Tattoo artist, Shawn Farr (The Therapist), of Ink Therapy in Michigan, is the winner of our Monster Steel Peak of the Season contest. A multi-sponsored artist, he made a Facebook video showcasing his new gear. When asked how his new equipment ran he had this to say "I loved it! I love the ease I could change angles with Peak's pen and how light it was. I feel like it's Christmas and it's all definitely gonna get run hard as I have a few conventions lined up with many appointments. I am booked well out in advance with my regulars and plan on using it as my go-to setup".
We had a chance to speak with Shawn, who by the way is an extremely nice guy. Holding down two jobs and a family man, we asked some basic questions to get to know him a little more. We also felt compelled to spread the word about this amazing artist, his work, and what he stands for. A true artist, most of his clientele is repeat business. As all artist know, this speaks volumes about his work. We sat down to chat it up with our Peak of the Season winner, Shawn Farr.
When did you first figure out you loved tattooing and decided to pursue it?
"Well I took a ton of art classes my whole life, I ran with a bad crowd for a while and we, of course, gave each other homemade tattoos. I cleaned up my act, got a real job and started a family. I guess about 6 years ago I picked it back up because I missed it. My day job is in orthopedics, I work for a company that manufactures and sells artificial joints and stuff like that".
Has art always been a part of your life? Who influenced you the most?
"My big brother is an amazing artist, he has won several art competitions, so I always wanted to draw like him and he was the biggest reason I got involved in art, my big brother. He was probably my biggest inspiration as far as art goes".
Do you have a favorite medium?
"I like to draw obviously, I took art classes my whole life in painting, and drawing, but I love tattooing. It's the most challenging form of art because it ages, it moves and I always try and ensure my tattooing holds up. So, tattooing is my favorite medium, due to the challenges".
Are there any type of tattoos you won't do and why not?
"I sort of have a policy against hands (cause they age like crap) or facial tattoos, unless someone already has them. I also have a certain set of rules, here in Michigan with parental consent the age is 16, but for me to tattoo them, the tattoos must be religious or family themed, and able to be hidden like the upper arm, back, shoulder, ankle or I won't do it. But on an area like a forearm? No way. It must be on an area that can be covered".
Past work history. How did you get into tattooing?
"Well, I actually ran with a bad crowd and we made our own machines and did some tattooing. We started out doing homemade tattoos so I guess I am entirely self taught. I picked up a lot from paying close attention and watching other artists. If I ever have downtime, I still watch other artists tattoo who maybe have a tech and anytime I have downtime, I still do watch other artists.
What is your favorite style to tattoo?
"I like florals and most anything big, bright and colorful, also trash Polka because you can do some really wild stuff with it".
If someone came in and said "whatever you want- just have fun with it?" What would you do with that blank canvas?
"Well I have many regulars who say just that and I don't get too much time off as it is. Between family, a day job and tattooing four nights a week as well. My crew of regulars trust me and I often get free rein, so I like big color pieces. Black and gray uses the same gradients but I just prefer to do full color tattoos. I'm comfortable with black and gray, I just like color more as it also encompasses the gradients of gray, just underneath. Currently here at the shop, I am booked through the end of October and I also plan on hitting a few spots on the convention trail this year also".
Where do you see the industry going from here?
"I see the industry growing. While many younger artists have never used coils, I like the natural evolution that we are seeing as far as technology goes. I love the PEAK Kyan pen I won. It is so smooth, soon I bet everything goes wireless. It sure will be interesting, I just love seeing the level of all aspects of tattooing being pushed higher and farther each year. New machines, new styles, new types of products coming out, just makes our life better and raises that bar".
What is your favorite tattoo you've ever done?
"My first portrait piece, I was so nervous and I at and studied it and studied it, then studied it some more. I didn't tell anyone just how nervous as HELL I was but it came out awesome. I had this portrait memorized by the time i did it.
What kinda music gets you pumped to tattoo?
"Aw, man I just like music, it can be rap, R&B, Rock n Roll, depends upon my mood, I listen to basically anything. I just put on my headphones and get lost in my work"
Who are your biggest influences in tattooing?
"My biggest influences are Liz Cooke, Bob Drell, Saga Henderson, Joseph Tattooer, then I met a couple guys at a convention in the Bahamas, these guys Ryan Smith and Jay Freestyle were doing some of the most mind-blowing work".
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
"Well I have a day job in orthopedics and I tattoo 4 nights each week. Probably will still be tattooing. Ideally at the same shop, as they have a fantastic affect the community and do significant charity work. We focus on giving back and I hope I am still tattooing at Ink Therapy in Lansing, MI".
"The machine is awesome, I could not be happier, I wanted that machine, my wife was not going to let me to buy another machine, as I had just bought several machines. So when I got the email, I flipped, I am so stoked with it."
If you want to check out his work, his Instagram is @kidfarr.