I met Paul some years ago at the London Tattoo Convention and I got the fortunate chance of being tattooed by him. I always loved his reinterpretation of the american traditional style: smooth, respectful and extremely meaningful… But that time I couldn’t talk to him long, so this interview is an opportunity to get to know him better and find out more about the man, behind the beautiful work. I am pleased to introduce to our readers Mr. Paul Anthony Dobleman: tattoo artist at the Spider Murphy’s Tattoo, in San Rafael – California.
Hi Paul, would you like to introduce yourself to our readers? Can you tell us something about Paul Anthony Dobleman?
I was born in San Francisco in 1980, I grew up loving to draw, and continued to do it my whole life which led me into tattooing. I Tattoo at Spider Murphy’s Tattoo in California.
Is it true that tattoo saved your life? How was Paul before he learned to tattoo?
Tattooing did save my life, I was young, wild, self destructive, broke, and needed some direction.
I always loved having a good time, but I needed something that was bigger than myself, something to strive for. Tattooing ended up being the answer.
What were the steps that brought a young guy to San Francisco to become a tattooist in one of the greatest shops in the world?
I was born in San Francisco so I always had a lot of love for the Bay Area, where I also grew up. I had moved to San Diego when I was 20. I started tattooing some years later and always was excited about tattoos coming out of the Bay Area/San Francisco. I had the intention of always moving back, I just needed more experience. I had high hopes to work in a place where I could continue to learn. It was great timing when I moved back, someone had just left Spider Murphy’s, and Theo Mindell, the owner, saw something in me.
Who were your mentors and who would your reference points be in tattoo today?
My biggest mentors have been my Father, Mikey Slater, Theo Mindell and Scott Sylvia. They were the ones who taught me the most about art and tattooing. I also look to old flash and really appreciate the tattooers that came before me.
Is there any particular teaching you bear in mind when you’re working?
Always do your best. Your best will depend on the situation but it’s a good thing to strive for.
Your style is increasingly distinctive, a hallmark all your own. What are the main features of your tattoos and the essential rules in your opinion for doing a piece well?
The main features of my tattooing come from imagery I relate to and feel something for. If you care about it, it will always come out better.
What are your favourite subjects, the ones you never get tired of doing?
My favorite subjects are women, roses, eagles, and skulls. Tough and beautiful.
Do you reckon your style will change or evolve in the future?
I hope I will always continue to grow, but maintain the classic feel to what I do.
What is your relationship with your clients like? Who asks for you and what do they ask for most?
I have a great relationship with my customers, I am very lucky. Most people that come through the door are people that have similar interests and people I would hang out with.
What are you really into outside of tattoo and what do you get up to in your free time?
I love painting tattoo flash, partying with friends, hanging with my girlfriend, music, riding my motorcycle, traveling and the beach, I’ll never get sick of looking at the ocean.
Are you a real music lover? What song or album means the most to you?
I do love music, some of my favorite songs are “midnight rider” by the Allman Brothers, “house of the rising sun” by the Animals “not any more” by the Dead Boys. I like all different kinds of music, life without it would be boring.
What plans have you got for the future? Where will you be and what will you be doing ten years from now?
I have lots of plans for the future. It’s going to be exciting. I’ll be traveling, working on new flash, we also have the 25 year anniversary of the shop to look forward to, and in 10 years I hope to be feeling the same way about tattooing as I do now. I want to still be pushing forward. Thanks for everything!