If you’re looking for the perfect tattoo – look no further. Al Fliction, a Crown Heights tattoo artist, has just the item for you. As the owner of the Brklyn Ink store on Bedford Ave., Fliction explains that he had always been interested in tattoo work. It was while serving time in jail, however, that he perfected the art.
Learning the Trade
Spending six years in jail on drug charges, Fliction said,
“That’s where I did my apprenticeship. I was always interested in tattooing, but there was no way to learn it. There’s no tattoo schools…I was black from the hood. You couldn’t just walk out to Long Island and walk into a white shop and say, ‘Can I be an apprentice?’”
He continued, “I went to prison wondering ‘Why me, why me, why am I here’ – and I picked up the trade I always wanted to learn.”
Taking the Art Seriously
Fliction takes his art quite seriously. He explains that people “think they can shop around for a tattoo like they can shop around for a pair of pants. The cheapest place I see is where I’m going to get it done.” Rather, he designs tattoos with his clients to help them to tell their life story.
As he explains,
“In my shop, we don’t have any flash on the walls. There’s nothing on the walls for you to pick from. You have to explain to us what you want.”
Ink Master Competition
Now, Fliction is vying for a spot on “Ink Master,” a show like Top Chef or Project Runway, where the contestants tattoo people to see who is the best artist. As Chris Rantamaki, the vice president of the series at Spike said, “We didn’t want artists who somebody would come into the shop and pick out what’s on the wall. It’s really not what we feel tattooing is about.”
Now, as one of nine finalists for the show, Fliction hopes to get his name in lights. He explains with enthusiasm, “People are seeing my art all over the world.”