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Phil Kyle


Let's start with your name, or the name you work under, where you're from, and an approximate time of when you made an appearance on this planet.
My name is Phil Kyle born in 1969 USA raised just outside of Baltimore Maryland and Nice, France where my Mom is from. My Dad was in the US Navy and that's how they met on the French Riviera aka La Cote D'Azur.

When did you first start modeling? Are you represented by an agency or are you an independent free-lancer?
Well i did some photos early on for some friends who were in photography classes at Uni in the states... I already had a bunch of tattoos and they would ask me to do some photos... I mean that was all just for fun.

I am not represented by an agency at all. Never really thought about that. Alot of the first photographs you see out there of me were in tattoo magazines and just now since doing the London Ink show been doing more photos. With a lot more photographers.

Why do you model, other than the final remuneration, of course!?
HAHA well its fun doing shoots... its nice to see how someone takes a picture and then see the result of it... Lighting etc. You never know what its going to look like when the camera is pointed at you and then you see it. It's an art of its own.

What are your long term career goals, ambitions and aspirations?
To just keep doing what i have been for 18 years now. Making tattoos and paintings. My shop has been open just over 2 years now and i have a great crew and am totally stoked to work with them and hope that we can always continue to do so. We are like a family and all work well together.

Do you remember the first time you saw a tattoo? What was your initial reaction? 
Hell yeah! I was like 6 years old... I am sure i had seen tattoos before that but this was my 1st real experience... when i ws a kid in the states we had neighbors from the UK. The old man was covered in tattoos... Snakes and skulls and stuff... I was like... One day... I am going to look like that... and now... I do!

When did you get your tattoos, starting with the first? Why the particular tattoo designs you have? Who was the tattoo artist?
Wow I got my first tattoo when i was 15... that was in the 80"s and there were no restrictions and regulations... apart from what the tattooers decided. My first tattoo was a growling kind of wolfs head on my arm... It was born out of the punk/skin scene. I was always going to punk shows like I still do today, haha. And seeing bands like Agnostic Front covered in tattoos and all that... Just felt right.

What does your body art reveal about you? Style or Statement?
Times in my life. Every tattoo has its time and place its where and whens.

When you got the tattoo(s), did you think about the possible effect of having body art on your ability to get work, or model?
I never thought about modeling when i was 14. I think thats why people wanted to take pictures of me because I had tattoos already then.

What is the usual reaction of photographers to your body art?  Others in the fashion business?  Significant others?  Strangers on the street!?
Usually the photographers I have worked with are doing it for the tattoo aspect or there are other that didn't even mention it ay all. My family didnt like the idea at first but not much they can say now. 18 years of tattooing and putting food on my table I mean... its a career. My daughter has always known me with all these tattoos... I think to her its just normal. And she knows its my passion. People on the street well its always 50/50 isn't it? There are people who look out of curiosity and others who want to critique you... they can fuck off. haha. I mean i dont judge them because they DONT have tattoos... so they can just get over them selves.

Has having body art prevented you from doing any specific modeling work?  No i mean i am known for the whole tattooing thing and thats where most of the model gigs come from.

Have you considered getting more body art?  A design you are dying to get or a specific tattoo artist whose work you would like to have?
Yeah i get tattooed as often as i can... its hard to though because i am always tattooing everyone else. But I want some work from the crew at my shop. They all have their own styles going on and i love them all. And then there are some other mates in the business i ben wanted to get tattooed by for years. I think its about time for some new ones. I like giving an artist an idea and letting them draw it their way... that's how you get good tattoos... Let the tattooer do his or her magic.

Any hints for aspiring models thinking about getting body art? 
Yeah dont get your hands and neck done first thats stupid... Loads of kids are doing that now and when they take off their t shirts there are no tattoos besides those... Fashion victims!

Tattooing and tattoos are not a trend... that shit is on you forever... So if you think your are going to be a hot tattoo model.. think again because even McDonalds wont hire you with a skull tattoo on your neck or hands... Important shit.


Do you have a favorite photographer?
I have had the opportunity to see some amazing photographers... I could say I have 1 favorite. I did have Gavin Watson do and expo in the Art Gallery in my tattoo shop. He is of SKINS the cult book fame. Some great shots. Was honored to have his work hanging on the walls of the gallery. And it was the 1st art show we ever had.

Any photographers you are dying to work with? 
I just did a shoot at the shop with my crew with Ester Segarra...I was looking forward to that for quite some time. She took photos on set of London Ink for Total Tattoo magazine. And does loads of work with tattoo magazines and Bizarre.

A photographic or artistic project that you would love to be associated with?
I am always up for projects. I love being busy... keeps me going. I do quite a few projects. Skate boards,art shows, painting trades doing lots of design work for Liquor Brand Clothing as well... always on the go.

When you think of celebrity tattoos, who do you think of first?
Probably Angelina Jolie... because she just has bad tattoos... or bad taste... How can you have all that money and not have amazing fucking tattoos is beyond me.

Have you ever searched online for information about tattoos? 
Of course the internet has every bit of info you could want on it. History of tattooing tattoo references and designs. Tattoo forums where people go to talk about tattoos even. In which the Vanishing Tattoo site offers plenty of these things.

Have you ever heard of the Vanishing Tattoo website, or visited the site ? 
Yes i have and Yes i have! Great site!

What do you think when you hear about someone who's lost a job opportunity because of their body art?
I think that its 2010 and these assholes need to wake up and say... Its not because someone has a drawing on them that they cant do the job as good as anyone else... Shit i mean tattoos are the oldest art form in existence... our oldest ancestors  had tattoos living in caves and inventing fire. The soldiers that keep countries free had tattoos... etc etc etc... How the hell does one lose a job because of a tattoo? Old corporate scum... Fight the good Fight!

What do you think about the current popularity of tattoos within mainstream popular culture?
I dont think that its really all that different from years ago... I mean its obviously bigger and better...The bar has been raised and the quality of tattoos now is outstanding. Apart from the loser who thinks he can tattoo and do good in his mommy's kitchen...But that's a whole other can of worms... Proper training and apprenticeships are making tattooing what it is now.

More people get tattoos when they see quality work that's what it all comes down to. All the possibilities now...styles colors etc... I think that tattooing is the "King of all Subcultures" see because all kinds of people from other sub cultures get tattooed... Punks, Skins, Goths, Metal Heads, Hippies, Grungers, even the god damn Yuppies... So tattooing reaches out to everyone... That's why I always say there is a tattoo out there for everyone... even if they don't know it... it's out there somewhere...

Phil Kyle

Want to find out what some of PHIL KYLE's tattoo designs & symbols mean?
Check out: Heart Tattoos, Script Tattoos, Web Tattoos, Spiral Tattoos, Japanese Tattoos, Dagger Tattoos, Fleur De Lis, Wing Tattoos, Skull Tattoos, Wolf Tattoos, Star Tattoo Designs.