Tattoo Blog

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Artist Interview: Shawn Hebrank at Identity Tattoos in MN

December 6th, 2008 by

Shawn Hebrank
My Blog
Identity Tattoo
Maple Grove, MN

My name is Shawn Hebrank, I tattoo at Identity Tattoo in Maple Grove Minnesota. I’ve been there for a year and a half, before that I was working in Connecticut. It’s a super dope shop. There’s three artists, including the owner, Todd Lambright. Him tattooing alongside us everyday not only inspires trust and respect, but it also makes him seem way more like a friend than a boss. The shop has touch-free sinks, soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers, and each artist has a private room. All those special touches to make it one of the best shops I’ve ever seen.

I’ve been going back East as much as possible to do guest spots or conventions, since I have quite a clientele out there. My typical customer is anyone who comes and asks me to tattoo them, but I definitely attract a special type of client. I’m as much a story-teller as I am a tattoo artist, (I have “f o l k l o r e” tattooed across my knuckles), so people come to me for as much the experience as the actual end product. I got a fortune cookie last week that said “You tend to spark the flame of enthusiasm in people”. I like to think of myself that way.

I met a tattooer named JR Tubbs at the Philly convention back in April, and we made some bet to see who could do more tattoos with antlers and/or crutches as part of the tattoo. It’s not easy, but you do one or two, and people want to be part of something so wacky. The Great Antler Crutch War of 2008. I was kicking his butt number-wise, 8-5, but then he went and tattooed a portrait of ME, with antlers, on some dude’s leg. It had a banner with my web address, under it.

It was huge, too. After that, there was nothing I could do to top it, so I surrendered. Waved the white flag, and I sent him a taxidermied cow head that some punk had added antlers to probably 30 years ago. It was disgusting. It was a trophy of sorts. He hung it on his wall with crossed crutches underneath.

A tattoo art war across 800 miles? C’mon, that’s fun. Those are the people I like to work with, and get tattooed by. There’s a lot of talented tattoo artists these days. But if you’ve got your Ipod headphones on, and are ignoring the customer, you can f*ck right off. I’d rather get a good tattoo by a person who is fun, passionate, and engaging, than a perfect tattoo by someone who’s boring and mopey.

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