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Life & Work with Abe Denton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Abe Denton.

Hi Abe, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I have been doing various forms of art since I was very young. I used to doodle in all my notebooks in class and draw whenever I had free time. When I got to high school, I started to take my art more seriously and ended up taking five art classes there. Being able to really pursue my art, I excelled quickly, moving up to the highest level work stations in my first two semesters. During my senior year, I entered a self-portrait in the state fair and placed 2nd. I loved creating and it wasn’t just painting, anything that I could do with my hands I loved. I stayed up till the early hours of the morning after working late to do woodworking projects. I picked up leather-working and made a line of leather products that I sold for a while; anything to let my creative juices flow. When I went to college, I entered a time of creative drought as I didn’t have time or space to pursue my art in the midst of a busy schedule. During that first year was when I got my first tattoo with my brother. Another year later and I was back for my second and third. That spring of my sophomore year, I studied abroad in South Africa and got another tattoo there.

During this time across the world, I was continually getting encouraged by my brother to start tattooing. For a long time, I ignored it because I had no idea where to start and I always thought there was some super complex process to get into tattooing. After months of my brother bugging me, I finally pulled the trigger on some equipment with the mindset that the worst thing that could happen was that id just tattoo myself to repay me for the investment. I practiced on fruit and fake skin for a while, with lots of help from YouTube and a bunch of research. Eventually, I worked up the courage to tattoo myself. There were plenty of things I realized I had to learn and I knew I had a long way to go but I had hope. My brother let me tattoo him and eventually, people at my school started to trust me. It sort of grew from there, all my growth has been through word of mouth, and I’ve had such amazing opportunities along the way. Still never thought id be able to be doing this full time but I guess my high school superlative was right: most likely to be an artist.

Alright, 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?
Definitely not! There’s obviously a lot to learn in any new job but teaching myself all of the intricate details of being a tattooer and running my own business has been such a crazy hard but very rewarding process. Being a one man show has probably brought me the most challenges because I don’t just have to tattoo and call it a day. I have to run my business and keep track of all my financials and make sure I’m engaging with Instagram and responding to DMs and designing artwork and keeping up on supplies and inventory… it’s a lot. It all comes in time and I’ve had to learn to be patient with myself and know that I’ll figure it all out as I go.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I like to describe myself as a mostly thin line blackwork tattoo artist but I have a tendency to jump all over the map. I specialize in fine lines, florals/ nature, script, and a lot of people know me for my butterflies. I have been getting more into pointillism and whip-shaded realism recently and I’m in love with that style. Although I am very proud of a lot of my work, I have thoroughly surprised myself with some of my more recent realism pieces. I have also begun work on developing a super cool halftone shading style that I’m hoping will become one of the things I’m known for. I think I stand out from other artists with my ability to tattoo a bunch of different styles. My career has been a lot of taking anything I can get to get as much practice as possible and that’s allowed me to master a ton of different aspects of tattooing.

What does success mean to you?
This is a tough question for me because I have struggled a lot with what personal success looks like in the past few years. It’s difficult for me not to compare myself to more successful artists and wonder why I’m not at the level I feel I should be. When I take a step back and realize that only a few years ago, if you told me I would be doing what I love full time as an artist/ business owner, there’s no way id believe you. When I think about younger me, I know he would be proud or even jealous of where I am and what I’ve been able to accomplish, and that is success to me.

Pricing:

  • *in most cases* I charge $150/hr and I have a $75 minimum but feel free to DM me to get a quote!

Contact Info:

***I prefer DMs over email

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