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Book Recommendation to Enhance Your Tattoo Art by Brainy Artist: Mark Wade

Tattoo artist and FK Irons Pro Team member, Mark Wade is based in Austin, Texas. We invited him down to the FK Irons headquarters in Miami to work his magic. Get Mark Wade's expert tattoo tips here.

If you’ve seen any of Mark Wade's previous interviews, it'll stand out to you that he often quotes historical figures. A sign of a person who reads, we asked the brainy tattoo artist about his interests and ... what he recommends to artists to enhance their tattooing!


Q: Do you like to read?

Mark Wade: I like to read, I probably don’t read as much as I should. I really enjoy any kind of psychology. Lately I’ve been reading about MAC V SOG, the special ops forces that went into Vietnam and had to fight in Laos and Cambodia and just, like, the sheer numbers and things they had to endure.

To think that there’s people that can do that is insane to me. I’m talking about a team of eight guys going up against a division of 10,000. Stupid numbers they had to fight.

I enjoy seeing, reading about … I guess people that do astonishing things. Yeah.

And then there’s stuff like that that you remember and they’re going to say things that are so empowering and so deep that you can dig into it forever.


Q: What book would you recommend to tattoo artists that will help them with their art?

MW: Carl Jung’s “The Red Book.” The journey through this book is just him, diving into the subconscious and what he was seeing, like for example, if you’re in a dream and you were to try to look at all of the imagery that you see there.

It’s the same with mythology you can pull that apart for ever, there’s no end to it, it’s just going to keep going the more you try to dig it apart it’s just endless, so deep!

When you start studying those parts I guess… whoever we are as people… you start seeing something real that you can’t explain in any other way. I like that. I think everybody kinda likes that and I think that’s why stories from the bible stuck around so long. Mythology has been around for so long, because there’s something there that we all look at that we can’t help fucking turn away from. It’s so compelling.

"The Red Book" really meant a lot to me, I haven’t even finished the damn book. That’s how profound it was to me.

Because it’s so dense I have to sit down and think about what the fuck he’s saying.

It makes you really start looking at the things around you and what more it could mean.

When I started reading the Jung stuff, I started having really fucking weird dreams.

How does that not have an impact on you? How do you not look at that and think "there’s something here." 

I hope other people can have that experience, too.


Q: How has "The Red Book" helped you?

MW: I think it’s helped me improve my art, understanding the different archetypes, between, you know, the "chaos and order," the "feminine and masculine."

It gives things stories without understanding that there’s a story there. That’s what art’s supposed to be about.

We’re trying to touch into the unknown things we don’t understand. I wouldn’t see any point otherwise, that’s what we’re here for as creatives is to try to look at things we can’t figure out.


Watch Mark Wade in action!


Q: You make art sound metaphysical,  transcendental. Is that how you see it? 

MW: Yeah, there’s something mystical about it. There’s something scientific about it, too. It’s not so black and white, there’s elements of it we can see but then there’s some reason that we like it.

Why the fuck do we like art? Why do we like things that are pretty, there’s no actual real reason for why we know, why we do, but it really draws us in.

We love beautiful places, we want put ourselves around beautiful places. Why? What gives those things value? Besides all of us agreeing that it’s cool. What makes it cool?

What really puts it apart? It starts to get to the point where you can’t pull it apart anymore. So abstract you can’t pull it apart anyway. And that’s interesting.


Q: What's the drive behind artists?

Typically, creatives are 10% of the population. I think, evolutionarily, that’s on purpose.

I think it was just inherently a part of my nature to always do something that’s creative. I don’t think that was something I had to force too hard.

[Disclaimer: Mark Wade modestly states that he wasn't good at first, but thanks to the guidance from his mentors, he's been able to learn and get to where he is now.]

I don’t think everyone wants to be a musician, or be a creative. From the creative artists, the musicians that I have met, they’re not doing it necessarily because they want to do it, but they don’t feel like they have any other choice.


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Book Recommendation to Enhance Your Tattoo Art by Brainy Artist: Mark Wade