Tattoo Artist Spotlight Michael Bowen


Ink Defense interviewed Pro-Team Artist Michael Bowen.  Michael was our very first Pro-Team member.  He is based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

ID: How long have you been tattooing?

MB: Since I was a kid but professionally 5 years in a shop setting.  

ID: Why did you start tattooing?  

MB: My older brother, Gilbert, was an artist and a great influence on me.  He did it all; airbrushing, murals, car painting, tattooing.  I would watch him, just sit and watch him.  He was an amazing artist.  He showed me all kinds of things like colors and shading.  

I started with t-shirts and airbrushing. I wanted to start tattooing but my brother was picky and would not let me borrow his equipment. So I got an old walkman and I built my own tattoo machine.  Then I started tattooing my friends. 

Gilbert asked me what was I going to do with my life?  I told him I was going to be a tattoo artist.  Before he passed, he was able to see me tattooing. 

ID: What is your favorite style of tattooing and why? 

MB: My favorite is black and grey. I love it. I have always been into that.  I grew up with it. 

ID: What has been your most interesting/unique tattooing experience as an artist?

MB: This is hard to describe but to me it is when people love getting their tattoos.  I mean I feel great when people say “I love it” or “thank you so much.” 

Another interesting thing to me is everything that is coming out new in the industry, new styles, new art; for example; Trash Polka, Watercolor, how there is more and more realistic art and realism.  I mean there are some talented artists out there.  I am amazed how the tattoo industry advances every day, every moment, even as we are speaking. 

ID: What should a customer think about before getting a tattoo?

MB: Definitely placement and is it the right tattoo for them. Sometimes people just want a tattoo.  I always ask are they sure, what does it mean to them. Sometimes it is a memory they want to honor but others just think it is cool.

ID: What is the best way for a customer to come to a session? 

MB: Eating before they arrive and stay hydrated. Do not drink alcohol at least a day before your appointment.  

ID: What happens if someone drinks a few beers before they show up to a tattoo session? 

MB If they do drink and tattoo artists know if they do, the customer they will bleed more, skin swells. It makes it more difficult for the artist to work and make the piece look good. 

ID: What are the consequences of customers not being prepared? 

MB: People can faint, bleed a lot and it is much more painful.  When blood sugar levels are not stable, it will hurt more. 

ID: What is the worst damage you have seen on tattoos?  

MB: Scarification, mrsa, allergic reactions to inks. Some customers just do not take care of their tattoos. They go around cats/dogs or go swimming right after getting new ink.  Customers should listen to artist’s instructions. 

As tattoo artists, we are obligated to inform customers how to take care of their new tattoo.  Educating my clients BEFORE and AFTER I tattoo so they can be clear about it. We should make sure they are happy with the long term results of their tattoo.    

ID: Why is Ink Defense® important for your customers? 

MB: It is a useful product that smooths the skin and helps to speed up the healing process. It smells great.  It is really amazing. 

 Michael Bowen is the first pro-team member with Ink Defense. He promotes his craft by volunteering with local schools to help teach about art and tattooing as a career. He enjoys spending free time going to the mountains, fishing and hiking with his wife Sarah and daughter Bianca. He also has 3 adult step-children that live in California.  He enjoys music, road trips and traveling to new places