We had the good fortune of connecting with Tony Wayne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tony, why did you pursue a creative career?
I have been an artist as long as I can remember. As a kid I would draw on anything I could get my hands on. I was definitely that kid that got in trouble for drawing on the walls or the furniture….my poor mother. Not sure when I really started to take artistry seriously. It has just always been my hobby and passion. I have gravitated towards it my whole life. Somewhere along the way it ended up being my career. I did a lot of pencil and charcoal drawings when I was younger. I drew a lot of portraits, as well as fantasy and comic characters, as I have always been a comic nerd. As I got older I got in to marker drawings and painting. Eventually I found tattooing and instantly I was hooked. Tattooing has been by far my favorite medium to express my artistic side. Something about seeing the tattoo come to life as you progress through it. The line work, the shading, the details, all of it. I draw and design all the tattoos I do. I feel this is a way I get to show my own artistic style in my tattoos. After all, I don’t just want to tattoo, I want to showcase my own art in my tattoos. Tattooing is my passion before it is my career. I am just one of those lucky souls that gets to do what I love for a living. I have been tattooing for 20 years now and I plan on doing it for a lot longer.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I really never planned on opening my own studio. I was pretty happy just doing my tattoos and then going home. The last studio I worked at shut down unexpectedly, when I was in the middle of a tattoo actually. They showed up and said ” we’re closing down for good”. So I finished my tattoo and packed my stuff. I had worked for a few assholes in my career and this incident just kind of sealed the deal that I wasn’t going to work for anymore unreliable people. So it was at that moment I decided I was just going to open my own place. I also didn’t want to go back to work inside Houston city limits. I liked being in the suburbs at this point in my career. Most of my clients were in the suburbs. So I took a chance and opened Imperial Tattoo Company. I just knew I wanted to run it differently than studios I’ve worked in. I wanted to really concentrate on the quality and professionalism. I wanted it to seem more like a chill and relaxing studio as opposed to the typical party atmosphere studio you would walk in to on a Friday night. I would say it has worked out pretty well. But I really have to thank the awesome crew that we have for our success. I can’t mention them enough.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Man if I was still in my twenties this question would be so easy to answer. I would have a whole list of things to do. I used to go out all the time. Now I am pretty lame these days. I am happy just doing my tattoos and going home to hang with my family. My family is the most important thing to me. So anything I do now is pretty family oriented. I’m in the suburbs and don’t venture in to the city like I used to. We would probably hit up a few of the parks out here with the kiddos, maybe do a little fishing. Hit up the shooting range for a little gunpowder therapy. Watch some movies and draw at the house. I am a big food person so there area few spots out here we would hit up for some good food. Like Perry’s steakhouse, Churrascos, Mori Ichi sushi, Crawfish n’ More. I’m not big in to the bar scene anymore, so we would probably just have a few drinks at the house while jamming some vinyls. I told you…….I’m a lame dad these days, ha ha. But I don’t care. I’m the happiest I have ever been in my life.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
If I could give some credit of my success to someone else, it would be my wife, Sarah. She has been a constant in my life for the past 13 years. She has helped make me a better person, and has pushed me in my career. I ask her about my designs and ideas. She let’s me know when they’re great or when they’re off or stupid, ha ha. She is my muse, and I find myself wanting to be as good of a person as she is. Plus she does a lot of the background work at our studio that most people don’t see. I also owe a lot of my success to the whole Imperial Tattoo Company crew. All of them work so hard and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. Jon West just amazes me with how hard he works. I threw that kid to the wolves at the start of his career and he has never disappointed. Aaron Bates has grown so much since we have met. Kendall Villalpando has a great way with her clients. Geoff Ellis keeps everything running smooth like a machine. Scott Barbier pumps out some solid tattoos day after day. Sabrina adds a new mix with her permanent make up skills. And young Anthony has grown a lot since he joined us. It’s nice to see him soak up everything we show him. I really couldn’t have asked for a better crew to work with. I truly love all of them.
portrait photo of me taken by: Julian Esteban www.instagram.com/3rdeyevisionx