Those that are familiar with me, often joke that I can’t speak about art without mentioning Andy Warhol. In moderate similarity, it is hard to speak on Jackson’s millennial invaded art scene and not mention Jimmy Bogan. The 30 year old small business owner has prime plans to restore Jackson Mississippi’s art scene and focus. When asked how he discovered his passion for tattooing, the ambidextrous tattoo artist shared a bit of his philosophy “I began tattooing at 19 and by 21 I opened my first shop. I was never the person who’d always known what they wanted to be or do growing up, so tattooing was just one of those things I took an interest to randomly and it has worked for me. I’m a firm believer in doing what makes you happy, I knew that I didn’t want to go to college because I knew it wasn’t for me. I felt then and still do believe that you don’t have to go to college to be successful. I find peace and enjoyment in seeing and being evolved with happy people. I like to see people following their dreams, especially when they don’t usually fit into what’s norm. I’m an outside of the box thinker, I follow my own mind and beliefs and wish more people would do the same.” Check out my latest Q&A session with businessman Jimmy Bogan below:
It’s no secret that I am a legit fan of your tattoo artistry and art work. Without question, you are one of Mississippi’s most underrated artists in my opinion. Just needed to put that in the atmosphere lol what inspired you to transition your art to ink?
First I want to say thank you for the support. I really appreciate it. To answer your question, honestly, being broke forced me into tattooing lol. I was out of high school and working for a home remodeling company, the money wasn’t enough and the work was too demanding. I’ve always had the ability to draw, so I just gave tattooing a chance and luckily for me, it worked out.
Who are some artists that came before you that inspire you?
There are too many to name. so many great artists from around the world who I tend to grab inspiration and ideas from daily.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you face as a Mississippi based tattoo artist?
Being a tattoo artist is hard within itself, but being a tattoo artist in Mississippi is even harder. We are so behind on things and choosing this as a profession without a backup plan in Mississippi isn’t the smartest idea to have. We’re stuck in time, and tattooing is still somewhat frowned upon here. It carries a stigma, so the thought of failure and lack of support is a huge reality for me. Things are beginning to progressively change now but we still have a long way to go.
Who is someone that you would love to ink?
I don’t really idolize anyone who’s alive now. I don’t find too many “celebrities” interesting enough to sit around them for a couple of hours (lol), but if I could meet someone from the past and tattoo them it would have to be Fred Hampton or Malcolm X. I just want to know what goes on in their minds on a daily basis.
Do you believe all tattoos should mean something?
What are some of the most popular trends at the moment? No. I have a band-aid tattooed on my knee and E.T. the alien on my thigh lol!!!. I believe tattoos should be fun! it should be about what you want personally and how you’re feeling at that particular moment. A tattoo is like a photo, it freezes time and captures that moment. Its something you can always look back on and remember where you were in life at that particular moment. Whats trending now? Um, I Kinda like the things I’ve been able to tattoo lately. I’ve had a lot of women empowerment/ Black Consciousness related pieces, those are always fun to do.
How many tattoos do you have?
You’ve created some pretty amazing pieces recently, from the Big Krit painting to creations of Issa Rae. What gets you in the right vibe to create these paintings?
I have to get in a completely different zone when I’m painting than I do when I’m tattooing. I like to paint alone. Before I start a piece, I’ll lay on the floor in my studio for few minutes with the lights off, listening to music, envisioning the piece first. Once I get the picture I want, I take it to the canvas and just let whatever comes out happen. If I don’t like it, Ill scratch the entire piece and start over.
Can we expect more art pieces to be available for purchase?
Yes. Definitely. Paintings are an extension of my art that I want to share with the public. Its truly a good feeling to create something and have people want to buy it and display in their homes.
Any upcoming projects that you would like share?
Right now I’m in the process of opening a new shop that will feature an art gallery. This new space will be a social hub for local artists of many aspects to network, socialize and display their work. I want to create a space for us that has never been seen in Jackson.
What advice do you have for aspiring artist and business owners?
Go for it! Do not Quit! there are going to be days you feel that you’ve made the best decision ever, then there are going to be those days when you question yourself and want to quit and give up, but don’t give up, as hard as it will get, and it will get hard, it wont be worth slamming the door on your dreams. I question myself at least twice a week about being good enough, did I make the right choice and should I quit, and then I get a random message from someone I don’t know telling me I’m an inspiration to them and honestly, that helps keep me going. That and the fact I make my schedule and don’t answer to a “boss”.
Who is your spirit animal?
I would have to say Neil Gamby from the HBO show Vice Principals. If you haven’t seen the show, please check it out.