I've been tattooing since 1996. I own Whistler Street Tattoo in Manly located at 5/18 Whistler Street in Manly 2095. Read my full story below.
I began drawing at a young age due to not having a TV to sit in front of as my brother and I were growing up. My dad was always painting our motorcycle helmets, motocross bikes and our dragster so I was always seeing some type of artwork going on.
As a kid I was a hardcore fan of “Cartoons” magazine, a magazine dedicated to cartoons/drawings and artwork of hot rods. I still have a folder filled with various cars I drew from this influence. In 1987 I joined the Navy and began to learn some discipline and travel a bit. I was always the joker who would draw cartoons at someone’s misfortune from the day before…often getting into trouble for stating the painful truth. My biggest influences were Cartoons and Mad magazine, Ed Roth, George Trosley, and Don Martin.
My dad started getting tattoos when I was in High School and I always admired them in metal band magazines…Mötley Crüe, Ozzy, Kiss and Poison were some of the bands I was into back then. I got my first tattoo from Scott Sterling in 1988 at Sailor Moses’ shop “California Tattoo Studio” in Biloxi Mississippi. We made the 6+ hour drive from Ft. Walton Beach Florida so my dad could continue the work Sailor was doing on him. I chose a dragon on a dagger from some old flash and Scott added some flames around it. Little did I know back then that the flash I chose was from an Ed Hardy flash sheet. My next 2 tattoos were from Sailor in 1990 and 1991. His shop was really cool, the walls were covered with flash and he tattoos me with his shirt off and a cigarette in his mouth which I thought was super gangster. Sailor passed away years ago and Scott is a machine builder/tattooist in Virginia. Although I don’t use it very often I have one of his custom made machines. Their apprentice at the time was Shahn Anderson who owns and tattoos at Electric Dragonland Tattoo in Hopkins Mn.
My brother learned to tattoo around 1992 and taught my dad from 1993-1994. I was always interested in learning and after returning from a 6-month deployment with a Bomb Disposal Team they gave me a big supply of tattoo equipment and an apprenticeship. I made thousands of needles and began tattooing my dads buddies. For the next 11 years I tattooed on and off while in the Navy. When I deployed to Iraq as a Bomb Disposal Technician with SEAL Team 5, one of the SEAL’s and I tattooed in make-shift tattoo shops we set up on our FOB (Forward Operating Base). When we weren’t out doing bad things to bad people I could be found tattooing the guys. It was a great outlet to have between missions.
In November 2007 I said goodbye to the Navy and retired, moving with my family to Sydney Australia. I began working at Manly Tattoo in December 2007 and moved to Dee Why Tattoo when it opened on January 18, 2008 as manager and tattoo artist. I worked at Dee Why until February 2018 when we closed it’s doors for good. In March of 2018 I opened up Whistler Street Tattoo in Manly which is on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.