What’s up everyone, my name is Tylor Schwarz. I’m a father and tattoo artist at A Thin Line tattoo in Batavia.
How was life like growing up?
Growing up life was all right. I faced trials and tribulations but overcame them. I feel like typical tattoo artists don’t always have the best family situations growing up, but I couldn’t complain. I looked to always make the best out of each situation.
When did you first start getting into art, or was it a talent that you were just born with?
Art was definitely a natural ability I had since a young age. My grandfather was the first to recognize my talent, as he saw me drawing at age 2-3.
From where does your creativity stem from?
My creativity stems from tattoo culture.
When did you get into tattooing?
At 17 I had gotten my first tattoo by an outlaw biker in a bad rundown tattoo shop. After realizing the tattoo wasn’t the greatest, I decided to get it covered up. Being in and out of a couple shops, I was able to see the culture and the money that was being made, and I realized that this was a career I could do well in. Later down the road, I realized none of that was important, I found my own reasons for tattooing. I really enjoyed being able to put a piece of my art on somebody’s body for the rest of their life and make them happy.
How different is drawing vs. Tattooing?
Drawing and tattooing are definitely different. Just from the way I hold a tattoo machine vs. a pencil is different. You may be able to draw a good picture, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a well-designed tattoo. Many things go into tattoos that do not go into drawings. With tattooing, you need to be able to fit pieces in many different parts of the body.
How big of an influence was Scott (RIP) to you early on in your career?
Scott played a huge influence on my career; he was as big as they come in my eyes when I first hit the scene. I’m thankful for everything he was able to teach me.
When it comes to tattooing do you have a specific style you like to do, or are you open to all styles?
I prefer to do color, but I’m open to all styles. I’m all about making the customer happy. I’m not too good to do any tattoo.
When you first were thinking of tattooing, did people take you seriously?
When I first got into tattooing nobody took me seriously. I was starving eating ramen noodles and making no money struggling to pay my bills. The reason why I excelled was because I used all of that negative energy as motivation. I also felt like I had to prove myself to the world. At the early stage in my career was a very important part in my life because my ego was prevalent at the time. Once I was able to drop my ego I felt my work improve so much more. I learned that this whole process isn’t about me; it’s about delivering a great piece of artwork to my customers. I stopped focusing on the opinions of others and really buckled down my artwork.
I see you were on Best Ink season 2, how was that experience? Did you learn anything new about tattooing, or about yourself?
Being on Best Ink was fun I had a great time. Right away I learned that reality TV is not reality TV, haha. On the show, I was able to meet great people, who I still consider friends to this day. After I did the show, I don’t think I personally learned anything about tattooing, but what I did learn was from here on out my work was going to be put under a microscope. My work was now recognized nationally and not just locally, it really opened my eye to wanting to be the best I could be.
How much exposure did you get from the show?
I honestly don’t think I received too much exposure from the show. I believe social media has helped me the most.
Social media is a huge outlet for artists nowadays, how has social media helped impact your career?
Social media has MADE my career. I remember jumping on Facebook early on and using it for business. Most of my business early on was coming from my FB. When IG came out, I remember posting pictures that ended up receiving 10-15 likes from strangers who were following me. Years later I’m now at 36k followers. I’m so honored and thankful for everyone who has been following me over the years and appreciate the work I consistently put out. Having followers all over the world is cool to think about, one day I hope to be able to tattoo all of them.
As a huge Cubs fan, how cool is it to tattoo Javy Baez?
It’s pretty cool. I try to act like it’s not a big deal, but it’s a big deal, I’ve been a Cubs fan ever since a little kid. Being able to tattoo a Chicago Cub is awesome. He takes care of me, and I take care of him. We have a good friendship.
For 2 years you have been at A Thin Line Tattoo, how are you liking it compared to other shops you’ve worked at?
I love it here. This is the highest quality shop I have worked at. We have had artists that worked here that have come and gone, but this crew we have here now is awesome. We are a family and very business oriented shop. For me, this shop has put me in the best financial situation.
Who are some of your favorite tattoo artists out now?
My favorite tattoo artists out right now are Timmy B, Sam Clark, Teresa Sharpe, and Nick Baxter; those are my influences right now.
In 2016, are you starting to see tattoos become more acceptable to society?
I would hope so. I think if people continue to get great quality tattoos it will help bring a positive outlook to tattoos. There is nothing worse than seeing horrible quality tattoos on anybody’s bodies. The stigma that I personally want to go is the word “tatted”. I’m so over people having this idea that they’re sexy or better because they’re tattooed. Sexy comes from character, not tattoos.
After all of these years, what motivates you to continue to tattoo?
My daughter motivates me the most. After having a child, I realized my future isn’t about me; it’s all about her. She’s the most important thing to me, she will forever be my driving force with whatever I look to do with my life. I owe everything to her now. She gave me a different perspective on how my work ethic should be.
When it comes to apprentices or any young artists do you have any advice or inspiration to give out?
You can’t just be good at one thing; you have to be great at multiple things to be successful. What I mean is, as an artist, if you have poor marketing techniques and skills you won’t make it as long. We artists need to be well rounded in our art and our marketing strategies. Marketing is a skill-set that is needed if you want to last in this business.
What’s next for you Tylor? Any goals you have in mind?
I honestly just want to be happy in life. I want my daughter to grow up and have values/morals and have a great life growing up. My biggest goal in life isn’t art oriented or even tattoo oriented, its family oriented. I want my daughter to grow up and be a productive member of society and to follow her dreams. That would be my largest achievement as a father.
How do you want to be remembered when your career is all over?
I don’t really care too much if I’m remembered. I want to know I did the best in my heart. I want my customers to know I really care about them and always looked to make them feel good about themselves.
Written By: Nicholas Rud