Before Harris settled in Kyle about eight years ago, he said he traveled all over the world and spent a lot of time in New York and Los Angeles.
“I started tattooing in 2004,” he said. “I was just a kid. I was 18, and so I was ... sick of working in factories and loading trucks. So, I did a tattoo for a buddy at his house [one day], and it seemed like something that was fun.”
Since then, Harris started honing his craft, tattooing his friends and whoever else would let him.
In his near two decades of tattooing professionally, Harris said he’s learned one of the prime traits an artist needs is confidence—a quality he looks for when bringing on a new tattoo artist to subcontract at Faces in the Dark.
Skill is another factor.
Harris’ scouting acumen for artists is one factor he attributes to a steadily increasing clientele, which has subsequently led to a steadily increasing roster of artists. Faces in the Dark now has eight, including Harris.
“We’d hire someone, and then three or four months later they’d be booked for two or three months [solid],” he said. “Then it’s like, well, OK, there’s no one else left to do tattoos, so we have to get someone else.”
With regard to the primary style of tattoos at Faces in the Dark, Harris said one aesthetic in particular dominates clients’ requests.
“I’d say 90% of what we do is realism,” he said. “It’s a lot of black and grey realism ... and that style demands custom [tattoos].”
Grant pointed out that Faces in the Dark can accommodate a range of styles, but agreed with Harris that the lion’s share of the tattoos are black and grey realism.
“I feel like people know us for realism in general,” she said. “There are not a lot of places that can do portraits well.”
Because of the caliber of artists who work out of his studio, Harris and Grant said the ideal client is willing to allow the artists ample creative freedom.
The client should have an idea of what they want, and that can at times translate into a high degree of specificity, but Harris said ultimately the tattoo artists are going to know how best to get the finished product onto skin.
“Come in with an idea,” he said. “If you want a portrait of your dog with some flowers, don’t come in here and say, ‘It has to be this photo. I have to have these flowers.’ [Instead], tell us what kind of flowers you like. Give me 10
pictures of your dog that you’d be willing to wear. Then let me decide which one is going to transfer into a better tattoo.
121 Hall Professional Center, Ste. E, Kyle
Hours: Tue.-Sat. noon-8 p.m.; Sun. noon-6 p.m.; Mon. closed