Sleep When You're Dead

SWYD Tattoo & Barber shop is the brainchild of Mathew Pritchard, know for his years as a professional skateboarder and his on-screen pranks/stunts on the MTV hit series Dirty Sanchez, and more recently his series of long-distance triathlon races, endurance events and competitions. 

aaron usher

How did you get started and where did you work before SWYD?

Originally I wanted to be a digital or illustration based artist, mainly looking to get into the comic book industry. Tattooing was introduced to me by a family friend and I fell in love with it instantly. I didn’t get an apprenticeship straight away so I bugged different artists until I was lucky enough to get an apprenticeship. I have worked in a few shops in my career but I can honestly say SWYD is where I felt most settled.

How would you describe what you do?

I would say I am an all-rounder I can do colour, grey shade and solid black confidently. I am willing to take on most art styles from old school to realism while adding my own personal touch and style. Tattooing isn’t a job or career it’s a life choice, you constantly have to strive to be better and you have to consider you work every hour god sends, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

What does your job entail?

To say its life consuming is an understatement, you tattoo all day to go home and draw for your next tattoo with a constant rotation of work and also trying to draw to better yourself personally. It’s very personal as well you are right there with your client until there tattoo is finished. I always try to make sure the experience is fun, making sure they enjoy it as much as possible, while producing the best quality tattoo I can.

Explain your typical week...

Every day is different I tattoo so many different people, different tattoos in style and size as well. The job definitely never gets boring especially as my pride myself on doing what the client wants within reason. Small or large, basic or a grand piece of art, they should get what they want. The studio itself is always fun to be in, sometimes I would rather be there than home.

What do you like about what you do?

The art goes without question but I’d say meeting new people I’m very sociable and meeting new walks of life is always great I’ve made a fair few friends from what I do, I would say that’s hard to do in most jobs. The personal side of tattooing is awesome and fulfilling.

How long have you been tattooing?

About 7 years professionally from my apprenticeship now but working full time about 4 years .

What advice would you give aspiring tattoo artists?

EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION. I can’t stress it enough, go to art school, college, university. Better yourself as much as possible before you take on this career, I wish I did. Find an apprenticeship with someone is awesome at tattooing and is very clinical and hygienic. It may take a long time to get there but never give up hope. Don’t be in it for the money it will get you nowhere, be in it to better yourself and make people happy. Its full on but the rewards are endless.

Explain your setup…

My setup varies all the time I like to mix it up, try new things. Rotaries, coils I’ll try them all, everyone is slightly different to tattoo with. Inks I would say mainly fusion but I also use eternal, imperial, electric and other top brands that pride quality and safety. 

Who inspires you?

This is a hard one there are so many. Artist wise I love the likes of Stanley Lau, Alex Garant, Craig Davison and so many more. Check them out they are all different styles. Tattooist wise, I love David Corden, Matt Lapping, Nick Baxter, Cecil Porter, Chris Rigoni, Steve Butcher, the list is endless. The industry is saturated with phenomenal artists inspiring you to do better and mix it up.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Honestly I don’t know life goes many directions, but I will say I want to be better and more in myself. Especially of late I want to strive for self-improvement. So I would say in 5 years’ time I see a better me, personally, professionally and artistically.

©Sleep When You're Dead 2017