one of the best websites out there dedicated to tattoo art.
What is the relation between you two?
Kevin: Julene and I have the weirdest relationship in the history of relationships, and we’ve learned that we’re best as friends. It’s more than friends really – I actually think of her as my sister.
Julene: Kevin pretty well summed it up; he’s my best friend with a lot of brotherly tendencies mixed in. There’s a lot of “blood’s thicker than water” when it comes to the two of us.
Why did you start Tattoo Snob?
Kevin: When we initially launched, there were no quality tattoo blogs or websites. Marisa was between Needled and Needles & Sins and Shannon had just left BME. (For the record, I don’t know if I could say BME was ever a quality tattoo website, but it’s always been a source of inspiration for Julene and I.) We launched the site to showcase amazing work from around the world, and give enthusiasts an easy way to see what was going on in the tattoo world.
Julene: I think beyond that, it was important to us that we provide something for all the little guys. The magazine circuit tends to have about 20 artists they feature heavily for a few months; but the turnaround time on print doesn’t compare to that of the internet.
My real concern was: what are you supposed to do as a person living in a small town in say… Oklahoma, when the only artists being featured live in major cities like Los Angeles and New York? Finding good tattooers that were accessible outside of major tattooing hubs was–and still is–a really important factor in starting the site for me.
What do you hope people take away from Tattoo Snob?
Kevin: Hopefully people know they can visit Tattoo Snob and know they’re going to see the best tattoos from a variety of artists, and find out what’s happening in the tattoo world.
Who do you have work by?
Full sleeve by Durb Morrison at Red Tree Tattoo in Columbus, OH
Full sleeve collab by Nate Beavers in Houston, TX and Jeff Gogue at Off the Map Tattoo in Grants Pass, OR
Chest piece by Craig Moore at Mothers Tattoo in Erlanger, KY
Ribs and torso by Russ Abbott at Ink & Dagger Tattoo in Atlanta, GA
Torso by Mike Dorsey in Cincinnati, OH
Knee by Jim Sylvia at Unbreakable Tattoo in Los Angeles, CA
Shin by Steve Martin at Black 13 Tattoo in Nashville, TN
Calf by Myke Chambers at Art Machine Productions in Philadelphia, PA
Calf by Scott Trerrotola at Alchemy Tattoo Arts in Bellmore, NY
Thigh collab by Myke Chambers & Russ Abbott
Calf by Josh Woods at Black 13 Tattoo
Julene: God I hate making these lists. I’m doing this once.
A mermaid, my right knee & some sleeve fixing from Brendan Rowe at Memoir Tattoo in Los Angeles, CA
My ribs were done by Patrick Shackley at Th’Ink Tank in Denver
Gypsy marionette by Mike Moses
Medusa on my forearm Nathan Kostechko
Large (and still unfinished) snake on my thigh and a cutesy Amelia Airhart from Brad Stevens at Adorned in NYC
Jenny Lewis-inspired piece on my calf from Jae Audette
…and there’s other stuff that I forget who did it or where they work, because I’m like that. Sorry!
Who are your favorite tattoo artists?
Kevin: I’m fortunate to have work from a number of my favorite artists, but I still have a few artists on my wish list. I would love to get tattooed by Grime, Jeff Ensminger, Aaron Vedova, Jason Reeder, Stefan Johnson, Steve Byrne, David Glantz, Timmy B, Jeremy Sutton, Kurt Fagerland, Aaron Bell, and Eric ‘Eno’ Kuiken. Those are just the artists off the top of my head – I know I’m forgetting people.
Julene: I’m going to take this chance to list only folks that Kevin hasn’t already, because variety is the spice of life! Jakub Settgast, Sean Herman, Jef Kopp, Curtis Burgess, Kid Kros, Russ Abbott (okay, one repeat – sorry, he kills it at everything forever), Big Sleeps, Thomas Asher, Maxime Buchi, Peter Lagergren, Jee Sayalero… I’m leaving people out and I’m going to remember them the minute you post the list, of course.
Are you into to other forms of art?
Kevin: I have an appreciation for photography, graffiti, and digital media. Photography has been in my families blood for generations, and while I’m not an avid photographer, I know my way around a camera. In regards to graffiti and digital media, I just admire and appreciate. I don’t need to embarrass myself that much.
Julene: I’m really into typography, honestly. However I have zero artistic talent, so I’m better off curating than participating, generally.
What is the most impressive submissions you’ve seen?
Kevin: The most impressive submissions to me have been the guest blogs (Ian White, Myke Chambers, Tim Pangburn, Jeremy Miller, Joe Capobianco, Shawn Hebrank, etc.) When we first started doing them, no other website or blog really featured the artists like we did. I know magazines have been doing this for years, but it seems like the magazines wanted to save those for print since that’s where they make all of their money. The fact we could have an opinion piece online less than a week after an event happened was amazing.
Which artists have impressed you recently? Like artists that you didn’t know of before….
Kevin: We’re always learning of new artists from across the world, and that’s really the best thing about running a blog like this. Hearing stories of people getting tattooed by an artists then found via Tattoo Snob is the best thing ever.
Here’s my favorite: we featured Stefan Johnson on the website last year. I had never heard of him before, and I was obviously blown away. About a week after posting his work, Jeff Ensminger e-mailed us, and said he was in California when he saw Stefan’s work on our site. He stopped by the shop, and ended up getting tattooed by Stefan. He submitted pictures of the tattoo, and thanked us.
Do you have any criteria for submissions?
Kevin: Obviously a quality tattoo, but we’re also fairly picky about quality photography. It’s a tragedy when an artists does a great tattoo and takes a shitty picture.
Julene: A large, clear photo taken in good natural lighting can never do anyone wrong. And for the love of [whatever power you'll listen to], no more Instagram filters!
Do you have any horror stories of really bad submissions?
Kevin: When we launched the website, Julene and I agreed to never let the bad submissions surface. We don’t want anyone to worry about their work being mocked or they would be humiliated via Tattoo Snob.
We received a lot of bad work when we first launched. Since then, I think we’ve made our standards known and people don’t waste their time.
Julene: Every once and a while we’ll get CC’d on an email with a couple other tattoo publications… sometimes it’s funnier to see the full list of who people are emailing their work to than the work itself.
What are your hopes for the future of Tattoo Snob?
Kevin: Over the past year we’ve had a number of crazy ideas thrown at us. People have proposed that we launch clothing lines, a tattoo convention, store fronts, and even a television show. It’s hard to figure out whom is trying to legitimately help the tattoo community out and who just wants to cash in. To be honest, I don’t think Julene and I are interested in doing anything more than a blog right now. We might have fun with a t-shirt or two, but as of right now – Tattoo Snob is going to be what we’ve always been: the best goddamn tattoo blog on the internet.
Julene: I’d like to keep doing what we do, and doing it well. It’d be cool if we were able to fund some of the cooler ideas we have, but Kevin & I both work full-time at normal day gigs. I’m more interested in making sure we’re putting out quality content than exerting a lot of energy on t-shirts. (Though don’t get me wrong… that’d be cool, too.)
What are other sites that you would recommend to the tattoo community?
Kevin: Since we’ve launched there have been a number of tattoo websites pop up, and I know this sounds conceited but I honestly don’t look at any of them on a regular basis.
Julene: I have to go with Kevin on this… it’s not because I don’t enjoy these other sites, but after working on the website so much, I’m tired of looking at tattoos and tattoo related content.
Anything else you would like to add?
Kevin: I just want to thank everyone for their support. Thank you to everyone who visits Tattoo Snob, submits pictures, follows us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The support we’ve received has been overwhelming, and it means the world to us.
Julene: Yeah, what he said. But with more girly enthusiasm.