Tattoo Artist: Mr. Lauder

When I first came across this cool Instagram account of this handsome tattoo artist who made these quite funny and super clean tattoos, I really wanted to write a post about this one! So here it is.

Born in 1978 James Lauder is a queer artist and tattooist living in Vancouver, Canada.

James says reading ”Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist and Sexual Renegade” as a big turning point for his work.”It’s this brilliant biographical work that completely twisted my head around”. He spent a long time building up his pen and ink, his drawing skills. He even kept a journal of everything he read/watched about tattoo history, symbolism, important artists, technique and safety.

After cutting back on his own design practice and teaching, he started working at the front desk at a tattoo shop, where he met a number of very supportive and talented artists. ”Yi Stropky was the first person to put a machine in my hand and if it was not for him, Shannon Elliott or Daniel Giantomaso, it would have been a much more challenging road.” James has officially been tattooing for two years now. 


His blackwork is inspired by movies, art, his childhood and other artists. “A lot of my work is either about playing with gender roles + sexuality, or nature + death. Combing my own ideas with elements from the past in order to create a new meaning or perspective. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes it’s a little darker.” 

I really love his work. There is so much variety in it. And the gay touch is so smart and creative. James says he’s a perfectionist. Which I think we really see in his tattoos because his work is super clean. I really love the balance between the funny and the dark tattoos. 

Connecting with a lot of different, creative and interesting people is something he loves about his work. “I also love that tattooing combines so many elements I loved from other jobs into this one dream job (before tattooing I worked in film, and then education, design + art direction). Looking back I think that with each job I learned something new, either about making creative work or myself, which I could then use to make the next thing better. So yeah, I think having real moments with people and making work I’m proud of is pretty awesome.”

When James first started getting tattoos he was very specific. Designing everything with a very clear idea on how it should look, where it should go, etc. ”I wanted to have control and looked for artists who could execute the way I saw it. As time went on, I got deeper into the history of tattooing and the culture here, I got tattoos from artists who’s work I admired and I liked/respected as people. I feel like a trust people more and don’t need to control things, if they love what they do then they’re going to do their best job when they have that trust and freedom. 

James and Ethan Barry recently opened a studio with 3 other artists. He feels lucky to do what he loves with such awesome people. ”I just want to keep improving my art, meeting more people and where ever it all takes me, I’ll be happy.”



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