Photo by Luke Healey
Paul Nycz as a tattooer known for his skull skills and his traditionally-inspired style. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions.
TattooYou – How did you get into tattooing?
Paul Nycz – I’ve been drawing pretty much my whole life , and even my high school art teacher recommended I look in to tattooing as a future. My first real exposure to tattooing was through the hardcore / punk music scene. After seeing them around at shows I got my first one at 18. Then I started hanging out at shops and getting tattooed more and more. Eventually I moved to Iowa from Illinois and got a factory job. Worked there for a few years while hanging out at shops around the area and getting tattooed. I ended up at a shop called 5 Point Studios where I met a Tattooer named Budha. after getting tattooed by him and becoming friends he offered me an apprenticeship. And that’s basically how I got started.
TY – What was your first tattoo, and who was the tattooer?
PN – I got my chest piece for my first one. I was a fucking idiot. I actually drew it myself and had my friend and Tattooer, Jimmy Singleton, tattoo it on me.
TY – You’ve got such a cool style. How would you describe your Classic Cool style?
PN – It’s nothing to special really. Just my own take on traditional tattooing.
TY – You draw a lot of wicked skulls in strange scenarios (like the grasshopper with the skull for a head). Is the skull your favorite theme? Why do you think the skull is such a classic tattoo theme?
PN – Thanks! It’s for sure up there. If not my favorite. I think it’s such a classic image because it’s an image that’s been around since the beginning. People have been drawing images of death for centuries.
TY – Regarding your Skull Rose design. You told me to make sure the skull in the rose is always facing forward, never looking behind the person wearing it. Why is that?
PN – Because it looks weird and it’s considered backwards if it’s facing behind you. It’s the same for people who get writing upside down on their wrist. It’s just plain wrong. For example if a Christian gets a cross on their wrist facing them (aka upside down) they instantly say “it’s for me” when I question them. The rest of the world just assumes they’re a satanist when they’re seen out and about. Because they have an UPSIDE DOWN cross tattooed on them.
TY – Your Skull Snake design. It seems like such a classic theme. Why do you think the skull and snake are always so connected in tattoo?
PN – Once again these are both very old themes that date back through the ages and both are tied to ideas of Death or mortality.
TY – Tattoos are permanent. How do you feel about having some of your art being used as temporary tattoos?
PN – I think it’s just good fun. I was flattered to be asked by Dan Smith. Then to be along side great tattooers like Dan, Tim Beck, and Chris Stuart just to name a couple…. It’s a huge honor! I’m just grateful to be a part of it!
TY – We are grateful too, Paul!