Dane Hiltz Talks Life In The Boondocks of Nova Scotia, Traditional Tattooing, And Secret Societies...
Point to Point takes you behind the needle to share the personal journeys of tattoo artists like you. Drawing inspiration, spreading respect and love… This time we’re talking with Nova Scotia artist Dane Hiltz.
Name: Dane Hiltz
Years tattooing: 6 years
Year actually good at it? hah: Good? Ha! I’d say mediocre at best, lol...
Place of business: Freedom Electric Tattoo, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Patrick Coste: Welcome back to tattooing Dane! Like everyone else, you've been self-isolating for a while. I saw that you were slaving away every day like clockwork! How did you make out during these strange times? Any sign of hope in your neck of the woods?
Dane Hiltz: Hi Patrick, thank you! Well you know, little old me out here in the boonies trying to get it done! I appreciate you keeping me in mind! COVID sure feels pretty much over, here in Antigonish. No new cases for a while... we’re still nervous though.
I did actually enjoy the downtime for once. Took time with my kids, my wife. It was a good time overall as we were safe.
You’re right, I drew every day. I had time to do 50+ flash sheets and 35+ split sheets, all good. I went digital and it’s easy to get across the country, and then you can create a book and all. Quite fun!
PC: You’ve been back since the 5th of June right? Did you see a difference, besides the new procedures?
DH: Yup, back at it since… since the 8th actually, on a Monday. Man, I’m booked solid til September! Feels great! Lol...
PC: Feels like you wanna take three months off every year eh? Lol, to get that momentum.
PC: Dane, we’ve noticed over the years that you’re a true warrior, a hard working man, you like to be involved. You’re an entrepreneur at heart, so what’s next for you my man? You must’ve had plans for this year?
DH: Thank you, I had a great year planned out... quite a few guest spots at @whitelotus in Fredericton, at Three of Swords in Halifax. We had to postpone all of those, plus the Moncton and Fredericton tattoo conventions are not looking so good either, and I understand why!
Being booked so far off in advance is a new thing for me, and it’s what’s changed most for me really. The shop feels like a private studio these days, so planning for those guests is a bit tough as it’s so long in advance, but all the same very exciting! We’ll plan for August if all goes well ;)
PC: This is a question I ask artists almost every time, and it‘s one of my favourites... How did you end up tattooing? Did you do a “classic” apprenticeship?
DH: Yes I did. I’m from Nova Scotia, on the South Shore. I ended up going to university here with my wife. She stuck with it, it didn’t work well for me lol, so I became a welder by trade.
I was getting tattooed by Shawn Brophy and Josh Dobbs a while ago, ended up being there a lot and was using the drawing table, and left a drawing there one day. The day after, they asked if it was me who left it there and if I had more at home!
PC: Oh nice, and holy crap! Did you mop the floors and clean the bathroom with a toothbrush?
DH: Yes and no, haha, it was easier than most I would say. I did mop the floors though, lol. I couldn't have had it better. We were buds before it happened, so it was all out of respect and natural, they treated me well and gave me a hard time. I was rubbernecking and skating on paper and drawing... those are my humble beginnings.
I ended up doing a spin on traditional as it caught my eye in the very beginning. You know, bold colour, the foundation is definitely there. I’ve only been here for a short while, so I’m gonna carve my own again and again and see what’s gonna happen
PC: While lurking your profile, lol, I saw that you’re part of a secret society! I’m gonna do my Sherlock Holmes bit and investigate and try to get some info here! Lol. Really though, can you elaborate on that? Can you tell us the secret handshake?
DH: No, I can’t tell you about that, man. Come on, lol, but I can elaborate. It’s the Oddfellows. I'm Noble Grand here in Antigonish. It’s a fraternal organization that dates back to the 1840’s here in Canada, similar to the freemasons but in different ways. We meet a couple of times a month. It’s evolved quite a bit... we have ladies now and more ethnicity. We organize fundraisers for local charities and get involved in many ways such as the women’s shelter here in Antigonish, with the community, and YES you have to be initiated to get in! It’s great to know you can travel around the world, find a lodge and be sure you’re welcome.
PC: Thank you so much Dane, you’re a truly passionate person and…
DH: Oh! I just wanted to add, I LOVE the new ES500 lol...
PC: Haha, thank you! I sure love them as well. You won a red one, that’s right, I remember. Feels like aeons ago...Thank you again so much for your support over the years Dane, it’s worth its weight in gold to us! All the best, be well, be sharp!