On a sunny October day, I visited Spider-Bite Tattoo & Body Piercing to interview Dave McCormick, one of the talented tattooers at the shop. Spider-Bite is getting ready for the Halloween season, and they had the lobby decked out with these wicked spider webs trailing down from the ceiling to the floor, making quite the impression when walking in. Dave and I met in his office where he draws, tattoos and even removes tattoos with the impressive Tatt2Away system. His office is decked out with all sorts of amazing art; some of it of his own creation and others by people he admires. The Elder Wand from Harry Potter in the corner stood out to me and we started nerding out over our favorite stories. Come to find out, Dave loves anything and everything science fiction and fantasy. From Batman, to Lord of The Rings, Dave’s obsessed. We gushed over nerdy stuff for a while and then we got to talking about his inspiration for his art.
Much of the art on his office walls are pictures of tattoos he has done. His specialty is photo realism fantasy/sci-fi. He has done portraits of Jimi Hendrix, realistic tattoos of animals, and flawless renditions of well known cartoon characters. Over 20 years of tattooing, Dave has a few tricks up his sleeve to pull off great tattoos.
Dave got his start 20 years ago when a friend suggested that he take up tattooing. He was already drawing all of the time, so the transition felt natural. One year his girlfriend (now wife) took her tax return a bought him a tattoo kit and he started to practice. He did not go through the traditional apprenticeship route; which is something that he does not recommend for up and coming tattooers. Dave explained that back when he started tattooing, the artists were a lot more guarded about the craft than they are today. In some ways, getting an apprenticeship is easier today; although still takes talent, money and time. He told me that many people who are starting to learn tattooing get discouraged and eventually quit because they do not realize how much work it takes to learn the trade.
I asked Dave more about his personal life outside of tattooing. He told me he is also a musician- his current band Derailer is currently on a break to record. In the band, he is the lead singer and one of the lead guitar players. He describes his music as hard rock, based out of Massachusetts. He said that they do not really get out to play much anymore, but if a really cool show comes up, they will definitely be all over it.
As a self proclaimed “complete nerd”, Dave explains how most people don’t get that impression when they first meet him.
“I’m into sci-fi, fantasy, big sci-fi. Horror, all that good shit, comics…” And the list goes on! His 15 year-old daughter is very into Doctor Who, a popular British sci-fi TV show. He is very proud of the fact that he introduced her to the world of Lord of The Rings, among other fandoms.
The question that I like to end every interview with is “What does tattooing and body art mean to you personally?”.
“Self-expression. Its pretty much just an extension of our personalities put onto our skin. Except nowadays, it’s whatever is ‘trendy’. It used to be about sometime more special, now it’s just- oh I saw that on Pinterest, I want that…” Dave believes tattoos are something special to be cherished because of their unique qualities. Don’t be like everyone else getting the same old design, get a custom piece of artwork at a reputable shop like Spider-Bite Tattoo & Body Piercing.
Written by Dani Peasley, a freelance writer and fine artist from Contoocook, NH. She works with many different mediums such as colored pencils, oils, and acrylic paints. She is passionate about the tattooing and body modification industry and can be found in tattoo shops all over New Hampshire. Dani can be reached through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org