Andrew King (Heart of Gold)
by Esther Meroño

SLUG: Who are you excited to see at the Tattoo Convention?
King: I’m really excited for Danny Reed, and Uzi (Miguel Montgomery), he’s awesome. My good buddy Ishmael Johnson, I’m really excited for him because he’s guest-spotting with us a week before the convention. He has his own private studio in Fort Collins, Co. ( Uzi works at American Graffiti in Sacramento. Danny Reed is just awesome. He does badass tattoos—clean, solid, bold—stuff that looks like a tough old man would be wearing.

SLUG: What do you like or dislike about tattoo conventions?
King: Dealing with tattooers’ egos is shitty … just people having attitudes. This convention is really awesome, they always get awesome professionals. Everybody at the shop is working there, taking turns.

SLUG: What’s the best tattoo you’ve seen done at a convention?
King: It was at the State of Grace convention in San Jose, some of the best tattoos I’ve ever seen in my life. Some really cool Chad Koeplinger pieces, Robert Ryan, Mario Desa … It was a lot to take in.

SLUG: What kind of artwork do you want to do at the convention?
King: I’m down to do whatever people come up and want.  Cool skulls, roses, snakes, daggers, stuff that makes people feel good about themselves. You can come to me with stars and kanji, and I’m going to make them last. I just want to do walk ups, I want to have my own flash painted and have people pick off of that. I don’t like the idea of going to the Salt Palace down the street with an appointment.

This is your first time tattooing at a convention. How is it going to be different from being at your shop?
King: When I was there before [as a patron], I was just there to chat with friends that were in town tattooing, get paintings or prints, buy machines, buy shirts, get reference books. It’s going to be different because I’m going to be in work mode, which I’m hyped about.

SLUG: If you could get tattooed by anyone dead or alive, who would you pick?
King: Bob Wicks, Cap Coleman, Charlie Wagner, Stoney St. Clair… Horiyoshi I, that’d be cool … I could go on for hours and hours, I don’t have the room to get tattooed by everybody I’d want to.