Kegan Hawkins is a hyper realistic tattoo artist, and he works at Newcastle Australia in Old Faithful tattoo studio.
“With a portrait tattoo, I think it’s more a case of artists just not getting things right. If you tattoo an apple, a flower, a pocket watches you have a lot of leniencies. You can make mistakes and do your own thing, and it’ll still look like an apple unless you’re terrible.
When you tattoo a portrait, if you make lips too big, face too fat/skinny, eyes too far apart/too close, if you do things too dark/not dark enough, if your values are wrong, it’s pretty safe to say, it’s not going to look right. You need to be able to read values in a portrait, determine what is necessary, what’s irrelevant and what will hold up over time. All of which is a process I am still working on, and I will probably continuing to work on until the finish. There’s always something I wish I had done differently. I have seen work by artists such as Carlos Rojas, Nikko Hurtado, Mike Devries, Bob Tyrell, later on by Chris Nieves and Harley Kirkwood, and was so inspired. I wanted to be able to produce that level of work. I guess I’ve always been competitive, so when I tried my first portrait, failing wasn’t an option.
I had always been fascinated by tattoos for as long as I can remember and wanted to get into it. All through school, I used to draw up my arms and tell my parents and teachers I was going to be a tattoo artist. They used to laugh and tell me to wake up; there was no future in it. I tried getting an apprenticeship after year 10, and again after year 12 of high school and told I couldn’t draw and wouldn’t make it.
When I was doing my apprenticeship as a heavy metal fabricator, I was offered a tattoo apprenticeship by Scott Kelb, who I became good friends with and, after finishing in the metal fab, started tattooing. I owe him everything for trusting me.
There are so many amazing artists out there at the moment pushing the envelope. I feed off the progression of my friends in the industry. People such as Ben Laukis, Matthew (Bumer) Joyce, Sam Nugent, Fabz, to name just a few. Makes me hate them a little. I guess I just try to have as much fun as I can with my tattoos and what you see is what you get.”
Kegan Hawkins Contact
Old Faithful Tattoo Studio Charlestown Location178 Pacific Hwy Charlestown, NSW 2290