About Levi Hilton
Q & A Session W/ Admin
How Long Have you been tattooing?
How did you get your start in tattooing?
I just wanted to do something I enjoyed. I always wanted to have tattoos, so after I got my first tattoo, the day I turned 18, I just thought, "man, I could do that". I thought it would be an enjoyable job. I've learned a lot about art, but it's been a lot harder than I thought it would be.
Have you always been interested in art?
I drew a lot in Jr. High because I hated school. Haha... I was just filling time. I was drawing Dragon Ball Z characters and a lot of naked ladies. Puberty.
Is that any different than what you draw now?
Quality wise, I'd like to think so... haha - I really like the forms of things. I like to try to put animals or girls in really twisty, dynamic positions. Learning how form works and then really pushing it.
What is your style of tattooing?
Illustrative Tattoos. Anything from more realistic style comic art to very cartoony images. I draw it and then I try to apply a more realistic approach to lighting and color theory.
What are your favorite styles of tattoos outside of your own?
Japanese is the best. I think any competent tattooer takes a lot from the things that the Japanese figured out over the centuries. How to approach large scale tattooing, form and structure. My favorite tattooers have much more of an illustrative style, but the influence of Japanese layout is an obvious undertone.
Who are some of your favorite artists or tattooers?
Favorite Tattooers: Curtis Burgess, Tim Biedron, James Tex, Steve Moore, Victor Chil, and Timmy B.
Favorite Artists: Bruce Timm, Dean Yeagle, Scott Robertson, Todd Whie, Greg Simkins.
Is there anyone who has really influenced your career and how so?
Adam Hathorn, I'd say. He goes by Honkey Kong, but he said some really supportive things when I was a younger tattooer, that he'd probably never think would have been so helpful. He also helped me get a job at Guru Tattoo in San Diego. Even though I didn't stay there for long, it was my dream job at one point and it was good to get the opportunity.
Eric Guidry and Joseph Pineda have also been huge influences in my career because they're my best friends. They have both helped me learn so much - Technically and artistically. I wouldn't be the tattooer I am today without them.
Earlier you mentioned that tattooing has been a lot harder than you thought it would be. What's been the toughest part about tattooing?
For me, it's probably knowing there is always room for improvement. Something could always be better in some way or another from drawing, to composition, to line quality...color choices, saturation, texture, smoothness. And each of them can always be improved. It can be tough. Technically, it's very challenging too.
Okay, okay - enough of serious stuff.... What's your favorite word?
Haha - "Goddamnit" - Because I'm always frustrated.
Batman. Because his resolve is his power. He's determined and only cares about true justice. No selfish motive to an extent.
One word to describe yourself?
I have to say that's impossible. If I could please use two, I'd say "hilariously negative."
And finally.... Any words of advice to any starting artists or tattooers?
Draw. Try not to be too hard on yourself or that'll become habit. Study. Read. It's only up to you. No one is gonna hold your hand and make you good. Start good habits young. They'll always stay with you.