Hayden Combs is another one of Murfreesboro’s many talented tattoo artists. He works at Absolute Ink, 1403 Greenland Dr. “I’d like to let people know about finding a good artist and investing in good work by experienced artists through shops, not kitchens.”
What made you decide to become a tattoo artist?
Combs: Growing up, I seemed to draw a lot, and I tried to find some sort of suitable job where I can express my artistic ability to its fullest potential, and also enjoy work. So tattooing became that outlet where I can leave behind some of my art when I’m gone.
What was your experience learning the art and process of tattooing like?
In my apprenticeship I learned the basic fundamentals of tattooing along with building my people/person skills. Going into this new world, I quickly realized that it takes more skills than just being a good artist. Meeting many different people has shown me what I can accomplish through building an artist-to-client relationship, because marking someone for life is not something to take lightly. Along with these things there also comes a responsibility in keeping a sanitary station and workplace.
Who are some artists you admire? Any kind of artists, locally or elsewhere.
Locally, of course would be the guys I work with—amazing artists with each of their individual styles; Sean Drennen, Pat Bennett and Josh Adams. More towards Nashville, the guys from Kustom Thrills, Gold Club Electric, and the artist I’ve been most inspired by, Marty “Riet” McEwen. Elsewhere, I feel greatly inspired by Honkey Kong, Grime, Shige, Horiyoshi3, Peter Lagergren, Mike Stockings, Mike Rubendall, Troy Denning, Dave Tevenal, Dave Fox, Anthony Tex and Will Lollie. All are great artists who have put time and dedication into their work and inspire me and my work daily.
Are you creatively and artistically fulfilled through your work as a tattoo artist? Or do you need to create your own artwork outside of tattooing in order to be fulfilled as an artist?
I don’t always have the time to mess around with other mediums. I’m currently getting back to using Prismacolor markers, my safe zone, but really I get most of my artisticness out through tattoos and sketches.
How often do people give you creative control? Or does this ever happen, people allowing you to tattoo whatever you’d like onto them?
About 45 percent of the time the client allows me to use more of my artistic ability to give them something more than the average tattoo.
View more of Combs’ work at absoluteinktattoo.com.