What adjectives do you begin with when you are describing the tattoo work of Clark North…beautiful, cultural, soulful? Clark is recognized as one of the finest tattoo artists in the industry. His work speaks volumes about his vision of art. Whether it be with his tattooing or painting Clark’s work transcends the connection of ones soul.
Joey: You had the great privilege to work and learn from some of the best in the industry i.e. Mark Mahoney, Rick Walters, Kari Barba, just to name a few. Besides the tattooing part, what other things did you learn from them?
Clark: hmm, I know several of the good habits I have to this day, are from them. Just a few that I can thank them for…I always wrap my machines and put em to sleep at night and thank them (not out loud lol). I do it every day and i know that is directly from Mark Mahoney, days end, wrap each machine and take it home with you, treat it like the “life saver” that it is!
One of my favorite things I got from Rick Walters is the simple yet profound “know what your doing” before you do it. If you’re going to do Aztec, study aztec and do it the way they drew it. If you’re doing American Indian, study it and do it the way they drew it. If you’re doing traditional Japanese wabori, study it and do it the way they drew it. Egyptian, Haida, etc…Oh and don’t run out of ink, ha! I remember my first day with kari Barba, I was with Rick before I went in & asked him if he had any last minute advice, he said “yeah, don’t run out of ink asshole!”
From Kari Barba I learned a lot about myself, in situations with my personality. like if I’m going to be a dick, they wont want to sit in my chair very often. She is the one that said, “Clark if enough people are calling you a dick, maybe you are.” She put it in such a light hearted and funny way it didn’t hit me till later that night. The next day I asked her if that was what she meant, she just smiled, and I got it! If you chew out a client for something to make yourself feel better, ya wont feel better when they sit in your chair less often right! Oh and “have fun, at the right times” is mostly from Kari Barba too! I remember once when I was working for her, I answered the phone (you’re supposed to answer the shop phone with “Outer Limits” but sometimes we would answer the phone with “Kari Barbas Outer Limits”) but this time I answered the phone with “Kari Barbas Outer Labia” there was a pause and it was Kari. She said “Clark is that you?” I said “shit…yesss”…she laughed (a little) and said…”good one, but don’t do that!” She could laugh with the rest of us instead of throwing an anger fit!
Another thing I got from all three of them is the simple, you are only as good as the people you work with, so I have always been picky on who I have worked with, ethically speaking
From Kent Kelley I’ve learned how keep in touch with current tattooing. Just because styles are new and different doesn’t mean not to learn from younger people. New styles have something helpful in them that can make you a better tattooer! So I have deff learned to keep my eyes open to knew things from Kent.
Joey: Staytrue Tattooo is a private studio where you are concentrating on big Japanese pieces (ukiyo-e influenced). How did you become so influenced in Japanese art?
Clark: This great Las Vegas private studio, Staytrue Tattoo, is owned by Kent Kelly. He’s one of the few people that caught my eye in Vegas with the way he loves doing the wabori (ukiyo-e influenced tattooing). That’s why I am there. I liked Japanese things and art ever since I was in diapers. My dad lived in japan in the 50′s, so in turn, when I was little, we always had to learn to speak Japanese and take off our shoes when we came in the house and lots of other things. He had Japanese things all over the house, and it just was a normal thing, kind of a comfort thing for me I think. Anyways, once I started seeing Japanese heavy coverage tattooing, when I was in my teens, I thought of Japanese tattooing as the final goal. Always thinking, that is the master work of a true, life long, dedicated artist. So, even with out knowing it up front, I think it has been a sub-conscious goal of mine.
Joey: What three words best describe you?
Clark: hmm…”loyal, artistic and homebody”
Joey: It’s midnight and you’re hungry. What Vegas spot are you hitting up?
Clark: haha I know rite! I live in Las Vegas, so of course everyone would think I know all the great spots, but honestly I rarely go to strip, traffic & crowds galore……….Taco Bell!