20 questions is a fun short interview with our artists, this week we grill Craigy Lee.
Craigy opened Union tattoo in 2015 with his wife India. After travelling and tattooing all over the world he wanted to open a studio that incorporated the best elements of every studio he had worked in. The studio has grown immensely over the past few years, and Craigy is still at the shop week in week out. So here is 20 questions with Craigy Lee
1. How Long have you been tattooing?
The end of this year will be 12 years.
2. How old were you when you got your first tattoo?
I was 17.
3. Where did you get it?
I got it at a Harley Davidson bike rally in Bournemouth, England, It was a tribal tattoo on my calf which has now been covered up. It wasn’t cool tribal it was just black spikey tribal as was popular at that time.
4. What’s your favourite style to tattoo?
Anything that challenges me really. I love to tattoo black illustrative designs, but I also still love doing american traditional tattoos.
5. Who are your favourite tattoo artists?
When I first started tattooing I loved Tony ciavarro and Angelique Houtcamp, I managed to get a tattoo by Angelique when i was in Amsterdam a few years ago and it was an awesome experience, she was just as lovely in person as i had hoped. I also love Chris Lennox from Ausralia, he’s a good friend of mine, really down to earth but so inspiring, just a person consumed by creativity. Also two artists that i worked with and gave me inspiration and drive when i really needed it in that point of my career, Kel Violet and Richard Warnock.
6. Who are your favourite artists?
I have lots of of favourites, in terms of classic masters, Egon Schiele and Salvidor Dali are up there. Lowbrow artist Mark Ryden and Sylvia Ji. Other artists that are a bit less traditional that i love are Steve dillon who did the artwork on the Preacher Comic books, Alan Lee who did the fairies book and Ralph Mcquarrie who did the concept art for the star wars movies.
7. What’s your favourite thing about working at Union?
The best thing in the shop is the electronic pencil sharpener. ha ha ha no seriously It has to be the people I work with, and our fabulous customers and their awesome ideas for tattoos. You can build a business, you can work hard, you can make the coolest space in the world, but its the people that work there that bring the shop to life. They also put up with me every day!
8. What’s the most common question you get asked everyday?
“I bet you use a lot of cling wrap”
9. Who do you look up to?
All the people putting others before themselves. My wife India who looks after our daughter Lola every day.
10.How do you stay inspired?
This is something I constantly struggle with, working a job where I have to be creative everyday has enormous highs and really crushing downs. I think working guestspots are important, getting out of your normal working environment. I recently talked about this subject with Josh up at Two hands in Auckland, he told me the key was to go away somewhere once a month, just for a day or a night, just somewhere different. so I am going to try this approach.
11.What’s your favourite brunch spot in wellington?
Hands down it has to be Prefab
12. What are your favourite things to do on a day off?
Well that depends on the weather, but almost always spending time with the family. If its hot the beach or a walk, if its wet or cold a museum or a basketball game at the Tsb arena.
13. What’s you favourite movie?
Everyone that knows me knows I’m a massive movie nerd, I have a huge collection of movies and a pretty serious home cinema set up. Its hard to pick one film. But if I had to pick just one I could watch over and over again it would be Back to the future. It’s timeless, it’s classic, it’s aged well, it’s funny, it’s romantic, it’s cool, it’s multi generational, its just a great movie.
14. Favourite book?
The odyssey by homer.
15. Favourite Album?
Bleed American by Jimmy eat world. I can listen to that album from start to finish and not skip a single song. It transports me to a time when music was exciting, before the internet, back to when i was a teenager going to see bands play in london, going to festivals and living in the moment, eating cheeseburgers at burger king in waterloo station at 2am having missed ur train without and care in the world.
16. Pineapple on or off pizza?
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to pizza, no pineapple.
17. Are you a cat or dog person?
Cat’s because they just do their own thing.
18.Long black or flat white?
Usually tea, but if I’m out always a flat white.
19. Indian curry or thai curry?
Being english it has to be indian curry, its pretty much our national dish.
20. What would your last meal be if you were on death row?
Grilled prawns with garlic for starters, then medium rare scotch fillet steak, with potato gratin, and garlic green beans, washed down with an oaky red wine. Then creme brûlée.