He’s renowned for his hand tattoos. A challenge for some, but for Mark Walker, just part of a normal working day.

(This interview was originally published on Tattoo Energy)

Hi Mark! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Sure, my names Mark Walker, from Liverpool in the northwest of England, currently living and working in beautiful San Diego, California.

Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA
Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA

What brought you from Liverpool to the US?
I met my wife in Liverpool when she was getting tattooed by my friend Anrijs and we hit it off there and then. She moved to Liverpool and lived with me for a couple of years and then we decided to give it a try over here and we moved here in 2018.

So you worked at Bold as Brass in Liverpool. Where are you working now?
Working at an amazing private shop, the Grand Reaper, with some of the best tattooers I’ve ever seen!

Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA
Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA

Let’s talk about your hallmark palm tattoos. How did it all start?
Well, it started as a bit of fun doing friends and video recording how badly they took it, there’s probably still a couple of old YouTube videos floating round of them somewhere. But then people started asking me to do theirs, so I have to resist the urge to laugh these days….

What are the good/bad things related to this artistic choice?
Erm… in England I used to do them every now and then and so, regular tattoos daily, which I enjoyed a bit more. It felt like a treat doing a palm you know? Now it’s just non stop palms because in the US people think that’s all I do. Swings and roundabouts I guess.

Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA
Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA

You do Traditional tattoos and Lettering. Lots of quotes! Do your clients come to you with a specific idea in mind or do you design the tattoos with them, depending on the anatomy of the hand?
Yeah, I more or less just give them what they want. Some I like, some not so much, like any tattoo, but I definitely try and persuade them to simplify it. The simpler the better with the inside of hands.

So what would you suggest to someone who would like one of your tattoos?
Moisturise your hands for a few weeks first, it’ll make it go a lot quicker and heal a lot faster. Most of my customers come in with a realistic idea of what it’s going to feel like so 9 times out of 10 it goes pretty smoothly.

Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA
Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA

Did you start your career doing all kind of tattoos?
Yeah of course. I still do. I don’t have an ego so I’ll still tattoo most things and stay versatile and make the customer happy.

I worked In differet styles a lot more when I lived in the UK but there’s a few larger pieces I’ve started in San Diego. I’m always looking to do more!

What sort of artistic background do you have?
I started working in a street shop in South Liverpool as an apprentice under my friend Jason Steele (RIP) who gave me my first opportunity and really believed in me. Worked there for a few years before moving to an amazing private shop in the city centre called Bold As Brass with my favourite people, Nick Baldwin, Rachel Baldwin and Anrijs Straume. Nick introduced me to a bunch of good people, travelled together a lot and worked conventions etc. Love that guy. Then we moved to San Diego where I met the best bunch of Dudes to work with Bobby, Primm, Justin and Lukas. The rest is history…

Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA
Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA

And your great loves in life?
Drawing, painting and sneakers. Standard tattooer things, I guess.

How do you see yourself in 10 years?
I have no idea, just go with the flow, continue to see some of the world with my wife and tattoo while doing so.

And talking about Mottos: what is your favourite one?
Nothing that wouldn’t sound super cheesy!

Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA
Mark Walker, The Grand Reaper, San Diego, USA
Follow Mark on Instagram: @walkerx