Bob Tyrrell doesn’t relish is the past, he is always on the go from convention to convention, then to guest spot after guest spot. You see, the tattoo community loves Bob because tattooers want to be him. Not for his uncanny ability to translate images on skin, but for the positive outlook he brings time and time again. Bob Tyrrell is refreshing, a pose of what we can all use in tattooing. A person so singularly focused on the people he’s surrounded himself with, to give them his positivity and humbleness for a man who can barely walk through a tattoo convention without getting stopped to take a million pictures. Yet he will pause time and again to please his fans and have them leave with a tattoo.
It’s easy to get caught up in tattoo drama, (this tv show, that convention, is that my tattoo?) tattooing is a small world filled with artists and opinions, yet Bob Tyrrell seems to be oblivious to this, focusing on the now, and the person in front of him. I wish I could be more like Bob, I think that’s why I like him so much.
1. Bob. Will you ever go back to playing music?
Tattooing and art take up most of my time, it’s hard to find time to play guitar. But I’ve been trying to play more, I wanna get my 80′s chops back, haha. I’m rusty. I do sit in with a covers band back in Detroit whenever I’m in the D, they play all the time. I can do a full set with them. It’s fun, they do a bunch of 70′s and 80′s covers – Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Bad Company, Metallica. And we have the tattoo band we’re trying to get going, we played a couple conventions. It’s me on guitar, Andy Engel on drums, Tim Boor on bass, and Tony Romel on vocals. Andy’s an amazing drummer, and Tim is a killer bass player! He plays guitar as well. We want to play more tattoo conventions whenever possible. Just cover songs for fun. It’s hard to get together when everyone lives in different places. Especially Andy, who lives in Germany! I was talking to Rick Thorne about getting a metal band together here in LA, I really wanna do that!
2. What’s your travel schedule like, where will people be able to find you?
My travel schedule has been insane for over 13 years. But this year I’m trying to cut back on conventions, and just work in LA and Detroit. I want to spend half the year in Detroit, and half in Cali. I’ve escaped most of the shitty winter in Detroit this year! It’s been horrible. And it’s been an amazing winter here in LA. I fucking love it here. Not just for the weather, most of my best friends live here. It’s tattoo heaven. Black and gray heaven. It’s the tattoo mecca of the world. Detroit will always be my home, but LA is definitely my home away from home. I’ll still be doing a handful of conventions every year as well.
3. Any cool projects in the works?
We’re working on a book, it’s taking forever! But it should be out this September. I just did a drawing of Ronnie James Dio, my favorite metal singer, for a book project. Same publisher who’s doing my book, RS Limited Editions. They do killer limited edition books on bands and musicians, the website is www.rslimitededitons.com if anyone wants to check it out. You can find info on my book there too. I have an instructional DVD coming out soon too, my first ever. TattooNow is doing it. And I have a couple new Sullen shirts coming out this year, and my first print is coming soon. Gonna be a fun year!
4. How do I book an appointment and what kind of tattoos do you do?
The only way to book appointments is on my website, you can go to the appt info and fill out this form. My website is www.bobtyrrell.com. I stick to all black and gray, and either portraits, or any photo realism, and freehand horror imagery – skulls, monsters, etc.
5. What is the hardest song you have ever played on guitar?
Hmmm…maybe the solo on Tornado Of Souls by Megadeth, we played that in a band back in the day.
6. What is the hardest tattoo you’ve ever had to do?
Anything with straight fine lines over fat, flabby cellulite skin! Or over stretch marks. Outlining is the hardest thing for me.
7. Where can we find your website?
8. Any advice for the next generation of tattooers who want to come up in tattooing?
There’s too many people trying to learn how to tattoo these days, the industry is over-saturated for sure. But I always say, there’s always room for dedicated artists who will bring something to the industry. We all learn from each other, and I’m amazed at all the new talent out there. These new tattooers have taken tattooing to a whole new level. It’s inspiring and humbling. It keeps everyone on their toes, and that’s a great thing. We all want to progress. But for someone just starting out, the best advise is to seek out an apprenticeship in a shop with great artists. Start off doing walk-ins, doing anything that comes in the door. You’ll spend 1-3 years getting your chops together, learning all the basics: how to put in a solid outline, how to blend color, how to do smooth black and gray. And after that, if you have a favorite style, and you can stay busy with that style, then stick to that and have fun for the rest of your life!
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Thanks for your time,
The Sullen Family