Hi guys I’m Steve Butcher. I’m from Auckland New Zealand currently living in California. I’ve been tattooing for 9 years and I do color realism.
I grew up in a kind of middle-class household we weren’t rich, but we weren’t super poor. My Nana was very into art and was a good drawer while my mom couldn’t draw a stick figure to save herself. She reckons I got most of my artistic talent from my Nana. When I was growing up, I always drew, I can remember being in elementary school doing everyone’s title pages and stuff. I was always the guy who drew.
As I started getting into art. I started flunking school a bit. So, they let me take all three of the art electives even thought that wasn’t allowed. After high school I went straight to college for art. There I studied for 4 years got my bachelors.
In the third year of college my nana passed away. I ended up getting a portrait of her from a friend of mine. It wasn’t very good. It was just the moment you know. It was cool to get something from a friend at the time.
He saw my artwork and suggested I get into tattooing. He was like, “man your fucking good” because he saw one of my paintings. So, I bought my own stuff from the internet and started jamming on my friends at home. For about 6-8 months I just tattooed out for my house on friends. After I graduated, I landed a job at a street shop. I worked there for 2 years and got better at color realism started doing it a little bit more. And then I got a job with Matt Jordan.
Video games. I play basketball all the time. I’ve definitely played countless hours of video games. Like stupid number of hours.
Any Tattoo Regrets?
I don’t know about regrets, but I definitely have some tattoos I wish I would have waited on. Like my forearm I wish I still had that spot. It’s such a good place to get tattooed but of course it’s one of the first spots you get tattooed because it’s less painful and it’s easy to show off.
Would you get Laser Removal done?
I would get it but I’m just a pussy. I hate pain. I hate the pain of getting tattooed and I’ve heard laser removal hurts more than tattooing. I know it’s quick but still. I’ve seen people get it and it healed well but I just don’t like the pain.
How have you built your career?
I built gradually but there were a few things that spiked it. Getting my work on ESPN channel was defiantly crazy. I got so many followers and different clients hitting me up. Before that it was just the tattoo enthusiasts who knew my work.
What would you do if you couldn’t tattoo?
If I had to choose another career it would be fighting or motor sport. I’ve always gotten into fights as a kid. I just like the idea of training. Fighters hit peak in 30s though, I’m too old for that now.
How do you stay fit?
I try my best to train at least a couple of times a week. I do a lot of leg workouts. Legs and core. That’s how you strengthen everything you know.
Introvert or extrovert?
I think I’m a bit of both. Like I’m Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to that shit. I like being around people, but it has to be right type of people. I like meeting new people too, but I have to be in the right head space. But like being in my own space. I like lying in bed watching movies.
How did you choose the colors in your set?
My set was designed for realism artists to do color realism. Especially for those who struggle to get the weird colors in a tattoo right. To get a color portrait right you have to get the color and hue perfect in each spot. It’s difficult with a primary palette to get those complex tones and hues. So, it’s all for that artist who want that weird dirty color like that extra little green in the grey or that perfect champagne.
That said I’ve actually had a lot of traditional artist tell me they like it because it’s good for the background colors. Especially the muted tones.
How do you get detailed sweat?
It’s more or less about contrast. I try to save the skin so you can have really crisp clean whites where the highlights of the sweat are, but you also need darker spots in between. Those spots give you the look of it being wet and amplify the contrast.
What do like spending money on?
Shoes. 100% shoes. More shoes.
I’m trying my best to stay at home and save. I’ve spent so much on flights and accommodations and general travel expenses. You can’t save when you’re doing stuff like that. You have to be frivolous and just kind of work paycheck to paycheck to pay the next trip. Now I’m getting older. I want to settle down. I have nothing planned for retirement I want to work on that. I just want to settle down and start a family shit like that.