Solid Tattoos from a solid dude.
by Mark Longenecker
Photos courtesy of Troy Lane
From the August 2003 issue of Prick Magazine.
When looking over a tattoo to inspect its quality,
many aspects are taken into to consideration.
There's the five second rule: If you can't tell what
it is within the first five seconds of looking at it, then it's crap.
There's also the placement and flow of the tattoo - the
design should work with the shape of the body part it's on.
Color and contrast of the piece is important too. Using a formula
that will make the tattoo pop instead of looking like a
muddy mess on the skin. Troy Lane has got all those aspects
of tattooing down. What really sets him apart from the
crowd, though, is his technical skills. He is the tattoo artist
that many tattoo artists
choose to get ink from.
Troy is not much into the
bells and whistles, he just
simply does clean outlines
and packs the tattoo
super solid with color.
My friends and I have
even coined a term after
Troy - is your tattoo
"Troy Lane Solid?"
Troy grew up in
Springfield, Oregon, and
lived there until he was
about 14. He had always
had an interest in tattoos
and got thrown out of a
few tattoo shops as a kid.
But when he got older
and went off to the army
for a few years, he found
himself hanging around in tattoo shops more and more. He
eventually scored himself a traditional apprenticeship from
Robbi West at Skin Fantasies in North Carolina. After getting
all the basics down, he got a job offer from Lou Sciberras of
the Miami famed Tattoos by Lou. There, Troy, Lou and old
school legend Mikey Harpool ran the show for a year and a
half until hurricane Andrew blew the shop away.
Troy told me
of the "good ole' days" when they were the only game in
town. Back then, there was just Tattoos by Lou in Miami and
Tatts Taylor's Tattooing in Ft. Lauderdale. There were really no
other shops in South Florida. With the supply and demand as
they were, the money was flowing from Troy's hands into the
strippers' hands every night. If he was smart, Troy says, he
might have saved some of it, but I say more power to him.
Troy worked at Lou's South Beach location for a while,
but soon got sick off tattooing sunburned tourists and
answering annoying questions. He moved to the Tattoos by
Lou Kendall location and worked there until 1996.
He eventually got the itch to travel and Lou hooked
him up with a gig in Australia working at Illustrated
Man Tattoo. After a few months there, Troy's good
friend Ken Cameron, of South Beach Tattoo
Company, got him a spot at Paul Jefferies Smiling
Buddha Tattoo in Canada. After working in temperatures
as low as 40 below, Troy soon got
homesick. He called up Lou and asked him if he
would mind if he opened his own shop in Miami.
Lou was more than happy to have Troy back in
town and even loaned him some
money to help him get a shop open.
Lou passed away and now his
daughter Michelle and her husband
Ken Cameron run Lou's shops. Troy
considers Ken and Michelle family
and Troy has tattooed many of their
employees. Troy has been
tattooing at his own
shop - AAA Tattoos
- for about six
Fla. He is currently
to open a bigger
shop in a busier location in
Miami. For a while now, Troy
has been working a one man
show with long hours and
he has had his fill. He is ready
to work a more relaxed
schedule of 4 days a week
with other artists running
his shop for him.
Troy's style of tattooing
is mainly Japanese themes,
although, the day I met with
him, he was doing some
Egon Schiele painterly type
stuff on the drummer for
Dashboard Confessional - it looked awesome!
I asked him if he had a big Japanese reference
and book collection like our mutual
tattoo artist friend Joel Long. Troy said he had
a good book collection, but nothing like Joel's:
"Joel eats, lives and breaths Japanese tattoos
until he goes to sleep at night, then he most
likely dreams about them." Troy has a different
view. When he is off of work, he would
rather not think about tattooing just to keep
Troy credits his solid tattoo skills to the
time he spent with tattoo legend and machine
master Paul Rogers. He also learned a lot
from his favorite solid tattooers - Eric and
Deborah Inksmith. Troy has remained a low
key guy in the tattoo scene, he is not into
working conventions. If he goes to one, it's to
socialize with old friends, not to tattoo. He
rarely even takes pictures of the tattoos he
does. He is not much into self-promotion, but
then again his reputation alone for solid tattoos
keeps him busy. In his free time, Troy
enjoys Jujitsu, skydiving and underwater cave
diving to keep himself active. If anyone ever
writes a book on the history of Florida
Tattooing, Troy Lane deserves his
For more information about Mark Longenecker, visit www.goodmarky.com
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