“I love Al, he’s done most of my tattoos. He’s professional and my tattoos always come out great,” my aunt, Christie Steelman told me. She’s gotten 14 of her 15 done by Al from Rockstart Ink.
I got a chance to interview Al from Rockstar Ink. He told me he always watned to be a tattoo artist since he was young. It came natural to him since most of the people in his family are artists of some kind. He loves being creative; his favorite tattoos are the ones that he gets to express his creativity, he told me.
When I asked what it takes to become a tattoo artist, Al told me that in New Jersey, you must apprentice for five thousand hours, which, if you do it full time, takes about 3 years.
“I could probably put golden arches out front and say over a million served,” Al told me when I asked how many tattoos he thinks he’s done. He does about six to ten tattoos a day six days a week and he’s been tattooing for 20 years.
The most interesting tattoo he’s worked on was a man who got a tattoo to spite his soon-to-be ex-wife as they were going through a divorce. His tattoo ended up wrapping around his whole body all the way down to his ankle. Al told me he really enjoyed working with the man and the story behind his tattoo.
He loves tattooing because he doesn’t do the same thing everyday. Even though it’s technically the same thing, no two people come in and get the same tattoo in one day. He also said that people always top the last funny or great story and that always keeps him interested.
“People think they can get a sleeve in three commercial breaks.” He told me that tattoo based reality shows are ruining the industry. He said this is his pet peeve along with people owning shops that don’t know anything about tattooing except “how to take half the money.” Anyone thinks they can be a tattoo artist now, they feel like they can just buy equipment off Ebay and be a tattoo artist, he explained. He feels like this is really hurting the industry, but it’s also making the artists do know what they’re doing better. This brings the qualities of tattoos down and leaves out a lot of information that people should know, he feels.
If he wasn’t a tattoo artist, he told me he’d be a fighter. He enjoys fighting and MMA and he told me it helps him clear his mind.
When asked about the future of Rockstar, Al told me their future is bright. He told he he’s becoming more passionate about fixing the tattoo industry in the area. He wants to inform people in the community about tattooing and to show them that they shouldn’t just get it done in someone’s house or garage.
Want to check him out? They are now located at 175 White Horse Pike in Absecon, New Jersey. You can also call: (609)437-9554 or (609)442-1476, or check out their facebook for sales and deals!