Where did you start tattooing?
Josh Carter: I’ve been tattooing for 21+ years now. I started in 1997 on the boardwalk in Venice Beach ,California at 19 years old. The first half of my career was spent just doing whatever anyone who walked through the door wanted. I was a dyed in the wool street shop artist and pretty good at it.
When did you decide on Japanese being your main style?
Josh: At about a decade into tattooing I realized that I needed a singular focus and I settled on making traditional Japanese my main body of work. It’s taken a long time to develop my style but I feel I’ve been able to do that. I try and stay respectful to traditional while adding my own flavor to the tattoos I do. I am still learning and hope to continue pushing my boundaries improving my work ever so slightly with each tattoo.
How Did You Decide To Open Your Own Shop?
Josh: It took me a long time, I had opportunities to open shops earlier in my career, but I didn’t feel like I was mature enough emotionally or in my art to be responsible for an entire shop. Even when it was time to jump on board with Jon and get Dame of the West rolling I had to push through a boatload of fear and anxiety. But everything felt right, I trusted my gut and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done as far as my career is concerned.
Jon and I have put together a crew of people that not only have immense talent, but also absolutely love being around each other everyday. Our goal was to create an environment of positive energy that is totally felt by the clients as well.
To go back to the question, how did I make the decision? I didn’t really I just got out of my own way and allowed the universe to do its thing, because this shop always felt like it was meant to be.
What Are You Looking For From Clients:
Josh: I value the relationships I build with my clients. My main clientele tend to be fairly established working professionals who have taken the time to do enough research to find me. That’s indicative of the patience and intelligence that my clients have.
When I’m spending as much time as I am with clients receiving large scale work I want to be able to vibe with them. I want the experience to be as amazing for me as it is for them. That might be a little selfish but it’s not always about the money.
What Is Your Proudest Achievements?
Josh: Honestly, I can say I’m one of, maybe, 3 tattooers in the Arizona valley who have dedicated their careers solely to the Japanese style and do it well.
There is nobody in the valley who tattoos like me. My work is easily recognizable and respected, it takes consistent work ethic over a long period to develop that. Im far from full of myself but I don’t downplay how much time and effort I put into getting where I am in tattooing.
Having the ability to leverage my own success to help those around me to achieve their goals. To then leave a positive mark, in more ways than tattooing on as many people as possible before I die will be my proudest achievement.