Rob Hoskins Talks Changing Priorities, “Old School” Starts and Dot-Work...
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 Edmonton artist and conspiracy theorist, Rob Hoskins.
Name: Rob Hoskins
Years tattooing: 20 years
Year actually good at it? hah: Good? Ha! I’d say mediocre at best, lol...
Place of business: Messe Noire Studios, Edmonton, Canada
Instagram: Rob Hoskins
Patrick Coste: Good day Rob, how’ve you been, my favourite conspiracy theorist? Lol! I’ve missed your mug quite a bit my friend!
Rob Hoskins: Hello sir! I’m doing great my friend. What a weird time, eh? Aliens are real.
PC: You crack me up man! I hear a pandemic is a good time to open a studio apparently? Too soon? Seriously, congratulations and what the h*** right? Must be a bit hard to deal with all that... How did you manage all of that, if I may ask?!
RH: Oh, there’s no such thing as timing! Lol. Thank you! I only had to emigrate to the other side of the planet to open a studio and when I do, there’s a global pandemic… Nothing like doing things the most difficult way! In all honesty, life is actually ok. I’m not stressed or concerned at all, because everyone’s in the same situation! It would be great to get back to tattooing and the ‘normal’ day-to-day sooner rather than later, but all things considered it could be far worse!
Hopefully this current situation will make people realize how good life actually was, and to make the best of things from here. It’s funny how the little things/personal politics don’t really matter when you’re faced with something of this magnitude...
PC: Nonetheless you ended up doing it, and you’re ready to go back. With all the thinking and self-regulation, what will be the next step for you guys?
RH: Trying to find extra days in the week for the backlog of clients will be the toughest challenge at this point, lol! Since day one, we operated as an ‘appointment only’ studio which suits us perfectly. We close our doors once all clients are checked in so we don’t worry about foot traffic etc.
I chose an out-of-the way location specifically for that reason, and as we only have one client per day, we have no problems adhering to the upcoming precautions/guidelines that’ll be in place.
PC: You’ve got to come over here man! Lol! How do you keep yourself busy these days? Do you go to the shop often?
RH: Yeah, it’s been a while since we’ve been out to the East coast! I really dialled down my travelling/convention schedule in the last few years as I felt I wasn’t concentrating enough on the important things in life. When you’re travelling or living the convention lifestyle, you kinda forget how important healthy eating and a good night’s sleep really are. Either that or I’m getting old, hahaha!
I really started to concentrate more on my client projects since cutting back on the travelling, and it really makes for a better quality of life. It’s hard to give your all and truly focus on your clients’ needs if you’re 3000 miles away from home. That takes some sacrifice, and travelling (in this day and age) isn’t of such importance to my career these days.
Since this lockdown started, I’ve found a real love for art/painting again and it feels like a privilege to be creative of your own free will. I’ve all but put down my iPad as it feels comparatively stale and lifeless compared to actually putting paint to canvas, and I’ve started to actually enjoy making mistakes! But aside from that, kinda taking it easy and enjoying this government enforced time off!
PC: I've been thinking about, and I don't really know, how you ended up tattooing? I don't think we’ve ever spoken about that?
RH: Well, I realized that, before I even started tattooing, I was completely unemployable so I had to do something about that. Lol! Back then it was still ‘old school’ and a real departure from the life us tattooers have now. There certainly was no ‘Ink Master’ or ‘celebrity’ tattooers! We’re talking back alley, dark dingy tattoo shops where tattooers smoked cigarettes during your tattoo and the attitudes were even darker! I recall it was a very closed, secretive industry.
I’m pretty much self taught to be honest, and from that I feel I’ve never really had the boundaries that some tattooers may face, especially when it comes to the artistic aspect. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my fair share of tribal, kanji and Cherry Creek flash!
PC: What made you love dot-work so much?
RH: I’ll be completely honest it’s the only style I find, that consistently challenges me and gives me ‘push back’ if you will. I’m extremely lucky to have clients who trust my ideas and literally give me free rein over their projects with little or no input from themselves. That in itself is daunting, but really makes me want to go the extra mile for my clients.
PC: I know you’re a traveler, where will you travel next?
RH: You mean if this isn’t the end of the world? Hahaha! Well, I’m concentrating mainly on my studio for now, but I may consider doing some travelling in the future... who knows? I certainly don’t miss jet lag, that’s for sure!
Thanks for taking time to chat Patrick, it’s always a pleasure to chat to a man with a beard as majestic as yours!
Find Rob’s studio online! www.messenoirestudios.ca