Ink…and just a little bit of blood.

Ink…and just a little bit of blood.

Posted by Carlee Benito on

I actually don’t like getting tattooed. It sucks. It hurts like crazy and it takes sheer willpower for me to stay fairly still for that long. I may not enjoy the process, but I love the outcome once the tattooer is done as well as the stories and conversations that are had during the session.

I was just scrolling through Instagram last Summer and I came across the feed of Austin, Texas based tattooer/foodie/world traveler, Chad Koeplinger. After a few months of ‘liking’ his posts, I reached out to Chad to see if he was in need of a small care-package of our socks since he was traveling so much. That kicked off some further chats about skateboarding, socks, good food and ‘meeting up soon to get a tattoo done.’

Fast forward to the beginning of December when Chad hit me up letting me know that he was going to be guest-tattooing at Captured Tattoo in Tustin, CA which is owned by world-renowned tattoo artist, Dan Smith. I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to have him do a piece for me at such a well-respected shop.

The first week of February rolled around and it was GO time. While I was trying to breathe through the pain, I asked him a few questions just to get to know this artist better and here are just a few points we touched on:

VM: “How long have you been tattooing and where are you from?”
CP: “18 years this year….since August 16th, 1997 and I’m from beautiful Saginaw, Michigan!”

VM: “Skateboarding comes up a lot in our conversation and it’s a huge part of your life as a kid and even to this day…Who are you favorite skateboarders?”
CP: “…my all time favorite dudes were these two local guys: Adam Bolt and Rob Van Tol….both were amazing and they skated with so much power….but as far as the pros or guys I saw in magazines and videos, it would be Matt Hensley, Mark Gonzales, Jason Lee, Chris Pastras and Ron Chatman. The first Blind video “Video Days”, World Industries “Rubbish Heap” and H-Street’s “Hokus Pokus” will forever be my favorites.”

VM: “What’s your favorite food? Genre or dish?”
CP: “Oh man, Indian is probably number one. Maybe Thai also….but I love a tasting menu with many small courses…”

VM: “How many days a year do you travel to tattoo?”
CP: “I’m on the road anywhere between 250-300 days a year! For about 12 years running I wasn’t anywhere for more than 14 days in a row. I have tattooed at 88 tattoo shops so far….if you include conventions and everything, I’ve been to 107 cities, in 72 countries worldwide. I’ve tattooed on every continent except Antarctica. I love to visit Montreal, Paris and Tokyo but my favorite place in the world is Varanasi in India.”

As our time was coming to an end, it was clear that we are going to meet up again sometime in the near future to share a meal, talk about skateboarding or shoes and continue to be homies wherever we are located.

Thanks and much respect to Dan Smith and his whole crew at Captured Tattoo for the time and hospitality and next time you find yourself in Tustin, CA hit them up or give Rock of Ages Tattooing in Austin, Texas a shout and maybe you’ll catch Chad there posted up in his home base shop before he heads off to another adventure.


“Gettin’ my EAGLE on…”

Chad Koeplinger getting it done hurts.

Dan Smith of Captured Tattoo (L) and Chad Koeplinger (R)
Tattooing icons: Dan Smith and Chad Koeplinger

Yes, I may be wincing just a bit…