Matthew Larkin


How long have you been tattooing and how did you start your tattooing journey?

I’ve been tattooing for nearly 5 years now, to be honest, I never really wanted to be a tattoo artist! It sort of happened by accident, I started working in a studio as a desk manager, and each day I fell more in love with the thought of becoming a tattooer! So I just went for it. I never knew how incredible it would turn out to be. 


Do you remember what was the first tattoo you did? If so, tell us what it was and for who.

Yes, I do! It was some script for my mom, she wouldn’t take no for an answer to be my first client. It really made me feel relaxed, it was going to be her, I didn’t have to worry too much if I messed it up! And I did, I blew out some lines and had to fix it after it healed, but it taught me very quickly the difference between fake skin and the real McCoy! 


Please, tell us about your current tattoo style and how it has changed over the years.

My main current style is a mix between Neo Traditional and Anime/Gaming. I’ve always wanted to push more nerd culture into tattooing because there was always such a big market for it – just nobody was doing much of it at the time. I love to do mash-up’s too, they got a lot of attention when I first started out. Over the course of the last few years, I’ve been trying to adapt to bigger projects, using body flow and better compositions for my designs instead of just basic slap on ideas. I think these characteristics really show what kind of tattooer you want to be.


Does anyone or anything inspire you?

Like I said before, Anime and gaming have always inspired me to draw and learn how to improve certain techniques. DragonBall Z made me fall in love with drawing – my dad would always draw them for me as a child and I couldn’t get over seeing him draw, it was like magic! I try to study a lot of graphic artwork and see how artists give characters personality and depth, how they show movement and play with light sources. It’s all still mind boggling to me but each day I try to learn something new.


Are there any tattoo artists who are extremely admirable to you? If so who?

I work with Isnard Barbosa and Luiz Lacorte, two of the best in the business. They push me and my artwork everyday. I’m incredibly lucky to work and learn from these two. I’ve always loved Peter Lagergren, his style and knowledge of tattooing and composition is just top of the list. He inspires me a lot. Bunnymachine’s work is beautiful and was the first artist who introduced me to anime in tattoos, she’s a boss! Bruno Santos Helped me so much at the start with everything, he made me fall in love with coil machines and pushed me to become the best I could be. 


Do you have any memorable tattoo story or a customer that has stuck with you through all the time you have been tattooing?

I have a lot of customers like this, who I’ve tattooed from the start until now. I’ve made great friends from doing tattoos on them, that’s one of the best things about this job – you sit with a stranger for hours and become friends in an instant. We could chat about very personal things or what’s on in the cinema. I read the room first before diving into a 9-hour therapy session! There’s always a good conversation to be had with the person you’re tattooing and I’d talk the legs off a horse! 


Is there any art form that fascinates you also except tattooing? Maybe do you have any other passion or something that you really enjoy doing? 

Graphic artwork and illustrations really keep me on my toes. There are so many levels to art and tattooing is only a small piece of it. Everyday I’m introduced to new artists in this field and I thank god they don’t know how to tattoo – we’d all be F*cked! 


Do you like visiting or exhibiting at tattoo conventions? Would you recommend any of them?

Tattoo conventions are one of the reasons you should enjoy being a tattoo artist. You get to set up a little shop in a big open place with loads of other tattooers. Meet some great people, and showcase your work while tattooing someone in front of a crowd. I love it so much. I worked at the Milan Tattoo Convention at the start of 2020 which was huge… I think I was the only Irish artist to be invited to… So yeah… That was wild.


Any artist you planning to get tattooed by? Who has tattooed you already?

Yes, I’m currently getting my back and head done by the great Peter Lagergren. I’ll get a piece from Isnard Barbosa when he’s eventually free! I’ve got work from some incredible artists like Toni Donaire, Johnny Domus, Furduva, Peter Lagergren, Bruno Santos, Csiga, Nate Evans, Fecanes, Daniel Flower, Scone Lopez, Sailor Marc (we done a Joe Rogan Snail on my leg and Joe Rogan shared it, HUGE) the list goes on!


What are your plans and dreams? If you think about yourself in 10 years, what do you see?

I’m a simple chap – All I want is to learn and keep growing in the industry. I’m forever grateful to do what I do. To get the chance to travel and work at the same time. I’m too caught up in the now and can’t really worry about 10 years down the line. I’d love to see the industry more diverse and less horrible pricks sexually abusing their customers and apprentices. Once we work towards an industry like that I’ll be happy out. 


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