A Traveling Tattoo Artist? The Way to Go!

Meet Zach Nelligan of Triple Crown Tattoo. He is the hand and tattoo artist behind my chest piece (also known as my lovely, LOOK AT ME I’M FROM TEXAS, YA’LL, tattoo) along with our 5th wedding anniversary matching tattoos. He not only has his own unique “old school” style but is constantly traveling all over and is booked all the time. He is the man to go to. I’m always dropping his name so why not do an interview on what makes the guy tick?


Hey Zach! Why don’t you tell us about some of the places have you gone to work around the world?

I mostly travel to work domestically. Internationally, I’ve worked in France, Spain, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, and Iceland. Sometimes I work at conventions, and sometimes it’s at shops.

Which ones were your favorite and why? (I know everyone hates this question. It is always a toughie!)

As a country, my favorite has been Italy. The countryside is beautiful, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the people are extremely gracious. Everybody that I have interacted with has gone so far out of their way to be hospitable. I can’t wait to explore more of it. As a city, my favorite has been Paris. It’s so vast and so old that there’s something awesome around every corner. It’s so full of art and history, and the Metro makes it super easy and fast to navigate.

So how did you find out that you could make a living traveling the world and tattooing?

Travelling is something that comes with tattooing. All recognized tattooers travel. It started out with tattooers following the work. With sailors and military moving from place to place, the tattooers would follow the money. Now it’s just become part of it. Most people don’t have to travel, but why wouldn’t you? There is still an element of following the money sometimes, but it’s not as much of a necessity anymore. It helps to spread your notoriety, and you’re able to pay for the trip while working.

Does tattoo culture differ in different countries? How? (Or how are they the same?)

Yeah, tattoo culture varies from place to place, but all the places I’ve been to are Westernized, so you see all the same trends in most places. Certain areas have more of a collector culture than others, where people are a lot more committed and into being covered by really good tattoos than others. Stylistic preferences and general attitudes about tattoos vary as much abroad as they do in the States. In some foreign cultures it is still a little more taboo to have much visible tattooing, but that’s dissolving pretty quickly as everything becomes more homogenized.

What surprised you the most about your travels?

I haven’t really had any big surprises in my travels. French people don’t really have many visible tattoos, so they have no problem staring at your arms sometimes on the Metro. That kind of surprised me because I figured it was so artsy and metropolitan, but whatever.

What do you have planned for future travels?

I don’t have any crazy trips coming up soon. San Francisco at Idle Hand in a couple weeks, probably the Portland convention in October, and probably Europe again in the Spring.

Thank you so much for giving us a bit of your time out of your insane schedule, Zach! If you are looking for a tattoo artist in Austin (or happen to catch him abroad), you can check out his portfolio at ZachNelligan.com (where he also lists where he will be) and/or contact him on his contact page.


24 Responses to “A Traveling Tattoo Artist? The Way to Go!”

  1. Wends of Journeys and Travels August 20, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    I love tattoos and I got mine too. 🙂 These colorful tattoos are just great.

    • Erica August 23, 2012 at 9:53 am #

      Aren’t they?! I love his work.

  2. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures August 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    His work is incredible, what a fun job!

    • Erica August 23, 2012 at 9:53 am #

      When I worked as a counter girl for the tattoo shop – it was one of the most interesting and fun jobs I ever had.

  3. Melissa - The Mellyboo Project August 21, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    WOW! Incredible tattoos! Beautiful work!

    • Erica August 23, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      There is a reason he is always booked. He rocks my socks!

  4. Rease August 22, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    This article makes me smile. I love that the first thing you said to me was “You’re the only other travel blogger with a chest piece I have ever met” 🙂

    We should totally get tattooed by this guy together someday.

    • Erica August 23, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      You took me by surprise! I had no clue!

      And sure! I’ve already gotten two from him, what is one more?!

      <3 <3 <3

  5. The Travel Fool August 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Great Old School work. Every time you get one your hoping the artist is good and it doesn’t turn up on somebody’s failed tattoo site. You found a good artist.

    • Erica August 29, 2012 at 4:25 am #

      Right?! I love his old school style! I worked in the industry for 3 years so I’m EXTREMELY picky about how gets to work on me!

  6. Ali August 28, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    I love it, good interview! I love that he said, why not travel? Just another way to see the world and make some money along the way doing what you love!

    • Erica August 29, 2012 at 4:25 am #

      …kind of what we do… 😛

  7. Diana Edelman August 29, 2012 at 4:12 am #

    His work is stunning!!

  8. Abby August 29, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    His work is so beautiful! Aside from yours, my favorite is the back in the last photo. Wow. The whole idea of traveling and tattooing seems like it’s a throwback to another time. How romantic! And of COURSE you have a tattoo artist who travels the world!

  9. Emily in Chile August 29, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    I love the colors! This guy looks seriously talented.

    • Erica September 1, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

      …AND FAST! Not only is he great but he is super light handed and quick!

  10. Ayngelina August 29, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I had to laugh about French people staring, somehow I am not surprised.

  11. Raymond @ Man On The Lam August 30, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    I need me some more tattoos. Is he coming to Oman any time soon? 🙂

    • Erica September 1, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

      Yeah… highly doubt it.

  12. Federico August 30, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Great work! And a fantastic way to sponsor his trips.

  13. Camels & Chocolate August 31, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Those are some serious tattoos. Seriously beautiful, that is!

  14. Will September 6, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    Those are absolutely amazing! I like the matching heads 🙂

    • Erica September 16, 2012 at 11:31 am #

      Thanks Will! We thought long and hard for sure – but with our 10th coming up, I’m wondering how we top it?


  1. The Best Travel Blogs and Posts in August | The HostelBookers Blog - August 31, 2012

    […] Erica and Shaun from OverYonderlust love their tattoos, we all know that, but in A Travelling Tattoo Artist? The Way to Go! We meet the man behind the skill Zach Nelligan and her about his fascinating job. Nice little intro […]

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