Jakes Botha, Superior Tattoos – South Africa
For this weeks Artist Spotlight Another Tattoo went international, all the way to South Africa to catch up with artist Jakes Botha. Jakes is the owner/artist of Superior Tattoos & Body Piercing located at North Rand Rd, East Rand Galleria Jansenpark, Boksburg 1459, South Africa. Jakes’ studio has been open since 1994 and has been in numerous publications like Get It, Oslyf, and Biker Lifestyle. We caught up with Jakes to discuss the tattoos and to learn how the tattoo culture in South Africa compares to what we see here in the US.
AnoTat2: You have been tattooing since 1994; how did you get into tattooing?
Jakes: I became interested in tattooing at the age of thirteen seeing my dad do his own tattoos the old way with only a couple of needles grouped together with some thread and Indian ink. Together with my dad we made a little homemade tattoo machine and I started to do his tattoos for him and since then came to love the art. During 1993 I imported my first tattoo machines and everything that goes with it from the US and started to practice on pig skin to get some more experience tattooing with proper equipment. Most of my old tattoos were mostly custom drawings due to the lack of enough flash but that helped a lot in doing freehand work on clients that want the one of a kind piece you don’t see on every corner.
AnoTat2: Where you always into art and drawing?
Jakes: Drawing has always been a passion; instead of toys I just wanted some pencils and a book.
AnoTat2: What other mediums do you like to work with?
Jakes: During 2013 I took up airbrushing as a hobby, just to keep the artistic juices flowing, and I’m currently customizing bikes and bike helmets in my spare time with my new way of making not only people but also their rides unique.
AnoTat2: When did you get your first tattoo? What was it and any story behind it?
Jakes: I got my first tattoo at the age of thirteen which I did on myself with the homemade machine. It was the Motley crew logo who was, at that stage, my favorite band but since then has been covered.
AnoTat2: From your online portfolio it seems you like doing a wide range of tattoo styles; is there one style you prefer to do?
Jakes: I don’t really prefer a specific style of tattooing but must add that black and grey and realism is some of my favorites. Something I feel is very boring to do is tribal tattoos, not to get on the wrong side of the artists that specialize in it, but it’s just not for me.
AnoTat2: Have you ever turned a client down due to artistic or their attitude conflict?
Jakes: During the years I’ve come across a lot of weird requests and designs that clients wanted to get done and in most cases changed their minds for the better. I feel that if you as an artist are not happy or comfortable in doing a certain piece, then don’t do it. I’ve also turned away a lot of people who wants the spur of the moment tattoo, you just know they will regret it the next day and that’s not helping the industry at all.
AnoTat2: Which artist have influenced you or have driven you to push your limits as an artist?
Jakes: Artists whose work I really like is Mike De Vries, Nikko Hurtado, Andy Engel, Paul Booth, Nate Beavers, Alex De Pase, Carl Grace, Keith Ciaramellos and Josua Carlton.
AnoTat2: You have been into tattooing long before they (tattoos) became mainstream; what do you think about how popular the industry has become?
Jakes: Since I started in the tattoo industry the popularity has really grown a lot. The old folks that use to think it were only for the rotten apples are also getting in on the action now and I must say some are going all out and inked up. The acceptance came with all the tattoo TV programs bringing the tattoo artist into every home. This I feel has been a good thing for the industry to bring the people out of the dark ages so they can see first hand what real tattooing is all about. The negative side of this is that everyone thinks they’re tattoo artists now and the rude awakening is not with them but the unfortunate client. I think these programs should teach people what to look for in a studio and artist before getting work done. A cheap tattoo is not good and a good tattoo is not cheap type of advice.
AnoTat2: Do you attend other conventions throughout year?
Jakes: Due to the fact of being sole owner and artist at Superior Tattoos and husband and father of two sons at home I unfortunately don’t get around to attend conventions and feel that my convention is held in my studio every day with each client leaving with the trophy of my best work…..
See more of Jakes work below in the photo gallery.~ ☠ AnoTat2 ∴