Trust Your Artist - Ink Addict x Jake Thorsell

Ink Addict sat down with Jake Thorsell of Fu's Custom Tattoos to talk Traditional Tattoo Flash, Panthers, and the inspiration behind the Ink Addict Fall shirts he designed. 


1) How did you come up with the flash designs for these tops?

Panthers have always been a popular image in tattooing. Living in Charlotte NC its one of my favorite things to draw.

2) How would you describe yourself/your tattooing style?

If I had to describe my tattooing style in one word it would be traditional. Everyone has their own take on the style though and I'm no different. I was drawn to the style by all the classic images, but found that the fundamentals of tattooing are the foundation of the traditional style. Traditional tattoos have longevity in their physicality and their timeless appearance. Bold will hold as they say.

3) Did you always want to be a tattooer? How did you get into the industry?

I wanted to tattoo for a while before I got into the industry. It took a while, so it's kind of a long boring story, but I guess I finally met the right people that introduced me to some shop owners. It took a while to show my dedication and loyalty but it got me an apprenticeship at the shop I work at now. Fu's Custom Tattoos in Charlotte NC 

4) How different is the process of designing a t-shirt, vs designing a tattoo?

I originally designed these for tattoos and have tattooed them, so I guess not that different. 

5) Do you tattoo a lot of flash? Do you paint flash often?

I like to paint as much as possible and get asked to tattoo images from those sheets. I published a book of my flash last year called "Hostile Jake-Over". I started painting flash in order to show my clientele the type of stuff I like to do and a great way exercise the practice. Plus people don't know what they want until they see it, so it doesn't hurt to have plenty to look at.

6) When you're not tattooing, what do you do for fun?

I'm a workaholic and like staying busy, so most often if I'm not working I'm painting. On my day off I hangout with my beautiful wife and/or watch the Panthers play. 

7) How do you work with your clients to come up with a unique design?

I often find that my clients have great ideas. I can take their creativity and stylize the image to work wherever they want to put it. It is a symbiotic relationship for sure.

8) How did you hear about InkAddict?

I was contacted by Nathan through email, I think he saw my stuff on Instagram.

9) What's your #1 piece of advice for new clients?

New clients to the industry or just new to me? If they are new to the industry (first timers) there is a lot of advice to give. The industry is full of myths and mystery, so if I can gain their trust I have a lot to offer.

10) What inspires you to create?

I try not to limit myself when it comes to that. I love Americana images, but it could be anything from a life experience to a funny joke. I draw what I know.

Check out the Ink Addict x Jake Thorsell Collection HERE

tattoo artist jake thorsell's collection and collab with ink addict streetwear brand on thedrop



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