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The Art of the Tattoo: Todd Woodz

The Art of the Tattoo: Todd Woodz

Todd Woodz

Todd Woodz of the Magic Cobra Tattoo Society in Brooklyn, N.Y., has been in the business for six years.

Read up on his style and inspiration, then have a look at some of his favorite work below.

How did you get your start?
A friend of a friend who was a tattooer saw my drawings and paintings, and he suggested I try my hand at tattooing. He pointed me in the right direction as far as tools and technique, and after a couple of years of fumbling around, I finally got the hang of it and got myself into a shop. I wish I had a formal apprenticeship. It would have saved me a lot of time and frustration. I never saw myself as a tattooer, but I've always been an artist at heart.

What's your tattoo style of choice and why?
Neo-traditional. I just really love bold colors, heavy shading and solid lines — the fundamentals of traditional tattooing mixed with a new take on content and composition.

What do you think makes tattoos special?
I just think they're a great way to express your individuality and distinguish yourself from others in a more permanent way. I think everyone wants to be at least a bit different from everyone else around them, and tattoos enable that.

Tattoos seem so mainstream now. Is that good or bad?
I think it's a great thing. Obviously, the more people getting tattooed helps the business. And I feel that generally, people are becoming more informed about the craft, so you find more people doing their research to find a quality tattooer. You're always going to have people who think they can just pick up a machine and start tattooing overnight because they see it on TV, but those people typically don't last. I think if you take this art seriously and work hard, the mainstream appeal is completely beneficial.

Do you see a current trend in the industry?
Trends go in cycles. But generally, traditional tattoos are always popular. There are so many great tattooers pushing the envelope and doing new things. I see so many different styles. It's really expanded past just traditional tattooing, but that's a style that will always last, in my opinion.

Do you have any funny tattoo stories?
I look back at the tattoos I gave myself as a teenager and laugh every time I see them. They're very funny.

Which piece of work has been your favorite?
I did a sleeve of the Sagrada Familia, a famous cathedral in Barcelona designed by Guadi. I was lucky enough to travel there and take all of the reference pictures myself a few weeks before tattooing it. It was just a really fun and challenging piece that I think came out great.

What inspires you?
Inspiration comes from all around me. Everything I see throughout the day, the people I meet, and the artists I admire all inspire me. It's really everywhere.

Do you have a message for aspiring artists?
Nose to the grindstone. If you want it bad enough, it's yours to have. I also think you have to be critical of yourself. If you think you're the best, you might want to think again.

Have a look at some of Todd's best work below.

(Todd Woodz)
Psychedelic
(Todd Woodz)
Dragon
(Todd Woodz)
Radio Tower
(Todd Woodz)
Jimi Hendrix
(Todd Woodz)
Sagrada Familia
(Todd Woodz)
Yolandi Visser
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