Dale Sarok is a fine art graduate, and tattoo apprentice at Vida Loca Tattoo in Bolton. Using his fine art experience, and drawing inspiration from his personal, and spiritual life experiences, Dale creates some of the most detailed, and awe inspiring pieces known to the illustration and tattoo art world. We had a chat with Dale about his work,and his beautiful piece, Ad Infinitum, which was designed exclusively for our screen print series: Paradise.
Q: Hi Dale, how are you doing today?
A: Very well thanks, just catching up on some work
Q: Firstly, we’d just like to thank you for creating one of the most beautiful pieces of artwork for us, we knew you were good but sheesh, mind = blown.
A: Thank you! I’m just grateful for the opportunity and glad that you’re happy with it
Q: You’re a fine art graduate; can you tell us a bit about your time in University?
A: I spent 6 years studying Fine Art; 3 at college, and then 3 at University. I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up after graduating, so I was just trying to concentrate on getting a nice body of work together, rather than chasing grades.
I was given the chance to work with some extremely talented artists whilst at University, which was a very humbling experience. I feel like I have learnt so much just from watching and working with like-minded people. I’d recommend university to any aspiring artists.
Q: You’re currently an apprentice at a tattoo studio; tell us a bit about that?
A: My Dad was a tattooist, so it’s sort of like the family trade! He’s retired now however, and I had a lot of trouble trying to find a good apprenticeship, it took me nearly 5 years from when I started looking, but I think it’s a lot easier to get one now from the look of things. When I started out I had to work 45 hours a week unpaid for nearly 2 years before I was allowed to hold a machine, I also had to make 3 flash sheets a week in my spare time or I lost my job, that’s the old fashioned way and I really feel like I earned it.
Q: How have you found the transition from fine art painting to tattooing?
A: A lot of my more recent work is quite illustrative and easily transfers over to tattooing but I like to think I could do a bit of anything if needed. You have to remember that you are providing a service when tattooing so you are not always given creative control, but it’s always nice when customers ask for you specifically. I’m quite lucky in the respect – I’m still an apprentice but I still get the opportunity to tattoo quite a lot of my own work.
Q: Your line work and ability to draw fine details to almost perfection is quite awe-inspiring; talk us through how you produce your pieces?
A: I never actually plan anything out, I usually have a very basic idea of what I’m going to do and then I just make it up as I go along. I start from the middle and then work outwards, almost always trying to keep symmetry. I can barely use a computer so I really need to get everything right the first time in pen. I had to get someone at work to show me how to crop something on Photoshop the other week, maybe I’ll learn how to use it (Photoshop) one day.
Q: What or whom do you find are your creative influences?
A: The old masters; Durer, Goya, Vesalius, Haeckel etc., Geometry, Astronomy, Buddhism, and of course, good music.
Q: Tell us about the piece you did for Skull & Heart.
A: It’s the first print design I’ve made in over a year, and I was really excited to get started. I felt a lot of pressure after seeing the other 3 amazing artist’s prints before mine in the series, so I just tried to do the best job I could. My idea came about from contemplating purgatory, life, and reincarnation, and then I just took it from there. I think it’s good to allow a piece room for change while you work, this is one of the main reasons that I try not to plan ahead too much.
Q: Can you tell us about any future projects in the works?
A: I’m just finishing up some promo work for a Jimmy Hendrix tribute album being released by an American label: Magnetic Eye records, and then I have 3 shirt designs to do for UK band Architects, alongside my tattoo design work for customers of course.
Q: And of course, Skulls or Hearts?
A: Always skulls
All available artwork from Dale Sarok is available to purchase in our online store. Please click the images below to be directed to the item you are interested in.