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Black and White photo of Legendary tattoo artist Troy Lane at Tattoos By Lou, Miami's Best #1 Tattoo Studio

During the spring of 2015 we revamped our website. As a part of the rebuild we asked everyone to provide us with a brief autobiography to include with their portfolios. We sent along questions to get them thinking. The following is what we received from our beloved Troy Lane. ~ The Cameron Family

Troy Lane, Wednesday, May 20, 2015 12:01 a.m.

I'm really horrible about writing anything about myself, so please don't expect much. It's not because I don't want to contribute, I just really draw a complete blank and I don't know where to start. I've already been staring at this screen for over an hour, and I haven’t gotten anywhere.

Troy Lane, Wednesday, May 20, 2015 1:49 a.m.

Shit, this is how much I suck at this, an hour just to get the last paragraph out. Then I touch the screen wrong and it (the computer) sends it (the e-mail) out before I can even get started. I really don't like talking about myself like this. Most of the stuff on the questions you already know. I started in 1986, so I've been tattooing about 28-29 years. I like doing mostly big, easy to read designs, anything that fits the body well and has depth and contrast. I do a lot of color work, but I enjoy black and grey work. It depends on the subject matter and the skin I'm working on. Somethings look better in color, some better in black and grey, and sometimes a combination of both; whatever the design calls for. I don't do overly intricate or photo realistic work, not because I don't want to, just because I'm not very good at it, and there's a lot of people out there that do that type of work much better than me.

I'm very fortunate to stay busy doing the type of work I prefer to do, so if someone comes to me with something that's not really my thing, I'm happy to refer them to someone that's better at what they want. I don't really care about getting everyones money, I would much rather they get a tattoo they are happy with than making a few extra dollars. I have declined work before, and sent people to someone else. They were so appreciative that I was honest, that they are still recommending people to me, and I never even tattooed them. Honestly I just want people to get a decent tattoo and be happy with it, I don't worry about how much money I make. Money is great. I'd love to have more, but I have enough most of the time, and I can sleep at night. I figure if I do right by people, I'll always get by.

Yeah, no portraits or photo realistic stuff, no super intricate designs, or things that are too small. I do some relatively small tattoos, meaning tattoos that can be completed in one session. I still do some of the everyday stuff, like names, writing, little meaningful tattoos that people bring in scribbled on a bar napkin, etc. I'll pretty much do whatever people ask me to do, as long as it's within my skill set and I think it will turn out okay. But most of what I do these day is large, multiple session designs that are completed over several weeks or months. The majority of which is probably Japanese style work. One or two appointments usually fill up the day, so it keeps me about as busy as I want to be. I usually stay booked up about two weeks ahead of time. Anymore than that and I just tell people to check back later, things become too unmanageable for me more than two weeks out. Thanks to having a lot of really awesome, longtime clients/friends that I've accumulated over the last 25 years in Miami, I'm very lucky to stay as busy as I am. 100% of everything I do is referral. The trust and loyalty that my clients give me is very humbling, and I am very grateful. I always do my best to take care of them, because they have taken such good care of me over the last 25 years.

I started tattooing in 1986 while serving in the military at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. I apprenticed under a Tattooer by the name of Rahbe West, who had recently retired from the military. Rahbe bought the studio from the previous owner who he had worked for part time, while still serving. I was given a full apprenticeship and he was a very knowledgable teacher. I owe 90% of my tattoo education to Rahbe and will always be grateful. I stayed there until 1990 when I was offered a job by Lou Sciberras in Miami. I spent the next six years working for him. At the time I moved to Miami, it was just Lou, myself, and Mike Harpool. Lou had just opened a second store in North Miami. There were only three tattoo shops in Miami total. Things were much different then. We were a very tight group, and Lou was more family to me than an employer.

I left Miami in 1996, traveling for a short time, having the privilege to work with some amazing artists like Paul Jefferies in Calgary, Canada, Tony Cohen in Sydney, Australia. I also did a two week stay in Jacksonville, Florida getting to work for Eric Inksmith who was the first tattoo artist I ever truly idolized. I had never seen tattoos of his quality, and still to this day his level of technical proficiency is what I constantly strive for. After traveling I got homesick for Miami, but wanted to have a little place to myself. Although I would never betray my loyalty and friendship to Lou and his family (my family for the most part) I asked if he would mind if I took an out of the way corner of Miami to open a studio. Not only did I receive his blessing, but he offered any help I needed, financial or otherwise. I always felt good about the way I chose to do things, because a few months later Lou died, and it gives me great peace-of-mind that we were never competition and always friends until the end. Lou’s daughter Michelle and her husband Ken Cameron and their children have continued to be family to me the entire time I've lived in Miami.

After 15 years of running my own studio, I decided that I just didn't want the headache anymore. I returned home to work at Tattoos By Lou. I was a little reluctant at first, not wanting to do anything to jeopardize our friendship. Michelle, Ken and me assured each other that would never happen, and back to work I went. Having the benefit of staying booked ahead of time on appointments made for an easy transition. I basically book my days as I'm able, go to work and tattoo them. I'm busy enough that I don't take any of the walk in business from the other guys at the shop and everyone gets along great. All the guys I work with at the Kendall location have treated me like gold since I showed up the first day. Most I already knew, a couple I didn't. Eventhough I had worked there many years before, for them to welcome me into their home, and treat me like I had never left, will always be greatly appreciated. No one likes drama or animosity in the workplace, and thankfully we have zero here. Everyone gets along. Everyone openly shares knowledge with each other, and we have a great time. I'm really happy to work with such a good group of guys. Everyone here is very good at what they do, and from the most experienced to the least, I have learned things from everyone here.

That's all I got. I started rambling, and just let it come out as long as I could. Now it's dried up. I would have liked to include more in there, but I'm not even sure how to articulate it. I'm a Tattooer for God’s sake, with an 8th grade education. I don't have a Master’s in creative writing. You know I mostly use Ken’s machines. You know whose work I like. I just ain't got anymore in me. Make up the rest. Just don't make me look like an asshole. LOL

Love You! See Ya Sunday!


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