When I was a kid of about 4 or 5, in the early 80s, I discovered the shady art of tattooing from a faded heart pierced by a dagger on my grandfather’s right forearm dating back to WW2. I’d spend hours trying to copy it perfectly on my own arm with a magic marker every morning. For months I wondered why his would stay on even after he took a shower. I was baffled. But I was curious and I was determined to find out why. Eventually, he did explain to me how Indian ink was inserted under the skin via sharpened slivers of bamboo. Years later when I was 14, I tattooed my wrist and finger in a similar fashion, which got me into a little trouble.
In my younger years, doodling had always been a hobby, though paper was not one of my favourite mediums. Towards the end of my primary school education, I was unfortunately singled out for vandalising a desk at the back of the class in school. As I remember, my parents were called. Somehow they saw some quality in my drawings, so off I went to weekend art school. For 6 years.
Years later I was working on drilling rigs. I had quite a few tattoos. Still spending time in tattoo studios on my time off from work, I slowly learned the art of building custom tattoo machines from the little workshop I had built in my garage in Vietnam.
The progress and experience I’ve had over the years was slow and steady. In 2017, I joined the crew at Visual Orgasm. The rest is history.
Hi, I’m Bobo Mcgrylls. And this is my story.