From Ancient Day to Modern Day: A Brief History of Tattooing & Turning Art Into a Business Without Losing Your Soul
In 1991 German tourists hiking the Otztal Alps on the Austrian-Italian border discovered the remains of a man buried in the ice. This iceman was found perfectly preserved and upon later examination was found to have a total of 61 tattoos on his body! This discovery would date the origin of tattoo to around 3000 BC! With tattoo culture said to be in its renaissance, what amazing stories and mysteries can we hope to unravel in its past?
Join Adam Romano as he takes us into the fascinating history of tattooing.
Following Adam’s presentation we’ll explore the craft of Turning Art Into a Business Without Losing Your Soul. Join tattoo artists and entrepreneurs Taylor Schoenherr of Havasu Tattoo Co, Al Ltyle of Stutter Tattoo, and Adam of Romano’s Custom Tattoo & Art Gallery, as we discuss what it means to be an artist and business owner.
How do artists balance their obsession of creating with the daily tasks of running business? How do you keep inspired when your art becomes a source of income? We’ll dig into that and more during a Q&A discussion.
I got started in the tattoo world 11 years ago in Lake Havasu. Since then I’ve traveled coast to coast working with great artists and honing my skills. I’ve attended over 25 tattoo conventions across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, taking classes, seminars and learning more about my techniques and the history of tattoo. Before moving back to AZ in 2015, I had taken up residencies at tattoo parlors in San Diego, Florida, and Tennessee. I have since won over 17 awards at tattoo conventions across the Southwest including 1st places in realism, large black and grey, portrait and many 2nd and 3rd place awards in realism, black and grey, portrait, color, and leg.
Recently opening up a Romano’s Custom Tattoo & Art Gallery in Lake Havasu, I continue to practice my art in a private studio setting while focusing on providing a high quality tattoo environment for my clientele. I still focus on improving my art as well, as this summer I will be attending the Empire State Tattoo Convention as a member of the Central City Ink Magazine pro team. I continue to promote tattoo history and education as a member of the Bristol Tattoo Club from England. I am very passionate about promoting art education as well, and I hosted/organized the Allied Arts Council’s Fall Artistry Workshop which provided a free art workshop for 70+ local children. I have published an art book though Kingpin Tattoo Supply, and have been featured in multiple art books and tattoo magazines. Art shows are very important to me as well, and have participated in many throughout the U.S. as well as having curated a large show in Florida themed ‘The Show Must Go On’.
I’m Al Lytle, owner of Stutter Tattoo in Lake Havasu City. I grew up in Las Vegas and moved on to Seattle before settling back here in the desert. The shop name started as a word on my portfolio and has evolved as a way to put people at ease with my stutter.
I have no choice but to be an artist. It’s just how I’m wired. I settled into tattooing as it allows me the creativity to keep my sanity with craftsmanship that keeps me level headed. I studied several mediums in school such as painting, sculpture, and print making. In tattooing I’m drawn to the American traditional style. Bold lines and clean tight designs with a timeless look. The opposite of the giant expressive canvases I used to paint. I also really enjoy black work using cross hatching and pointillism. I think I get that from studying printmaking. It also has a timeless look. In tattoo I get away with doing super girly stuff that would be unconvincing, as a male, in other mediums. At the end of the day I’m a street shop tattooer so it’s necessary to be versatile in many styles. It’s a service job after all.
I have been a resident of Lake Havasu for most of my life, but it is also the place where I started my career 6 years ago! Growing up, I’ve always had a fascination with tattooing; it was actually my chosen career when I was still in grade school! Alongside wanting to be an artist, I have always been a huge animal and nature lover, as well as a giant geek when it comes to video games and anime. It only made sense for myself to have a career involving something that I could mix all of my passions into one, and tattooing became just that!
A few things I love about this industry is the ability to have a career that I never really have to look at as a “job,” being surrounded by like-minded people, and having control of the quality I put out. I’ve been able to combine all of my loves for neo-traditional style tattooing as well as a mix of anime/manga/video games, foliage, flowers, and animals to create fully custom pieces for each and every one of my clients. Being that I tattoo in such a specific niche truly gives me the comfort in knowing that both my client and I share such a strong love for the same subject. The positive to sharing this passion is the ability in knowing that I’m going to be putting out my best work possible, all while enjoying the process and company of my clients. For that, I am grateful!
Creative Comrades is a monthly meet up for all entrepreneurs and creative professionals in Lake Havasu.
Thank you to our partners ASU Lake Havasu City, Partnership for Economic Development and College Street Brewhouse & Pub