Over the past year, Tattoo Fight Club has took over Instagram. Everyone from apprentices to Jeff Gogue are participating, and this is just the start. Tattoo Fight Club goes beyond just an Instagram account. Big things are happening, and they were nice enough to share their big news with us and answer a few questions.
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Tattoo Snob: I think by now, everyone has heard of Tattoo Fight Club but for those who haven’t heard of it, what is it?
Tattoo Fight Club: Tattoo Fight Club is a project focused on co-promoting two artist drawing the same content in regards to subject matter. The idea is to see how differently, or similarly two artists would approach the same topics without interacting past the decision of subject matter.
TS: How exactly did this idea come about?
TFC: TFC actually started as a joke between us (Jonathan and Austin). Both of us have a pretty distinct style in which we usually draw and tattoo. One day Austin sketched up something poking fun at the style I (Jonathan) draws and tagged him in the picture on Instagram. I responded by joking around with the hashtags on the photo and then shortly after received a call to make sure I wasn’t upset about it. Then we just kind of toyed around with the idea of trying to emulate one-another style for a bit which evolved into just drawing the same stuff and seeing how different it would look. once we posted the pictures a couple of our friends had commented on the posts saying they would be interested in doing it with us as well. after each of us did two battles, we wrote up some general rules to text to our friends and it just kind of all blew up from there.
TS: How exactly are the ‘fights’ arranged? Can two people pick a subject, draw the pictures, and then submit them?
TFC: Battles are arranged by the artists who wish to go head to head with each-other. Each artist is responsible for picking one subject matter, and then together deciding the orientation of the piece (for posting reasons). once both artists are done with their half, you put them together and post it on your page making sure to tag the other party involved. One of the main rules is to try and keep it simple. its supposed to be a look into the beginning stages of a tattoo. therefor we aren’t looking for fully rendered pieces. Something with some shading is fine, but generally you should be able to use your drawing as a stencil for a tattoo. It isn’t mandatory to be a tattooer to be involved in the TFC, but that was where it started and that has just been the focused audience. Once battles are completed the artists involved send their submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org including the IG names of both artists, and the subject matter chosen.
TS: Where can people the battles?
TFC: One of the important parts of this project is to be able to promote and show people who may never get to see some more unknown names what they have been missing out on. Using Instagram has been an amazing tool for us as tattooers in the past year and we just wanted to be able to continue using something that is easy and people can already use without having to download a new app. We created a page on facebook that is directly connected to our IG so people who maybe don’t have Instagram can still see, and vote on their favorites. I think we would definitely like to keep TFC connected with Instagram to continue direct links to the artist’s pages, but perhaps in the future we will be able to launch our own site and have interactive voting there. who knows what could happen, it all blew up so fast, we are just trying to stay caught up with it while being full time artists ourselves.
TS: When I last checked, there were over 4,300 pictures tagged with #TattooFightClub on Instagram. I’m sure you haven’t seen all of the pictures, but do you have any personal favorites from the ones you have seen?
TFC: I try to look at the hashtag daily, but obviously its pretty difficult to keep up all the time. There have for sure been a couple that have caught my eye though. there was a battle between @taraquinntattoos and @chongtramontana of a pug and Hannya mask that was so amazing. another battle between @vinnyromanelli and @ericaflannes of Oola (star wars) and roses which was really cool because the styles were so different from one another. virtually anything that @davetattoos, @savageson, or @greenbaybully has been amazing as well. there have just been so many awesome battles that it’s hard to call one my favorite. so many submissions are sent in every day. In the beginning I was posting 4-6 battles a day, but recently I turned it down a notch and started posting three per day to keep from flooding peoples feeds.
TS: I’ve read there’s going to be a Tattoo Fight Club even at Hell City in 2013. Can you tell us more about that?
TFC: We are really excited to be working with Hell City for both of the 2013 shows! The live event will differ from the normal battles and will be more of a battle royal type situation. We are working it out where the public will still be able to vote for their favorite pieces and the winners will receive different types of awards. there will be tables to draw at if artists would like, but the submissions will have a deadline and can be drawn wherever the artist is comfortable.
TS: Will we see more live Tattoo Fight Club events in the future?
TFC: We hope so! I suppose only time will tell, but we have some pretty cool ideas for ways to keep the live events fun for everyone involved. The best part of conventions is the interaction with other artists. I think TFC is a good way to meet more people and get more connections in the industry without the feeling that the connection is contrived.
TS: Tattoo Fight Club is currently holding some auctions for Hurricane Sandy. Can you tell us about that?
TFC: We have a few different charity events happening right now on our Instagram page. We have a Buy-In Battle going currently where each artist who wishes to partake has to send $10 to battle. The only restriction is that the submission must use “New York” as one of the subjects. The top two submissions will receive Tattoo Fight Club shirts. we created a new hashtag of #TFCrelief to use when you post that piece. the hashtags are nice because people can see all of the sumbissions before the deadline (11/7/12). We have also received a pretty large amount of donations of original paintings from artists such as; Dave Tevenal, Josh Payne, Corey Goyette. and prints from so many other amazing artsits. we are posting them on our instagram main page and just having people bid by putting the price they would pay as a comment on the photo. so far we have raised a little over $400 after three days. We checked out a couple of charities helping the cause and decided that The American Red Cross was seemingly the best choice to send all the donations to. We are very excited to see the response from the tattooing community to help out in such a shitty situation like this.
TS: If an artist is interested in donating art to be auctioned off, can they do so?
TFC: We have been getting so many offers to donate that it is actually getting hard to keep up (this is a good problem to have). The best thing to do is post it on your personal IG page and hashtag #tattoofightclub and #TFCrelief also send an email to email@example.com and make sure you title it “art donation” we are trying to post as many of the auctions and prints as we can, but we ask that if you sell one on your personal page to send the money into the TFC paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org) as a gift so there is no waiting period and we will send all the money raised as one lump sum.
TS: Any last words or special thanks?
TFC: We would like to thank Michael Todoran, Tattoo Artist Magazine, Hell City, and Tattoo Snob for helping us push TFC to the level it is at, and to hopefully continue to push forward as something that can continually benefit the tattooing community weather it be charities for injured artists, hurricane relief, or even just showcasing some talented artists to a larger group of appreciators. Mostly though, we would like to thank the followers of @tattoofightclub it has been pretty amazing to watch a funny idea turn into something so huge and positive.