After the just-completed SLC tattoo convention, a lot of local artists have been receiving an awesome amount of attention. The talent pool in Utah is extraordinary, and anyone with ink can testify to the skills we have in the valley alone. Today we're focusing on a single artist, Taylor Millet (who we once featured in our 2014 Holiday Guide
), founder and owner of Sailor Taylor Tattoo on Edison Street in downtown SLC. We chat with him about his artwork and learning the trade, complete with photos of his shop as he started work on a new custom tattoo for a client.
Gavin: Hey Taylor, first off, tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a multimedia artist with a background in fine arts. I specialize in custom tattoo work including grey
wash, solid color, and even white ink tattoos. I have no tattoos, which often brings up the question "why," [to which] I explain that when I accomplish more of my goals, I'll start commemorating the hard work with unified large tattoo projects. It's just a matter of time.
How did you first get interested in art and what were your early influences?
I would never have been so adamant about drawing without that influence and inspiration of my band-mate Landon from junior high. He was drawing skulls very well, so I started copying them. My father inspired everything else that led to any success I'll ever have, having immersed us children in museum visits and all the fine arts.
What styles and genres did you gravitate to the most during high school?
I eventually reached out to copy fine art by Alphonse Mucha and Egon Schiele throughout high school. I developed a mimetic style that led me to portraiture and realism in general; I started playing with more illustrated styles because I saw more beauty in the uniquely distorted perspectives of any subject.
You traveled to Barcelona for a few months to attend Manuel Sanchez’s art institution. What made you decide to go there, and how was your time there?
My father was beckoning me to join him and my sister there; [also the] inexpensive rent and an opportunity to be tutored by Manuel Sanchez. I had a great time! I visited so many museum exhibits and traveled to some beautiful countries. I left Europe with romantic memories I still enjoy today.
Considering the time you spent in Europe, what made you decide to come back to Utah?
I knew I should return and sell my art to share my experiences with my close social circle. I sold out my first solo show in 2008,
and have made my living through art since then, in many different ways.
What sparked your interest in tattoo work, and how did you end up connecting with Chris Jent?
I have always wanted my art to be shared and enjoyed; what better way than with the permanent art of tattoo. I met up with an old high school buddy, Chris Jent, who was between work at tattoo shops, and he let me do my first tattoo on his forearm. It was of an octopus design I drew up on the spot for him. It turned out pretty well, so I kept at it.
What were some of the hardest lessons you had to learn when creating tattoos?
When tattooing each unique design on a unique client's skin, I became aware very quickly that everyone's skin is different. Techniques that may work on some, will not work on others. That persuades clients to change their designs, and can be a positive compromise, considering certain limitations and clichés in tattoo concepts.
What made you decide to start up your own shop rather than be an artist for another?
I enjoy the freedom having my own parlor and design workspace. I create so many facets of art, I always need a workspace to transform at any time to accommodate my many projects.
How did you come to the location on Edison Street, and how was it for you transforming it into a proper shop?
I have distinct memories of looking down Edison Street when I was a kid and seeing decrepit buildings and a run-down rug shop, and I was living on Edison Street when my landlord offered to rent me the retail space next door to my house. Everything fell into place for it right off, and for years
I had been anticipating starting my own tattoo parlor and working under the moniker, Sailor Taylor. Which was something my mother called me as a child.
For those curious, what’s the process, style and types of ink you use when drawing?
I specifically cater to original, conceptual designs in all styles of tattooing. I hand-draw almost everything to ensure unique original detailing, with the exception of portraits and ornate geometric designs, which are traced to ensure superb quality. My focus on custom work, which subsequently is the client's direct expression of themselves, is the biggest part of my process. I've committed to providing outstanding customer satisfaction in all facets of my multimedia business in the arts I create. I use Kiro Sumi black and grey
wash ink, and Eternal color inks because of their vast variety of pigments mixes.
How much of the work you do are original designs you created, and how much is requested works?
I always work my clients' personality, preferences, and desires into every tattoo. Because I value enriching people's lives with beautiful art that can have a powerful meaning for them, we always find something for them to identify and express themselves with. Even if it is the smallest of details.
You also create and sell original art, jewelry (which we showcased in Christmas buying guide, 2014) and mixed media. What made you choose to expand the shop in that way?
I am filling the needs of many people and businesses. There is always a niche market to sell to or enrich with original artistic designs. That has led me to do event production and design, along with jewelry and many other multimedia arts.
You opened up about a year ago. How has business been so far?
Great! I have been tackling some large tattooing projects on my favorite clients and have incorporated a few extra facets to my business. Including event planning and videography, which has led me to work with many businesses in different intriguing aspects.
Are you looking to expand or bring in new artists to grow the shop, or are you keeping things how they are for now?
I doubt I would rent any space out to another artist anytime soon. Quality control is a big issue with shops that have a high turnover of artists or a few too many booths that need to be filled to maintain profit. I work hard to preserve the quality of my reputation as a custom-design tattoo parlor.
For those looking to get work done, what do they need to know first and how do they set up an appointment?
I handle all artistic styles and requests for custom work at free consultations, I never ask for deposits and do free design drawings, I charge $75 an hour and just $35 minimums respectively, considering financial struggles we all need a break from. Text or call 801.808.4762 for quick quotes, or consultations when needed.
What can we expect from you and the shop over the rest of 2016?
I am working on a unique print catalog showing the custom tattooing, fine arts, jewelry, lace collars, videos, and print media I'm developing right now! the best way to stay up to date on my work is through Instagram
and Snapchat at "sailortaylortat."