INTERVIEWED BY Lindi Brownell Meiring IMAGES courtesy of Ninjabreadboy
Ahead of the annual South African International Tattoo Convention in Cape Town, to be held from 23 – 25 March 2018, we caught up with local tattoo artist and illustrator Richard Moir, aka Ninjabreadboy, about the hand poking technique, favourite tattoos and what’s next.
When did you realise you wanted to become a tattoo artist?
I’ve always liked line-based illustrations and how lines and dots create texture instead of using colour to define shapes. I first saw tattoos in skateboarding magazines as a kid and that’s the first time I remember appreciating the artwork, along with graffiti and skateboard graphics.
What do you love about tattooing?
I generally have quite a short attention span and get bored quite easily. I used to work as an illustrator in an advertising agency, which had me in front of a computer all day and I’m not really the type of person who deals with that very well. For me, tattooing is a medium that suits my illustration style and visa-versa. It’s also a way of achieving a “final” result in a relatively short time, which I find really satisfying.
For those that don’t know, what is the difference between hand poking and traditional tattoo methods?
In my mind it’s just a different way of doing things. It’s sometimes a bit of a controversial topic and everyone has their own opinion. Basically it’s just that I don’t use a machine and do what the machine does by hand. Everything is done dot-by-dot, which I’ve found can have its own unique outcome if certain things are taken into consideration.
Why did you choose to focus on the hand poke technique?
Initially it was a medium that I was interested in because my illustration style seemed to suit the medium. Later on, the medium started influencing my illustration style and the pieces I started concentrating on and enjoyed doing became more natural imagery that I could create using different textures. Doing this by hand meant there was less “structure”, creating a more natural and less line-based image, if that makes sense.
Do you have a tattoo that you’ve most enjoyed doing? If so, which one and why?
It’s not necessarily a certain design that I like most. There are too many to mention but it’s mostly to do with the experience or the satisfaction that comes with trying something new.
What’s next for you?
Not sure, maybe the Tattoo Convention will instigate something. I work at an amazing shop [Palm Black Tattoo Co.] with some great people so I can’t imagine myself being anywhere else right now, but I would like to do a bit of travelling in the near future and hopefully do some guest spots overseas.
The South African International Tattoo Convention runs from 23 – 25 March 2018 at The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The event will run from 5pm until 10pm on Friday, 11am until 10pm on Saturday and 11am until 9pm on Sunday. For more information and to buy tickets, visit southafricantattooconvention.com.