His name is Rags (better known as Gator in the tattooing community) and he is one of the owners of Black Cloud Tattoos in Toronto.
Rags had no idea that tattooing would become his career. He was always in and out of tattoo shops when he was in high school, and it grew an interest for him on the process of tattooing. “Tattooing felt just like another form of art to me.” Landing an apprenticeship at a young age, Rags tried to balance tattooing with his school life. After a while, it became difficult to manage both and so he attempted to redirect all his attention to school — but something just kept pulling him back. After dropping out of school and focusing on tattooing full time, he has no regrets. Reflecting on a decade of tattooing, it seems he made the right decision.
“…you get to see raw emotion, and excitement in their faces, and that is the most gratifying feeling as an artist.” - Rags, on a client’s first look at a finished tattoo.
Rags feels blessed to have had the opportunity to meet great people and travel to a variety of destinations throughout his journey as an artist. He reflects on his favourite moment in every tattoo appointment when the client is able to see it for the first time. Ahead of the tattoo, Rags makes sure to educate his clients on the procedure. He notes that, “ A great tattoo requires teamwork from the artist and client.” and great communication puts the client at ease. Additionally, the Black Cloud Tattoo Shop houses unique displays all over the walls, vintage collectibles, magazines and art work. It allows the clients to have a focal point during the tattoo, and an opportunity to ask questions. At Black Cloud, Rags adds that all the artists are extremely friendly and the client never feels rushed or intimidated when in the shop.
“Creating tattoos isn't always easy because we are working on a living, breathing canvas.“
When asked what advice he would give young creators looking to get into the industry, Rags makes sure to mention that nothing beats passion. “Creating tattoos isn't always easy because we are working on a living, breathing canvas.“ Being your own worst critic can be difficult, but passion keeps you motivated and moving. “There were so many days early in my career that made me want to reconsider… it would've been very easy to give up if I wasn't passionate about tattooing, and I am glad I kept at it.”
Rags’ longterm goals include being happy and healthy! He mentions the importance of freedom — freedom of expression, freedom of choice, financial freedom. All aspects of his life that he believes have allowed him to evolve as an artist. He wishes to continue to build financial freedom to live life on his terms.
Thank you for being a part of our LOOK Magazine August Issue with Black Cloud Tattoos. To check out Rags’ artwork please visit our website and check out his Instagram @gatordontplaynogames.
- Written by Ksenia Kazantseva for LOOK Magazine