Aaron Breeze Artist Interview
CLEAN LINES, UNIQUE COLORS AND A FRESH TAKE ON TRADITIONAL IMAGERY.
Aaron Breeze is an artist tattooing out of Shrewsbury, UK at Life & Death Tattoo. We've teamed up with Aaron Breeze to produce high quality prints of his original painting "Life & Death". These prints are exclusively available on our online shop. We go over the in's and out's of tattooing, the challenges of creative struggles, early influences and more.
When did your start in tattooing happen and how exactly did that come about?
Breeze: I started June 2014. As I was finishing University, an apprenticeship opened up at the studio I’m currently working at. The timing was perfect - I left uni and walked straight into Life and Death Tattoos.
How does the tattoo scene in Shrewsbury compare to other cities?
Breeze: Yeah pretty well! It’s odd because Shrewsbury is fairly small, well it’s a town, but the studio I work at has been around for a fair few years now and my boss and other coworkers, past and present, have helped build it up. Now, after a few years of tattooing, I’m lucky enough to be doing my own thing here! I still love exploring other scenes through guest spots though and I’m lucky to have worked with some amazing artists at some awesome studios!
How would you personally describe your art style?
Breeze: I’d say fairly simple traditional but with muted colours. I’m lucky because I get to work with colours I love. My favourite colours are the same as my favourite food: curry!
What do you think contributed in your taste of art?
Breeze: I think the classic images of old tattoos when I was younger helped guide me to what I’m doing now. There still is something amazing about the pure crudeness of traditional that I love. I’m building up a bit of a collection of traditional flash books and they feed into my designs a lot. Beyond that, I’ve always been inspired by product and furniture design which was the focus of my degree. On the surface, they don’t appear to tie together, but coming from that drawing background translated to traditional quite well. I think it gets me to look at things from a slightly different angle.
Has working at Life & Death influenced your work in anyway?
Breeze: 100%, I’ve been super lucky to start at a shop like Life and Death. When I first started, both John Lewis and Will Geary taught me to tattoo. It’s been such a useful way to learn - getting to be influenced by people who tattoo in different styles. It’s helped me loads. Still to this day, the shop has such a great variation of artists so still I’m learning something new everyday.
What does your work environment usually look like?
Breeze: Well, I have to work in a room with the boss, John ... no pressure. I like to keep my area tidy - clean space, clean mind. I have lots of photos and flash and stuff but everything has got it’s place. John, on the other hand, has different ideas. His space is an organized mess of knives, viz magazines and serial killer memorabilia. It’s good because it makes my area my look well tidy haha!
What are your favorite subjects to tattoo?
Breeze: Animals have always been a subject that I’m drawn to - they’re such a diverse subject. To be honest though, I’m happy doing anything. Ladies are always fun to draw. And dark stuff, I wish I could do more of that!
How do you usually approach designing a custom piece?
Breeze: If I can get a photo of the space before that always helps. From there, I usually draw a few different rough layouts and then, after deciding on one, I’ll get cracking with that and hopefully it works out well!
In your opinion, what are some of the most important aspects of a solid design/tattoo?
Breeze: For me, it’s time. I usually take quite a long time on designs. First, I’ll draw them the evening before the tattoo in rough and then in the morning line it up; that way I get to look at it with a fresh head. With tattooing for me it’s the line weight and contrast. I try to ignore, to a certain degree, what it looks at the time and focus on how it’s going to look in the future. When I’m thinking forward, it helps me decide what colours sit well together and how I should space things apart.
What is the most challenging thing about drawing, for you? What do you have a hard time with, or feel like you still have a lot to learn about?
Breeze: I’ve still got so much to learn. Sometimes when I’m struggling with something it feels like I’m going backwards haha. But just the mental struggle of drawing can be tough, putting something you’ve worked hard on out there and worrying about what others think. Instagram is the best and the worst for my brain in that way as I’m sure it is for others. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I’d like to learn but I’m always looking to get better or try something new. Like I said, I find learning off the people around me is super helpful and often that way you just absorb things without even realizing.
With so many artists pumping out great work on a constant basis, are there any artists that have been inspiring you lately?
Breeze: Yes! It’s hard to chose because so many people are so good! I’ve always had the same people that inspire me daily like Sam Ricketts, Joel Soos, Joe Ellis and so many more, Recently, it’s been Tobias Debruyn from Belgium - I love that guys work!
Where are some places you find inspiration outside of the tattoo world?
Breeze: Nature is always a good one, even in traditional I find it translates quite well. Just looking at leaves on a tree and seeing how the colours fade can bring inspiration. As I mentioned before, I love product design so I enjoy going to exhibitions and museums. They might not directly inspire my art but sometimes the shapes and colours bring something to the table. And, of course, sitting down to a good curry - it gives me thinking time and the colours make a nice colour pallet haha
As an art professional, what advice could you give to others about the field?
Breeze: I’ve never been called a professional before, that feels weird haha. I would say - don’t have your eyes set on a particular style or goal ... learn as much as you can from as many as you can.
What are your top 3 albums in your rotation?
Breeze: Nas - Illmatic Oasis - (what’s the story), Morning Glory? Plan B - who needs actions when you’ve got words
Are you involved in any other art projects?
Breeze: Not at the moment the project with you guys and George Geary, at work, has been producing T-shirt’s. My girlfriend and I have just brought a new house (and a cat called Dave), so I’ve been doing a ton of DIY and getting back into a bit of designing/making/reclaiming furniture - that’s kinda not the question haha but it’s kinda art.