Chris 51 is the creator of A&E’s Epic Ink. Epic Ink centers around nerdy, geeky pop culture tattoos. We are happy to have this opportunity to ask him a few questions.
Yodasnews: How did you get involved in starting a tattoo tv show?
Chris: Well, I simply got motivated because I disliked what I was seeing on tv, and how tattoo artists were being portrayed. I can’t speak for all tattooers out there, but I know for certain that all of my artist friends and myself are not these macho fighting brutes. Let’s just say I saw a vision of turning Mos Eisley spaceport in to an Ewok village haha.
YN: Where did you get the concept for Epic ink?
C: I wanted to do something that was positive, drama free and funny. I had an idea I was working on for a while and a production company had a similar idea, when we got together it was fate, the force was strong with us. I then assembled a dream team of my best friends in the industry, told them my idea, and asked them to join me. I couldn’t do it myself. It was the perfect puzzle of personalities. I knew they were hard-working, intelligent and would make the sacrifice to get this project done the right way, not to mention the very best pop-culture artists I had ever seen in my life! We were already best of friends before this endeavor, but now we are family. I love each and every one of them.
YN: When did you start your career as a tattoo artist?
C: I started many many parsecs ago…or about 11 years on the earth calendar
YN: What is your favorite part of being a tattoo artist?
C: Not having to be a plumber or carpenter like I use to lol. For reals though, any artist will tell you that if they can make a living and support their family by doing what they love, then your job is not a job, it’s a passion and way of life. I am truly blessed to be able to do what I was put on earth to do. Plus, I am my own boss. I can’t and won’t take orders from anybody, I am too much of an alpha-geek control freak.
YN: What is the best moment of your career so far?
C: It hasn’t happened yet. I am always striving to better myself and conquer the business world. If I settle on a defining moment, that will define me, and I will have no more room to grow as a man and businessman. I will reflect on it all when I retire.
YN: What is most challenging about what you do?
C: Sleep deprivation. Seriously, my brain never shuts off. It’s always thinking of what business to pursue next, how to do the next tattoo differently than I’ve done before, what promotional items do I need, what conventions do I need to hit up, it goes on and on. Honestly what relaxes me most is putting in Star Wars, it’s the only escape for me that will engulf my mind so completely that I have no choice but to succumb to its force.
YN: What is on the horizon for you?
C: More than Sarlac’s pit can digest lol. Hopefully season two of Epic Ink firstly (so please tune in haha). I just started a new art supply company called Art 51 which caters to TODAYS artists; supplies for graffiti art, screen printers, air brushes, tattooers, etc. I am in talks with a couple toy companies. I am close to releasing my third book, this time a children’s book. I am working on a clothing line called Math & Science with my cousin/cast mate Jeff Wortham. I am going to ad a toy and collectible store inside my shop, Area 51 Tattoo. Teaching more business and motivational seminars. Attending many comic cons! And lastly, the Never-ending quest for the ultimate action figure collection
YN: What advice can you offer someone going into the field?
C: If you can’t out-talent them, out-work them. That has always been my motto. I have never claimed to have the most talent, but will always work harder than the competition, which really makes for no competition when it comes down to that philosophy. Work your ass off and build your own dynasty, never rely on others to get you ahead. Hit the streets, hand out coupons and flyers, grab a broom; never be too proud to sweat and do the hard work. That goes for any field.
YN: How would you describe your “art” in one word?
YN: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Of course, we need to know what is your favorite Star Wars movie?
C: Empire Strikes Back, but with a couple asterisks.
*Mos Eisley Cantina scene from Star Wars was groundbreaking for science fiction. Never has such a collection of aliens, scum and villainy been assembled in one scene of one movie prior.
*Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi was by far the coolest place in the entire saga.
*Slave Leia in gold bikini…all that needs to be said on that.
Don’t forget to watch Epic Ink on Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30c on A&E!