Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave Regan.
Dave, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am thirty-seven years old and originally from Baltimore, Maryland. I began tattooing shortly out of high school, at a time when it was still largely regarded as taboo. I have been in the business for 19 years this year and have spent the entirety of that working to develop a deeper understanding of both tattooing and the curiosity that it seems capable of fostering endlessly.
My roots were surrounded by shops mostly run by bikers, not always a pleasant environment, but one that was filled with a world I had never seen. I got my start in that sort of place and worked there for roughly three years. I moved on to a busy shop across from a military base, which was an insane environment as well as a short-lived experience. I left the base and went on to shops in the harbor of Baltimore, which is where I really started getting comfortable with tattooing. I remained between Baltimore and the outskirts of DC, splitting my time between shops until moving to Colorado in 2009.
I was offered a position at Bolder Ink where I was truly able to find a very free and nurturing artistic atmosphere and a group of people who have remained important and influential in my life. Missing the city, I left Boulder four years later and briefly went to Denver before packing my things in the car and hitting the road to see where it led. I had taken a very long solo motorcycle trip after leaving Boulder and I wasn’t really ready to settle back into one place. I worked all over the US before leaving for Europe for a few months.
Over the next three years, I worked in about twenty-five different countries and was enjoying the freedom of traveling quite a bit when I was offered a position at Til Death, where I work currently. I have been back in Denver and at the shop for about three and a half years. We have a very comfortable private atmosphere where I am able to focus on bettering my work in the Japanese and Americana styles of tattooing.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Nothing worth doing is ever accomplished with ease and grace, and tattooing, certainly at the point in time I became involved, has always been a challenge. Originally, one challenge was accommodating a large volume of walk-in clientele quickly and efficiently. This was a time when most people were picking flash designs off the wall as opposed to the custom shift of modern tattooing. We had no computers or smartphones whatsoever. We also had days on end of no one walking in the door. Even though the shop I work in now is a far cry from the shop I began in, I still deal with challenging clients. I still have constant scheduling changes due to clients personal and professional lives, and as always, no shows and cancelations which can be very frustrating. That said, the trials I face surrounding work now are a whisper of what they used to be.
Please tell us about Til Death Tattoo.
I have been with Til Death for three and a half years now, and can also be found at my personal business, Tradition Tattooing. While I am very well versed in a large number of styles of tattooing, I specialize in Japanese and Americana. I have found over many years of design and placement challenges, that these styles are not only the most visually striking but also seem to be the most durable in regards to the aging process. I have spent many years continuing to refine my idea of what makes a good tattoo, and I do my best to give my clients just that.
While there are a staggering number of tattooers these days, it becomes a challenge to have your work seen or stand out from the crowd. What I like most about my work, and this pertains more towards the Japanese side of the design process, is that the pieces should fit like clothing and move the way the wearer moves. After many years of struggle, I am at a point where I am pleased with the placement of the design on the client.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I have always spent a lot of time outside, and I think all of my favorite memories involve the woods, the river, forts, the dense humid jungle of Maryland, moss stretched out across sweaty rocks, light cutting through the leaves of the trees above. The town I grew up in is old for the US, and it was always such an adventure finding long forgotten mills and houses scattered around the river that wound around the town.
- Address: 3047 Larimer St.
Suite 201 Denver, CO 80205
- Website: traditiontattooing.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: dutchraven