Sam Clark Tattoos: On the Other Side of the River

The keywords to describe Sam Clark’s tattoos are imagination (to create something unique for each client) and colour (to mold shapes and give a personal touch to the subjects). These are only two things, among others, that we discussed with him a while ago.

Let’s get to know this extraordinary tattoo artist, who picks up all of his clients by boat and take them across the river to his studio, in the beachside town of Noosa (Queensland, Australia)…

Read an abstract from the interview by Margherita B on Tattoo Life Magazine and take a look at his beautiful tattoos!

How would you describe your style, Sam?
I’m a huge fan of color, I feel like it really defines my tattoos. That’s a hard question to answer, regarding style… I would say I use a mix of styles. A little bit of neo-traditional, a little bit of illustration, and sometimes I might throw a tiny bit of realism in there when blending the colors.

You use a very specific palette of colors for your tattoos. Which ones are your favorites?
Yeah, I have a regular color palette that I like to use but I also like to experiment with new ones. I use Starbrite colors, and my favorites are the opaque greys, battle ship grey and shadow grey, vintage brown, buckskin tan, yellow ochre, salmon sushi, lippy tone, peachy flesh, light flesh tone, teal, light red – and the list could go on. I really like the way they heal in the skin, and Starbrite has been around for such a long time now and has perfected a lot of their products. The colors in nature really inspire me. When I need to find a new idea for a different palette, I look through landscape or animal photography, or I go for an adventure into the bush with Polly and get inspired by Mother Nature.

It seems that your tattoos are created by a very specific study of colors. They build shadows and shapes, and they create the tridimensional aspect of the figures. Would you agree?
Yes. Generally I like to use cooler colors in the shadow areas and warmer colors where the light source areas are, and I try to incorporate the use of my clients’ natural skin tone. I’ve found that by utilizing the client’s skin tone and contrasting the colors well, the tattoo will age very well over time. That’s also why I like to use a lot of shapes when I color. I really admire how traditional artists saturate color; this has inspired me to have some areas in my tattoos where I pack color in specific shapes and contours to define the colored areas. This helps them look solid over time.

Why did you choose to work in a private studio?
My wife Polly and I wanted to create something unique for my clients, somewhere relaxing and peaceful to get tattooed. We provide quite a strange experience actually. I pick up all of my clients by boat and take them across the river to our studio. My clients have the option of watching a movie or a documentary (David Attenborough is a favorite), listening to music, or having a chat with me. I find that when my clients are relaxed and comfortable they seem to sit so much better and longer. I also don’t have a shop phone, so there are usually no distractions while I’m tattooing. I can concentrate completely on my work.

What are your favorite things to do when you aren’t tattooing?
My wife and I love to be in and around nature, by the beach, surfing, bushwalking, off-road driving and camping. We just bought our house last year so I’ve been spending a bit of time landscaping and gardening. And since we live next to the Noosa river we spend a lot of time in our boat or paddle-boarding up and down the river for exercise.

To discover more about Sam Clark’s world of art follow him on Instagram: @Sam Clark Tattoos