For artist Tim Eakin, each tattoo has ‘got to be the best thing ever’ – Canton Repository

Dan Kane|The Repository

Local artist Tim Eakin is best known for his colorful and detailed pencil drawings, which depict everything from fantasy scenarios to historic Canton landmarks.

He's a mainstay at The Hub Art Factory in downtown Canton, where he has had two solo exhibitions.

For the past year, Eakin has been focusing his creativityona different visual medium. He's a busy tattoo artist atThe Inkeeper's Tattoo Parlor in Canton, working five or six days most weeks.

The transition from doing artwork on paper to creating on skin has come naturally.

Tattooing "is like drawing," Eakin, 35, said. "Once you get going, you get into the flow. It's kind of a hard thing to describe. You know exactly what's going on. It really is the best feeling, better than anything."

Eakin has "super-high expectations for what tattoos should be," he said. "I want people to have something they'll always be happy with. I'm putting them through a little bit of pain, and a tattoo is forever. I don't take that lightly. It's got to be the best thing ever."

His newfound success at Inkeeper's is not Eakins' first go at being a tattoo artist. "I started doing it a long time ago, when I was 17," he said. "Iordered equipment online and paid for it with a money order; that's how I got around having to be 18. I started (tattooing) in my parents' house, which was a bad idea. I thought I could teach myself."

Eakin apprenticed briefly with a local artist, to no avail.

"I got to a point where I realized that I wasn't getting better attattooing," he said. His mother's death prompted him to take a lengthy hiatus from tattooingand focus on other artwork.

In 2019, Eakin "decided to get back into it, get a real apprenticeship and do it the right way," he said. "It was serendipitousthat me and Zac (Adams, owner of Inkeeper's) got to work together. I went looking at a few different shops and he was the only one who called me back."

Eakin has learned much from his mentor.

"Zac's the man," he said. "He's an awesome artist and a great business owner and also a musician. He's a creative force that I definitely aspire to be like. I've been super lucky to learn from him, not just about tattooing but also how to talk to people about their design ideas and instill confidence inpeople as they're getting tattooed."

The tattoo designs Eakin creates on paper, and frequently posts on his Facebook page and astim_jim_tattoos on Instagram, are characterized by their precise details and imagery that veers from gothic to nature, with birds, vines, skulls and eyes his regular motifs.

"I'm always drawing. I have a sketchbook, or five, in my book bag at any given time," he said.

Rather than copy existing artwork that people bring him for tattoos, Eakin prefers to give things his own spin.Recently, a client named Jessica "wanted an evil-ish carousel horse on her calf. We did a consult and she had a reference for it, but she wanted me to draw it up in my own style," Eakin said. "That's a really fun processand the best you can hope for, really. I'mtrying to build up a clientele of people who want to use my original designs. I definitely want to push my own style."

"Uniqueness is Tim's niche," said Adams. Artistically, "he doesn't really bend and conform. He pulls his own deal out of something. He has a good way of spinning things back to his style.

"I love working with him. He's a very driven person. He does not have a 'no' in his body," Adams said. "I'venever seen (an apprentice) pick up something so fast and be such a phenom. He doesn't talk about himself, doesn't brag. Then you'll see six or seven new posts every couple days of his amazing art. That's how Tim expresses himself."

Eakinsaid that while there's definitely iscreative competition among tattoo artists, there's also plenty of work to go around. "I don't think anyone's really fighting over clients right now. It's so popular now, pretty much anyone can eat."

Clearly, Eakin is enjoyinghis new career. "I have always had a love for tattoos. (Returning to tattooing)wasn't a decision I made for the money. It was always in the back of my mind. I love the movement of the hand. It's so much like drawing and I love that."


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For artist Tim Eakin, each tattoo has 'got to be the best thing ever' - Canton Repository

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