Steve LaMantia Ever After Gallery Florida
In this Artist Spotlight we caught up with Steve LaMantia of Ever After Gallery located in Spring Hill, Florida. Steve’s neo traditional tattoos and clean work has earned him a great reputation in the tattoo community. We caught up with Steve between appointments and construction of his new shop, Ever After Gallery.
You have been tattooing since 2003; how did you first get involved in tattooing?
By accident. I have a degree in Graphic Design and thought that’s what I wanted to do. After college I spent a few years doing graphic art and actually hated it. I went to get tattooed by a friend of mine and was bitching to him about my job. Knowing that I had artistic ability, he asked if I’ve ever thought about tattooing and offered an apprenticeship.
So you have always been into art?
How old were you when you got your first tattoo? What was it? An story behind it?
I was 19. I got my daughter’s “name” in Kanji down my spine, lol. She was just born and it was the year 2000… The year of the dragon, so I thought Asian/kanji would be cool. It was… Back then, lol. I still have it, but plan to cover it one day and do something else for my daughter somewhere else.
Did you do a traditional apprenticeship? How do you feel apprenticeships have changed over the years? For the better or worse?
No, my apprenticeship was more of a “here’s how you tattoo/bring a couple friends by and practice on them” apprenticeship. I wish I had a traditional apprenticeship. I’d be a lot further in my career than I am. I had to learn A LOT of stuff on my own and pick things up over the years. I wasted a lot of time correcting bad habits and learning how to tattoo correctly. Through the early years, I developed a lot of respect for tattooing and its history… Something I should have learned before picking up a machine. That’s the problem with most “apprenticeships” now-a-days. Most apprentices are not understanding what it means to become a tattoo artist or respect the history and how early modern tattooing paved the way to give them their opportunity. Too many unqualified artists are offering apprenticeships and creating more unqualified artists. On the other hand, there are a lot of amazing prodigy artists surfacing as a product of choosing the right mentors.
Your tattoo portfolio shows a lot of portrait and realism tattoos; which style is your favorite? Any style(s) you try to stay away from?
I mix it up. I love doing realism, but I’m extremely fond of traditional, neo traditional and realistic new school or ‘unrealistic realism’ as Tanane coined the term. I try to be well-rounded. Plus my clientele isn’t based on a demand for a particular style. The style “fad-ism” is my least favorite style. What starts as a clever idea that should’ve gone on a t-shirt gets posted to Pinterest and soon after 8/10 females are all walking around with feathers with little birds, dream catchers, infinity signs and semi-colons.
Do you work on any other mediums?
I paint when I can which is unfortunately nowhere near enough.
What artist(s) have influenced you and your work over the years?
I look up to so many artists, but over the years just to name a few, i’d say Nikko Hurtado, Mike Devries, Guy Aitchison, Dave Tevenal, Timmy B, Tanane Whitfield, Myke Chambers, Phil Garcia and Andre Acosta. There are SOOOOO many more though.
If you could be tattooed by any artist who would it be and what would you get?
Tough to say really. I’m picky and I have Italian olive skin so colors don’t show up very bright. I don’t really have anything in mind right now, but I’d love to get pieces from each of the artists I just mentioned above.
Do you attend any tattoo shows or conventions?
Yes, I travel for conventions. Not as much as I’d like to have this past year, but I’m in the process of building a new shop, so my attention has been there. I just finished doing the Tampa Tattoo Arts convention this past September and then will be out more next year.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I’ll be attempting to push the envelope a little further.
What is the best way for someone to book an appointment with you?
Make sure to check out Steve LaMantia’s new shop called “Ever After Gallery” in Spring Hill, Florida and head to Facebook and give his shop page a like.
~ ☠ AnoTat2 ∴