Andy Canino on sacrifice, honesty and confidence
Andy Canino started out with a basic tattooing kit and a natural talent for art. He figured out how to tattoo on his own, and has been tattooing professionally for almost a decade. He is now co-owner of Dedication Tattoo. Westword recently sat down with Canino, who talked about making sacrifices, being honest with himself and the importance of confidence.
Andy Canino prefers traditional tattoos with strong lines and bold colors.
Westword: How long have you been tattooing?
Andy Canino: I've been in a shop for about nine years now. I was tattooing prior to that out of my house, being one of those guys.
How did you get into tattooing? What drew you to the art form?
I started getting tattooed at sixteen up in Fort Collins. My godmother signed for me to get my first one. I just kept getting tattoos there and I kept asking a lot of questions. At one point, the guy I was getting tattooed by was like, "Hey, you're asking a lot of questions. Is this something you want to get into?" I'm like seventeen at the time, like, "Yeah, absolutely, man." He said to give him X amount of dollars and we would get me set up with everything I'd need. So I did, and he did, kind of. He got me the basics, though. I took it home, set it all up the best that I could, and realized I had no idea what I was doing. So I went back to talk to him and he was gone. He had essentially disappeared off the face of the planet. So I was stuck with all this tattoo gear and, being some dumb kid, I was like, "Well, I'll figure it out." Having roots in art my whole life -- my mom raised me to be an artist; she said, "Here's a crayon, figure out what to do with it" -- well, here's a tattoo machine, figure out what to do with it. So I did it to the best of my ability, a bunch of trial and error on myself and on my friends -- mostly error. I learned a lot of what not to do. Looking back on it, I'm surprised I made some of the tattoos that I did. But yeah, you know, here we are now. It worked out okay. It probably took longer that it should have, figuring out how to do everything, but I got the hang of it eventually.
What styles do you like to work in?
Preferentially, I like to do traditional stuff -- strong lines, black shading, dense color. But I like to do tattoos that look like tattoos. The first shop I worked at was more along the lines of a street shop, where people would come in and pick stuff off the walls. There was a lot on the walls to choose from in every style so, advantageously, that gave me the opportunity to expand my abilities as far as what kind of tattoos I can make. If someone comes in the door wanting a black-and-gray tattoo, I can do it. If someone wants Japanese style, I love doing Japanese stuff. It's a lot of fun. I would like to think I can accommodate most requests. But I try to stick with traditional as much as I can. A lot of my clients and return clients are typically getting traditional stuff from me. Mostly just tattoos that look like tattoos.
Continue reading for the rest of the Q&A with Canino.