Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Featured Tattoo Artist | Dave "Undead" Olteanu

Dave "Undead" Olteanu
Age- 35
Central coast, NSW, Australia

What attracted you to tattooing?

"Well I'd definately have to say growing up as a skateboarder and being greatly influenced by music steered me towards tattooing. I found a lot of my heroes, whether skaters or band members, all had tattoos and i loved the way they looked and what they represented back then because in the 80's tattoos were still really a sign of being an outcast. of course all the imagery from that period influenced me as well, pushead, VCJ and a lot of the board graphics got me interested in art and when i saw these images as tattoos I was blown away and thought this is something I'd love to do."

How did you get into the industry?

"Basically I had been doing artwork in the Sydney and Newcastle hardcore scene and was already getting tattooed myself, I was constantly surrounded by heavily tattooed people and had designed a lot of pieces for friends, I decided I would really try and break into the industry the right way and get an apprenticeship but in Sydney at that stage the scene was locked down tight and it was almost impossible. I had a whole heap of offers to buy my art but that wasn't what I wanted, I wanted to be the one doing that art."

"Then as fate would have it I moved to the central coast and a good friend of mine was getting tattooed by Shannon Richmond at STR and that he was looking for an apprentice. I jumped at the chance and took in a portfolio of the band art I had been doing and he asked if i wanted to give the apprenticeship a good and of course I said hell yes!"

Was it hard to find an apprenticeship?

"As I said earlier it was very hard, there wasn't the amount of artists running studios that were looking to bring people with art skills into the industry, I was lucky to meet a real forward thinker in Shannon."

How many years have you been tattooing?

 "I have been tattooing for 10 years this year, best 10 years in a job ever"

What inspires you?

"Firstly I'd say my gorgeous daughter Frankie, the guys I work with and have worked with, the many friends I've made in this industry, music, a shit load of films and a need to constantly improve my art. The artists I surround myself with, Annie Frenzel,Shannon Richmond, Jasmin Austin, Zane Donnellan, Mick SquiresSam Clark and pretty much everyone that works at Korpus and so many more. I could write all night about them. Australia is developing a real art based tattooing community and that totally inspires me, you look at other countries, the way they approach this industry as a whole and i think we could be slowly catching up."

Favourite tattooers?

 "Whoa this is hard, i could go on all day, um firstly I'd have to say Shannon Richmond he's so talented and has taught me more than he knows, Jasmin Austin, Derek Noble, Annie Frenzel, Eckel, Uncle Allen, Alison Manners, Jeff Gogue, Byron Dreschler, Mick Squires, Chris Lennox, Sam Clark, Justin Acca, SAM rulz, Katelyn Crane, Mike Devries, Rachi brains, Lu's Lips... Holy shit,  I could just keep going and going!! I like that with the speed this industry is growing  there are more and more amazing artists emerging every single  day and I love discovering them and appreciating and learning from their work."

How would you describe your tattooing style?

 "I'd say my style when it comes to tattooing is based on my illustration work a lot, I've been doing illustrations for as long as I can remember. I've always been a comic nerd and if anything I'd say I was a comic book style artist. Of course I'm a huge fan of darker imagery and the art of the middle ages and the art noveau movement. I would like to think when it comes to tattooing though I can do whatever a client wants.........except tribal."

What have you learned in 10 years of tattooing?
"Firstly,  that trends come and go, don't choose tattoos because your friends think it's rad. That tattoo will last longer than most of your friendships. As far as the industry itself goes? That it is always evolving, whether for good or bad, it's going to keep changing and we as artist have to evolve with it." 


Any advice for people considering careers in tattooing?

 "I'd say start with a strong background in art, and I don't mean you have to be Michelangelo, but at least try and get some knowledge and learn some skills in art in some form. I don't mean start tracing pictures from tattoo flash books from your local news agents either, I mean take some classes or if you already have some kind of artistic ability look at pushing it further before you jump into leaving a mark on somebody for life."
"Admittedly my art was nowhere near the level it is at now when I started but I also didn't have the amount of readily available information on different art techniques that are around today. Lastly, build a strong portfolio of your art and approach a reputable studio, not somewhere that will throw you in the deep end to make cash.  Somewhere that will help you grow as an artist and teach you the correct way to produce great tattoos without hurting yourself or clients."

Best things you have experienced from tattooing?
"This is a simple and short answer, all the fucking great friendships and life long buddies I've made through this job over the last 10 years, I cherish and respect you all!!"

Where are you currently tattooing?
"I am working out of STR Body Modifications on the central coast of NSW, Australia."