by Native Foods Cafe
For our October Newsletter, we had the pleasure of interviewing vegan tattoo artist James Spooner. Not only is this guy's art awesome, he's a pretty funny guy too. James is a DJ turned filmmaker turned tattoo artist, as well as a father. Here is the un-cut version!
Where are you from?
Kind of a tough question as I have lived so many places that I tend to call a hotel room I’m staying in for one night "home". But I have spent the majority of my life living in New York City. I currently live in Los Angeles.
What is your sign?
Gemini. Haha, I feel like I just walked into a tiger beat interview circa ‘78.
What inspired you to become vegan?
PUNK ROCK! I became vegan in the early 90's when crust punks and straight edge kids both had a big stake in the vegan scene. There was a band called Drop Dead that had an 11 second song about vivesection and it was all over for me. I’ve been vegan ever since.
When did you start tattooing?
I’m in my 4th year.
What inspired you to become a tattoo artist?
I was a fairly established filmmaker in some circles. I made the cult documentary "Afro-Punk" . But I got tired of filmmaking. My sophomore film was a bit of a flop and I just didn’t have it in me to make another. Around that same time I was getting tattooed quite a bit and one thing led to another and I was the one doing the tattoos. Its not an easy industry to break into but I found my home.
What is the difference between traditional tattoos and vegan tattoos?
Most of the industry’s standard pieces of the puzzle are not vegan. Most of the industry uses green soap and A & D Ointment. Neither are vegan. There are other things like the stencil applicator, aftercare and of course the ink which can or cannot be vegan. The main ingredient in some brands of ink that is not vegan is animal-based glycerin. Though some brands of black have shellac (insects) and bone char. I shouldn’t have to say it but people always ask: Vegan tattoos last the same as non vegan tattoos. They are just as dark and or bright. In fact the darkest black on the market is vegan. I’m not tattooing with smoothies here.
Who or what do you think has had the most impact on the growing vegan/ vegetarian movement?
I honestly can’t answer this question. It’s coming from so many angles and people go vegan for different reasons. I will say the film Forks Over Knives made a very compelling argument and has probably converted more people who wouldn’t otherwise care. So bravo to them.
If you were to come back as an animal what would you like it to be?
Hmmm… can I be a unicorn? No, wait… a Pegasus. I want to fly! Um seriously, I found my love in tattooing. I can truly say I love my job. So I’ll stick with this till my wrists give out on me.
Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?
I don’t. But I do have a 3 year old daughter named Hollis. She often acts like an animal. haha.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
I do want to get really far away from this country sooner than later. Maybe a country with real freedom and maybe health care. Id like to be able to get sick with out giving away my entire savings.
What is your favorite current menu item at Native Foods Café?
I’m a burger and sandwiches kind of guy so I’m gonna go with the Super Italian Meatball Sub or the Scorpion Burger.
Favorite Native Foods dessert?
I’m not a big dessert person, but I’m a sucker for anything carrot-related so the Carrot Cream Cheese Cupcake.
Do you have a signature dish you make at home?
I make a killer bowl of ramen noodles.
What are your favorite bands?
I was a DJ for 10 plus years so that is a really unfair question. I can honestly say at this point I like nearly every genre of music. But simply put, I like my soulful tunes from the early 60's to about 1982. I can’t really stand most of what is being made today. I like my rock ‘n’ roll from the late 60's to about 1994. I pretty much dislike anything that was influenced by grunge.
What was your first concert ever?
I saw Sha Na Na at the county fair when I was 8. But my first real concert was a Christian metal show with a band called Vengeance. I’m sure it was terrible and I had no idea they were Christian but It was my first mosh pit and that’s gotta count for something.
Do you like to dance?
YES! I’m quite well known for my moves .
What do you do in your free time?
uh.. whats that? haha. I try to spend as much time as possible with my family.
If you could have a nice vegan lunch with any one person, living or dead, and pick their brain for a couple of hours…. Who would it be?
Oh man.. That’s a tough one. Most of the people I totally love as artists turn out to be jerks in real life and ruin it for me. So I’d honestly rather eat lunch with my daughter than any of my idols.
Native Foods Cafe, vegan, vegan food, vegan restaurant, vegan tattoo, James Spooner, Spooner Tattoos