Mark Matthews is a proud member of the Helios Pro Team. Fascinated by art ever since sliding out of the womb, Mark eventually gave in to the requests of neighborhood friends and began his self-educated journey into tattooing at the young age of 17 years old. Although he may not be too proud of the work he did as a young street tattooer, he does appreciate the determination he acquired through the challenges of self-taught tattooing on a street, as opposed to professional, level. A prison term in the early 90’s removed Mark from the hustle of the streets and allowed him some solitude to focus on his art day in, and day out. It was during this time that Mark decided that he would pursue tattooing as a full-time career once his release date came.
Upon release from his prison term, Mark purchased professional tattoo equipment and began looking for employment. After being turned down by several shops, based on his non-apprenticed approach to tattooing, he finally found employment at what was the worst shop in town according to his personal hindsight….
“The shop was more of a party every day than a workplace. But, it taught me valuable lessons of how NOT to conduct business moving forward. I also learned many of the old school ways of the trade at this shop, that are now lost in today’s tattoo industry. Like making my own needles, Cleaning and sterilizing my own tubes, etc.”
Mark eventually worked for many of the tattoo shops in his hometown of Sacramento, CA before settling into a shop that bred the early members of Mark’s “Tattoo Family”, Fat Cat Tattoos. It was here that Mark’s eyes were opened a bit and his loyalty now lays, no matter where he tattoos in the world.
“Fat Cat Tattoos in my hometown of Sacramento was the first shop that introduced me to higher levels of tattooing, the purpose of tattooing, as well as what it takes to become a solid tattooer. It is here that I finally saw the disadvantages of being a non-apprenticed, self-taught tattooer. As decent of a tattooer as I thought I was after 10 years of being self-taught through trial and error, I would have been after only two years had I had the right knowledge and education shared with me through an apprenticeship.”
Since then, Mark has made it a point to continue to learn and absorb all that he can from any artist he gets to work alongside. An approach that got a big boost after being chosen to compete in season 2 of Spike TV’s hit reality TV show, InkMaster. “Although I learned that TV Land isn’t necessarily a place I want to be, there is no denying that it definitely helped my tattoo career as well as gave me a swift kick in the ass to step my tattoo game up. Which has been made much easier to do by the exposure television brought me. I get to travel the country, doing tattoo conventions and guest spots, while rubbing elbows with some of the best artists in the world. It has truly been a blessing to be on such a journey.
That journey continues to this day. And Mark is now a proudly sponsored artist on the Helios Pro Team along with a roster that includes other InkMaster alumni and some of the most solid tattooers in the industry. “I am flattered, humbled and honored to be a part of this team. This is simply a step that will motivate me to be better in all genres of tattooing while also further developing my style. To be recognized and promoted by the leading tattoo needle cartridge in the game is quite inspiring. I simply need to do my part, and live up to the hype…..”
Mark currently resides between Long Island, NY and Sacramento, CA and can currently be found tattooing out of his new East Coast home base, Tattoo Lou’s in West Babylon ( 631-422-9118, 579 Sunrise Hwy, West Babylon, Long Island, NY), as well as his West Coast home base, Fat Cat Tattoo in Carmichael, CA (916-944-3460 7820 Fair Oaks Blvd Carmichael, CA) He also regularly travels doing tattoo conventions and guest spots throughout the United States, which you can keep track of on his website, manifestmark.com, Instagram or Twitter account @manifestmark or his FaceBook ‘Like” page, Manifest Mark. He can also be reached at his personal email,firstname.lastname@example.org or on his business cell phone line (text is preferred) 916-505-5711.