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.