Travis Broyles Talks the Life and the Day of a Tattoo Artist!

Tattooing people for a living is what he loves to do and having formerly had run record label Robot Monster, Inc. artist Travis Broyles has got a whole lot going for him and for him it couldn't be better! He took some time out of his busy tattoo lifestyle to talk about it.

1. Can you give me a brief summary as to who you are and what is it you do for a living?

Travis: My name is Travis Broyles, and I am a tattoo artist at Sunken Ship Tattoo in Everett, Washington. I tattoo people for a living and love every second of it!

2. You use to run the label Robot Monster, Inc. tell me how you got involved with them and what did you do and how is the label doing today?

Travis: I started Robot Monster, Inc alongside long time friend of mine, Jake Hades. Many years ago I use to work with another record label, which was on the fritz. I was tired of seeing bands get the short of the stick, and was on my way out. At the time, Jake was showing some intrest in starting a record label with me, if I were to leave the other one. We both agreed that this would be a great project for us, and Robot Monster was born. I was living in Virginia at that point, so I flew up to Seattle, and we did all of the neccessary legal things that we needed to do to make this business proper. We signed our first band, The Epidemic, and released their album shortly after. Over the course of a couple of years after that, we released 11 albums.

As tattooing began to really take off for me, it was becoming very hard for me to balance out working with the label and the bands, and stay consistent with tattooing. I unfortunately had to decline a lot of duties with Robot Monster, in order to chase my dream. I really wish it never had to come to that. Today, the label is still running. I am not actively involved, even though I am still hustling distributors to buy our stuff! haha! Jake is still making music with his band, Hades Machine, which I think will be releasing a few albums on Robot Monster soon. Jake is focusing on a lot of design work and consulting for bands, which is all still under the Robot Monster name.

3. Tell me about the tattoo shop you work at called the Sunken Ship Tattoo - how long have you been with them and what do you hope to get out of it?

Travis: I started at Sunken Ship tattoo in March of 2009. I was 20 at the time, and lived in Florida. The move from Florida to Washington was a long trek, and I really didn't know what to expect. I was very nervous and excited at the same time. That move was probably one of the best moves I have ever made in my entire life. Everyone I work with are amazing people, and are definitely family to me. All of my clients are amazing, and I have met some of the best friends a guy could ever ask for.  Hell, I even met my girlfriend up here a couple of years ago, and she's one of the best things that has ever happened to me as a person. She pushes me constantly, and has an a huge impact on my career. I really don't look to get anything out of anything. I work with awesome people, get to tattoo awesome customers, and make a living doing so. I am one happy person, and nothing beats happiness!

4. How long have you been tattooing?

Travis: I have been tattooing for nearly 7 years now. It really doesn't seem that long when I think about it.

5. What got you interested in the business?

Travis: I have always been a little interested in tattooing, but never thought that I would actually end up doing tattoos. The night I got my first tattoo, the artist who did it really liked my artwork and offerend me an apprenticeship. Nearly 7 years later, here I am.

6. What did your family and friends think about you getting into the tattoo business?

Travis: At first I really think my family was a little apprehensive about it. I was still in high school, and was upon graduation. Most kids had college or military plans. My plans were a bit backwards, and bit far fetched but I've always been told my entire life to follow my dreams. I definitely set sails to follow my dreams, and I still am to this day. My family is very supportive now that they can see my happiness, and that I am doing great for myself. I really couldn't be happier!

7. So, do you enjoy the job after all these years?

Travis: I love it. There isn't a greater job in the entire world as far as I'm concered. I was talking to another tattoo artist this past weekend, and we both agreed that we will never work another day in our life as we love what we do!

8. What would you say is your favorite part of the job?

Travis: Connecting with customers, and making an eternal impact on their life both with having the tattoo forever, as well as the experience that goes along with it.

9. Out of all of the tattoo pieces you have done which was your most memorable or favorite and why?

Travis: I really can't seem to pick just one out to be honest. There are so many memorable tattoos and so many that stand out. I recently tattooed a cancer survivor (3 times, survived) and she had such a strong, determined personality, and ora. That lady may not have known it, but she had a huge impact on me. Her tattoo, and the experience I had while tattooing her will never fade. She taught me a lot about life, and how fast it can fade.

10. What types of people approach you for tattooing (freaks, rebels, bikers) etc or regular typical folk?

Travis: It really is a mix of everyone. Tattoos just aren't for a certain class of people anymore. I tattoo everyone from pastors, to doctors and lawyers, all the way down to great grandmothers, and beyond.

11. Are there any famous artists, tattooists or not, that have influenced you down the path of your career?

Travis: Absolutely. Some positive, some negative. I would definitely say that all of the guys I work with at Sunken Ship tattoo have influenced me on the positive side more than any other artists out there. They are such great people, and I'm glad I get to tattoo with all of them.

12. Have you personally met any famous tattoo artists?

Travis: For sure. I have met, been tattooed, and have worked with plenty of them. I'm not sure what makes them famous, compared to any other tattoo artist - but according to certain standards that are placed, I have.

13. What would you recommend to someone wishing to get into the tattoo business?

Travis: Work hard, draw a lot, and never give up. Its very hard work, but it will pay off.

14. So, what do you think of the "hackers and scratchers" that are out there?

Travis: It is definitely a plague that I'm unsure it will ever be stopped. I really don't understand why they can't just get a proper apprenticeship like the rest of us, but I suppose it will never, ever end.

15. Does that, then, make the particular artist look bad, or does it have a bad reflection on the whole business?

Travis: I think it has had a negative reflection on the industry, but at the same time I think people are a bit more educated about it these days. However, there are some people who would rather pay Joe Schmo $5 and a warm beer for their tattoo that will never look good that they got in his garage than pay a professional for a proper tattoo that will look good forever. I just wish people would research a bit more about the aritsts they choose, and think about the impact the tattoo will have on them and their body. That tattoo is going to be there forever, so why not spend a little bit more and have it properly done?

16. Where do you see the art of tattooing in 10 or 20 years from now?

Travis: Tattooing really hasn't changed that much over the course of American tattooing. Sure, there are better inks, better needles, higher quality machines, and the health standards are raised - but I really think its going to be the same. The industry is bursting at the seams with tattooers as everyone wants to be one. If anything I think in the next 20 years, there will be more advancements with the items mentioned above, better tattooers, and more educated collectors. Or at least, that is what I would like to think.

17. Do you think it will ever become fully accepted as an art?

Travis: It is nearly on its way there now. Give it a few more years, and it definitely will be.

18. Where do you see yourself in 10 years or more? Still tattooing?

Travis: Absolutely! At this point, tattooing is all that I know, and I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

19. Would you recommend this profession? If so, who do you think are the most likely candidates?

Travis: I definitely would, but its a lot of hard work. Being a tattoo artist isn't for everyone. I'd say someone who doesn't mind not having a life, tattooing a lot, drawing a lot, not having a life, tattooing a lot, drawing a lot, tattooing a lot, drawing a lot, drawing a lot - you get the picture haha!

20. Of course, I take it you adhere to all safety regulations at the shop you're a part of?

Travis: Absolutely! We go above and beyond all Washington State regulations. We take our customer and employee safety very seriously.

21. Thank you very much for the time you have taken here. And where can we find you?

My website is:
Instagram: travisbroyles13

22. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Travis: Thanks very much for interviewing me! It was definitely a pleasure. I'll be doing a few tattoo conventions over the next year. Please stay up to date with my websiteFacebook, Instagram, etc if you are interested in being tattooed by me. Thanks again! See ya!

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