Freshly Inked Interview with Josh Payne

Photos by: Dale Schenck


Okay, so...little introductory question what inspired you to become a tattoo artist?

Oh! So, I always say to everybody I never had intentions of being a tattoo artist. I came from a big family and financially couldn't afford to put all the kids through college, so it was kind of one of those things where we had to find a way to fund ourselves. Tattooing was something I got into thinking I could make quick, easy money. Pay to go to college and then pursue other fields of what I was trying to do. I wanted to go do Hollywood special effects, masks. Type stuff. So I kind of fell into it accidentally. 


If you weren't a tattoo artist what was your plan B?

Oh, tattoo artist was plan b, plan a was working in Hollywood making monsters, creatures, stuff like that. That's what I was always really drawn towards. 

What's one thing that makes your job easier?

There's two different ends; one would be the passion. And the drive I have. I want it so bad that it makes it fun and it makes it easier because every day I wake up and I'd rather go to work than stay at home. But as a more literal answer, I'd have to say technology, that ease of being able to find things and put them together. 

When you're tattooing what's your go-to playlist? Your studio jams?

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of (eastern) metal, kind of classical base stuff. I listen to kind of ambient things that I can just get lost in. 

What would you consider your pop culture spirit animal?

Oooh, Micheal Angelou! Cuz he likes pizza and _____ off most of the time. But he gets things done when he needs to!

What would you say is a guilty pleasure TV show or movie?

I'm addicted to watching clips from The Voice. And America's Got Talent and I hate to say that (hahah) I just like to see people do what they do, incredibly. And I don't care what it is, I just like to see talent across all spectrums. 

What would you say is a misconception about tattoo artists that you can set straight?

(hahah) Everyone thinks that were like either asshole party animal, over the top (that whole go, go, go vibe) and when people meet me or stay with me they realize I read a book and I lay on the couch with my blanket and my dog. Most of us are just really laid back, chill, down to Earth people. And it's not this living party.



You worked with Thom previously, did you ever think you'd work together again?

Yeah, when I owned Ascend Gallery Thom came on and he worked with me at that point. And at that moment I was struggling with bills, things like that, he was trying to find his identity and we butt heads a little bit, but as far as artistically and creatively he was a guy I always respected. I love what he's doing and now at this point in both our careers I was ready to step down from being a business owner, he was ready to step back from his thing, and the work he's putting out daily just inspired me to try harder to reach that level. We're really a good merger of two people, that is as far different as possible. 

What famous duo would you say you and Thom are like?

Ohohoho, too bad there's not a third one, I'd say, Larry, Moe, and Curly. 

He said you were like Dumb and Dumber

Oh yeah, I'll give you that one!

Who would you say is who?

Ooh, I mean I can't sell myself short, I'd have to say I'd be dumb and he'd be dumber. 

If you guys could have your own sitcom, what would you want it to be called?

(Ohoho) Surviving the other! The two of us, like I said, we are polar opposites. Like every day I go, Thom what are you doing? And he follows it with, don't worry Josh you fucked that up too. It's just comical, from music choice to the way that we organized everything- it's like we couldn't be any more opposite. 

Back to you, on a scale of 1 to 10...10 being most, how much would you say you've changed since first becoming a tattoo artist?

For the rest of this interview check out the Pop Takeover issue!

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