Steve Butcher: “I Tattoo What I See”

A while ago we interviewed a great tattooist from New Zealand who interprets realistic and turns a lot of heads (you can find the full article on a previous issue of Tattoo Life). Already well-known on social networks and to so many fans of this style, he has travelled the world with works whose realistic subjects are characterized by the power of colour: may we introduce you to Steve Butcher!

Read an abstract of the interview by Margherita Baleni and check out our selection of photos. If you want to meet him in person and get tattooed write an e-mail to:

Your style is completely realistic, right?
I like to tattoo what I see; I’m more like a painter. There are other tattooists like Jack Connolly, for example, who are closer to Surrealism. His work is surrealistic because it makes you look twice and it morphs together and is taken out of reality.

What do you like about using colours? Do you handle them the same way as when you paint on canvas?
I really enjoy using colour because I feel more creative when I use it as compared to black and grey. It’s fun to do a tattoo where I can create something truly unique for my client, and choose what to use to make it better.

Who are your mentors?
When I first started doing relatively decent tattoos about four years ago, I got a job with Matt Jordan who has really helped me improve my style and my career as a tattooist. I also learned a lot from Dean Sacred from Sacred Tattoo in New Zealand. For me he’s like the sage of tattooing. And now that I get around everywhere, I’m learning from everybody I work with, and that’s really rewarding.