" My methods of learning contradicted a lot of traditional methods"
The Journal went to meet tattoo artist Jay Soze for a chat and wonder around East London, New to the industry and by his own admission an unconventional way of learning Jay is gaining a fierce reputation for his beautiful black and grey realism portraits, woking out of one of London's finest studios Sans Patrie. We ask how indeed he did learn the methods, who is inspirations are and what advise he has for any aspiring artists.
So tell us who is Jay Soze when and how did you get into tattooing? did you have a formal art background?
Jay Soze is a self taught tattoo artist who now works in Studio Sans Patrie in old street London. I never had a formal art background, I did a few doodles as a kid which I don’t think were very good. So when I started tattooing it was a lot more difficult compared to someone who had an art background or knew how to draw. However I’m good at reverse engineering stuff and I managed to break down the skill of tattooing and drawing/design into simple steps and this massively helped me to progress very quickly - I have now been tattooing for 1.5 - 2 years. My methods of learning contradicted a lot of traditional methods, so it was a real head f**k ignoring experts advice on YouTube / the internet and doing my own thing haha.
Are there any artists past or present that you take inspirations from and why?
Delphin Musquet owner of Sans Patrie - he’s a great inspiration (also everyone at the studio) he’s an inspiration because he knows what legitimate good tattoo art is and has the eye for it. My friend Beau who is a contemporary underground artist who has also been on the run on the past due to his controversial art stunts - he taught me that I can skip levels and years of hard work to reach my art goals through mindset. Scott Carlin in the king of staten island - he’s doing his own thing trying to make it whilst battling his inner demons, dealing with depression all from losing his dad as kid. I really related to him and his problems and how he drifted through life and got involved with the wrong people. There’s been many artists I have taken stuff from but at the same time I like to go through phases where I don’t look at any other types of tattoo art work and do my own thing.
In your opinion what makes a great artist?
To me a great artist is someone who can create something in a medium of their choice that moves the viewer emotionally.
Your art is heavily based around black and grey realism portraits . What drew you to this specific genre? would you consider mixing things up in the future?
I originally chose black and grey portraiture because it seemed like the most difficult thing to tattoo and that if I master the fundamentals of art and tattooing well enough for that - then I will be able to tattoo any style I like and have a deep understanding. Yeah I’m definitely going to mix it up a little in the future, although it’ll still technically be black and grey realism. I’ve got some great ideas in the pipe line!
What advice would you offer someone considering the industry as a career? And what would you say to young creatives trying to find their style or voice?
As long as you have good taste and a good work ethic you should make it - following the trends will also really help (you to make money in the short term). Creativity is all in the mind and to come into your own you have to find what makes you tick. Follow your natural strengths and combine this with where you draw the most inspiration from and things should start to come together.
Do you find there is a common misconception people have about the industry that you are in?
The only one that springs to mind is that it’s a heavily gatekeeped industry. Which it is, although is slowly changing, I think. Either way giving people the secrets to tattooing won’t ruin it because you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink it.
Here at The Hobo Jack Journal we love to travel hence the name, where is your favourite place on earth and why?
I am a nomad at heart so I have many favourite places on earth! Coincidentally I happen to work at a studio called Sans Patrie which means - without nation. Which is something I strongly relate to. Las Vegas is definitely one of the most favourite places I’ve lived. I also love nature and beautiful places too so probably a small village in the commune of La Léchère in the Savoie département of France.
More images below from Danny Woodstock Photographer