Isaiah Toothtaker     

Published Summer 2016
Quo Vadis.

Like whisperings of a great urban legend, the name Toothtaker kept on appearing to me through others previously interviewed and so once I had done a little research, realised just why his name is so important to contemporary tattooing across the world. I will say this much- Toothtaker is a trailblazer; a man of tradition, an inspiration in and out of tattooing and a alchemist, concocting a style full of street appeal, psychedelica and timeless Americana.

What’s the worst job that you had before being a tattooer? Washing dishes on the weekend graveyard shift at a busy 24hour diner called The Grill in downtown Tucson, back when downtown was grimy as fuck. What is your birth name? Isaiah Philip Camacho. In what ways has your style changed since you began tattooing? I think it’s constantly changing so that would be a difficult answer for me, especially since I try to improve with every tattoo. Sometimes the style is dictated by technical approach other times there’s a streamline looseness that isn’t directed by a formula. It’s always interchangeable. The first 5 years of my career I primarily did black & grey cherry creek style flash or Jack Rudy flash off the walls in a street shop. Now that most my work has a traditional americana take I guess that’s the most prominent difference. It’s been a long time since then tho. Also for approximately 10 years I mostly lined with long taper 5s & 7s & tattooed as fast as I could, now I don’t. There’s subtle changes that can be identified in that way. What makes an ideal customer? Someone who allows me full liberty on design & placement. Someone who takes care to heal their tattoo properly. What do you need the most, right now? To be off Intensive Probation Supervision. To finish these 4 books I started reading this week. Tell me a little about your next scheduled tattoo. It’s a forward facing wolf head on an upper stomach. it’ll be done with some color but mostly black whip shading. Do you think apprenticeships are still important in producing a well rounded artist? Absolutely. I also think these motherfuckers need to finish their apprenticeships & do right by their mentors. There’s a lot of ungrateful people looking to social climb or cheat their way to an identity through tattooing. That shit needs to be spoken on more regularly so it can be collectively mitigated. Apprenticeships are important because it teaches etiquette & humility along with insights to maintain the propriety of our culture/community. What three pieces (by any tattooers) stick out in your mind as being particularly unforgettable or groundbreaking? This fucks me up cause as soon as I think of 3 I think of 3 more, then 3 more & 3 more. Literally every back piece by @Joel_soos or anything by @Steve_Byrne_tattoo or @Scumboy666 or @DustyNeal …I could keep listing this question is so fucked. What is the first non-english word that comes to mind? Sephirot What fast-food is most likely to be bought by you? Really don’t eat that garbage anymore, maybe a coffee if that counts. I can’t fuck with all the chemicals & preservatives in fast food, that shit is trash. What’s the first machine you ever bought? A Micky Sharpz micro dial. If you could be an animal for a day, what would you be? Shit, they say the natural man already has a monkey mind. What three tattooers embody your vision of contemporary tattooing? The Grime, Chad Koeplinger & Bert Krak. What is loose pocket change most likely to be spent on? Cigars & books. How important is collaboration to you as a tattooer? I’m ok with it. What has tattooing taught you? Patience.