You may recognize Mark as a top 4 artist from season 5 of Inkmaster; but he is a veteran tattoo artist. His 'Tropistyle' tattoo and multimedia art has garnered national attention for years. So grab a your favorite beach drink and board (skate or surf), kick back and enjoy this session of 9.5 Questions....
1 - You're on a small boat on a one way trip to an island paradise. You have with you three items: a tattoo machine, surfboard and skateboard. The boat springs a leak and you have to throw two of the items overboard to make it to the island. Which two do you throw off?
Easy .. the skateboard, my peak in skateboarding is long gone… now I just try to do the tricks I used to be able to do when I was young. Don't get me wrong, I still love skateboarding with all my heart, but Tattooing is my passion and life and I can't live with out surfing. The tattoo machine will let me buy all the skateboards and surfboards I will ever need, so that is staying for sure. I will throw the surfboard over if I have too, but I will tie the leash to the back in case my boat sinks, and I will just paddle to safety on the board.
2 - Short list of artists you really dig right now...any medium.
Drew Brophy, Jay Alders, Jimbo Philips in Surf Art. Grime, Jeff Rassier, Dave Fox, Tattoo Artists that I came up with that I still love. Dave Tevenal, Katie Mcgowan, Myke Chambers - Modern Day game changing tattoo artists.
3 - As a long time skateboarder, were you influenced by deck art? Which were your favorite decks growing up?
80's Skateboard Graphics were a huge inspiration in my art. My shop is covered in old skateboards, its kinda like a museum. First boards my brother and I bought as kids were the Vision Mark Gonzales and Vision Gator. Those are my top 2 faves. I also love all the old Powell Perelta, Santa Cruz and Alva deigns.
4 - You seem like a genuinely nice guy. How difficult was it to take criticism and dish it out on Ink Master?
It was very hard to be criticized by guys who came up the same time that I did. I have tattooed the same amount of time and paid the same amount of dues as the judges, so that was the hardest part. At a tattoo convention we are equal and on the same playing field. At InkMaster, they are the judges of the highest ranked tattoo competition in the world… almost gives them a GOD like status.
5 - If you could participate on a show like InkMaster again would you? You went deep into the competition; was it an overall positive experience?
It was a gnarly experience to live through but it pays off in the end and is well worth it. They put me through a mental mind fuck when I was there, I believe their mission was to make me crack... I got close, but never cracked. I am not really interested in competing again since I feel content with where I ended up and I am kinda sick of being judged.
6 - Is any type of artistic output more satisfying to you? Tattoo, surf board graphics, canvas??
Tattooing is and will always be my passion in life. I love painting surfboards, that is a canvas that I really connect with and doesn't move and squirm like a tattoo.
7 - You have 24 hours to live. How do you spend the bulk of your day.
Surfing the best waves in the world.
8 - You can choose any celebrity to tattoo. It could be someone you dig and want to do a nice piece on, or it could be the opposite. Who do you choose and what is the subject of the tattoo?
I would love to tattoo Kelly Slater because he would be the most interesting to talk to. I do a lot of sleeves, so if I got to do a "tropistyle" sleeve on Kelly and pick his brain… my life would be good. He is not into tattoos though, so good chance that it will never happen… but I am always up for a challenge.
9 - You stumble upon a Bill and Ted's style time machine, but it only goes to the past. What year do you go to first? Why?
Early 70's would be rad, they had the best style and attitude.
9.5 - Fill in the blank: If I had to listen to one album for the rest of my life it would be ____________.
Answer: Buju Banton - Til Shiloh
You can find Mark here: