Mike Valentin from Red Dragon Tattoo

2 Feb

Take a seat and grab yourself a drink because you will enjoy this interview with Mike Valentin.

He currently works at Red Dragon Tattoo Studio 390 East Fordham Rd, Bronx, NY (718) 220-6787 is the shop’s number, and their website is http://www.reddragontat.com but his facebook.com is updated frequently so make sure to add him. They are open Monday through Saturday from 11-9 and on Sundays from 12-7. Walk-ins are always welcome, but appointments are always available.

Mike has been tattooing about 3 years now and he actually started off piercing and managing the shop. He was always surrounded by artists, he became fascinated and never looked back. Once, he realized that he could make people happy with something he created he was hooked. The minute he saw his first tattoo and how happy it made his friend feel Mike stopped wanting to do anything else. He has covered that tattoo with something a little nicer, but the feeling never changed.

He didn’t have traditional apprenticeship by any means, but he wouldn’t change a thing. The guys at the shop that he was working for at the time always saw Mike doodling and sketching and they told Mike that he wasn’t going to pierce anymore and they took him under their wing. Mike learned all that he could from anyone that was willing to help, he got really lucky and had a lot of people that believed in him, and were open books. He owes them everything and loves each of those people for caring about him and his future.

He works at a pretty busy street shop so he does tons of the normal, like names, stars, butterflies, and flash. But lately a lot of people have been looking for him to do color pieces on them. Mike really enjoys doing color, he thinks that is really early to say that he has a crazy style or do this or that awesome. He just wants to make sure that everyone knows that everyone gets the best piece that he can possibly create and if it’s color than that’s cool too. He just wants to do nice work that people can be proud to have on them. But, if he can throw a crazy bright pink in there somewhere than he’s going too.

More recently Mike has been doing more things grounded in traditional. He wants things to hold up well over time and things with outlines and clean bright colors and blends seem to be working for him so he’s going to try sticking to that for now but hey things change too. He always tries to be respectful of what his clients want. They run the show, he will always give his opinion and if something might not work or look to good in the long run then he will tell you but what the customer wants they get. He’s no one to judge their ideas or give them what he wants,they have to wear everyday.

He really loves the look of all the realism that’s going on right now and he wants to be able to work some aspects of that into his tattoos. It’s extremely difficult but anything worth doing isn’t easy. He really doesn’t ever want to stop learning or finding out new techniques, learning can only make you better so he wants to soak up as much knowledge as he can. He’s also been curious about all the new types of tattoo machines neuma, hawk, etc.. everyone he surrounded by works with coils and he would love to try something new but with some helpful eyes around.

He will NOT do that he won’t show on his mom. Like racist and no gang tattoos.

He’s also a big collector he’s been tattooed by a lot of different people, recently he’s gotten work by Christian Perez and Stefano Alcantara of Last Rites. He’s admired tons of artist and try to pick up things from them all but the first names that come up are Jeff Ensminger, Nick Baxter, Russ Abbott, Gunnar, Stefano, Christian Perez. He could fill a page with all of the people that he admires and respect old school and new, but his close friends “The Cholada” are his hugest inspiration. They show Mike something new everyday and pushes him to go for it.

His favorite thing about tattooing is that he can wake and do something that he loves everyday. He can travel, and meet people that he would never thought of encountering (I love traveling with my mom and getting to meet artists and other people at conventions). He learns something new everyday and that’s pretty cool. The least favorite would have to be the people that do what they do and take it for granted. He says that we are definitely not all rock stars and unfortunately some people just play into the stereotype.

His “dream” client would be someone with an idea that’s open to interpretation. He doesn’t like being told to do whatever he wants, he finds it super stressful. He enjoys being given an idea to work with his client to create something pretty amazing. But in all just someone cool that can sit well and take care of that tattoo properly.

He recently took his first art class. He’s not formally trained in art but he tries his hardest and he loves to draw. He’s always open to new forms of art and trying to improve on his own artwork. If it can me him a better artist then he’s with it.

When he’s not tattooing then he says that he’s a big dork. He watches tons of movies and sports center. But he loves being home with his family and his girls, they’re his biggest support and he wants to impress them everyday. He keeps it really low key and relaxed. If he  can do it in sweats or PJ’s then he’s happy.

Make sure to follow Mike on facebook.com and watch him continue doing awesome tattoos.


One Response to “Mike Valentin from Red Dragon Tattoo”

  1. Pete Valentin February 2, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    Impressive, impressive. You’ve come a long way and I can only see the glow in your eyes for your desire, creativity and dedication. With all these tools you have on hand just let it loose and your limits with reach the world as you wish to create a wonderful galaxy of colors, design, shapes and imagination. Good luck…

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