We are sure by now you will have heard of this guy or if not certainly his product but we didn’t really know who he was or where he came from. When we found out that he was going to be doing a little bit of promotional footage at the studio it made sense to dig a bit deeper into the man that is “Richie Bulldog”. A top bloke with a passion for tattoos that can’t be denied.
Interview – Ben Lakin
Photography – Rich Luxton
Where are you from?
I’m from Brooklyn, New York born in 1973
OK cool, and what’s your first memory of tattoos?
When I was 19 years old I went to Mike Perfetto who’s one of the old school Brooklyn tattoo artists. You would actually go to the basement of his house which was set up as a studio and you’d wait. He’d open up at 5 o’clock in the evening and people would already be lined up outside. Tattooing was illegal in New York City in those days. My first memory of going to see him was that my driver’s licence (state ID) was a little dishevelled and he wasn’t sure if it was real… as funny as it is, tattooing being illegal at the time & he was questioning if indeed I was 19. He pulled my licence apart and when he still wasn’t sure, he called my Mom, and sure enough, there it is! I haven’t covered it or anything like that. Mike Perfetto is still pumping it out today, he’s still doing it there in Brooklyn.
Cool so that covers your first tattoo, what about memories of other tattoos? What was the first tattoo you’d seen?
Growing up in Brooklyn, it was a rough urban environment, tattoos were always prominent whether it was the Italian kids with the Playboy bunnies or Christ heads, or the bikers with skulls and pinups…. My Mom was single, so needless to say, she dated a lot of different guys who had different kinds of tattoos.
And what were you doing before Hustle Butter Deluxe™?
I’ve always worked within the tattoo industry since I came out of the Marine Corps in 1994, and was always a fan of getting tattooed, I’ve been a collector since way back. So my first moment as a civilian was running back to NYC to hang out at “Eastside Ink”, with my boy JR Maloney. JR started tattooing out of Zeke Owens first shop in Jacksonville North Carolina, and really opened me up to the world of tattoos. “Eastside Ink” has changed many hands since, but it used to be owned by Sean Vasquez and Andrea Elston and was managed by Lori Leven who now owns NY Adorned in the East Village. Both are NYC tattoo institutions. Mike Ledger & Chris Garver both worked at NY Adorned. These were the elite shops featuring and playing host to the world’s elite artists back in the Nineties. I came up with these guys; I was friends with Guy, Eddie Deutsche, Freddy Corbin and Sean Vasquez and all the guys who have progressed, so I’ve always been around it. My friends were the artists that are successful today; they were new and upcoming artists at the time. There was no differentiating like, I don’t hang out with you because you don’t tattoo, all these guys were just starting to tattoo at the time. Eddie had been setting the standard at Tattoo City in San Francisco and had laid the groundwork for all this colour stuff. I was following guys like Aaron Cain & Guy Atchinson, like tattooing was a sport. International Tattoo and Skin Art had just come out in the early Nineties and there was a different play on tattoos; they were being shown in another light, it wasn’t just flash pieces, it was this crazy custom stuff and it just had me.
What led you to creating the product Hustle Butter™?
Well, being someone who’s been constantly tattooed and someone who’s also health and holistic oriented, I always try to take care of myself. I’m always trying to take things to the next level that I’m involved and passionate about. If I’m involved in something, I’m ALL IN, and if I can make it better, nothing is gonna stop me. I was noticing that I was having some rough heals. I’m personally allergic to bacitracin & Neosporin. I break out in hives from those petroleum-based products, so I’ve always been a dry healer; eventually, I noticed people were using cocoa and shea butters within the industry for tattooing. No sooner, I heard that people were healing with cocoa and shea butters, natural, organic products. Eventually, I came across a product that had qualities that I knew could be useful as a petroleum replacement throughout the tattoo process. I came across an all-natural product that I knew with some changes to its various properties (consistency, smell, packaging, etc.) that I could formulate it specifically for the tattoo industry. I soon realised that it would work, as not only an amazing aftercare product, there was no denying it, you’d apply it and then immediately the redness would subside; the swelling would go down. Soon afterwards I gave it to an artist that I was working with named Rob Hill. He’s a great guy and artist, a real solid dude. He’s in Ventura, Calif and owns Ventura Tattoo. He’s like “Dude, you can tattoo with this” and… ever since then… before… during… after… I was pretty amazed and I said “would you work with it a little longer” and he worked with it for a couple of weeks and it was consistent. Then I started giving it to other artists and it was consistent, consistent, consistent, so there it was, and I started advocating the Before, During, After… which it is. It’s a complete tattoo lubricant to replace all that nasty petroleum. The craft was amazed with the amazing qualities that HBDlx™ was bringing with it, and through a lot of R & D with different artists, different styles, different machines, different techniques we perfected the HBDlx. There are so many different variations in the industry now and it’s suited to almost every application.
What makes it different from other products?
Hustle Butter Deluxe™ is a 100% natural, 100% organic REPLACEMENT for all petroleum-based products used as tattoo lubricants during and after the tattoo process. TO TATTOO!! AND HEAL!!! Made from mango, cocoa, papaya and other shea butters, it brings tremendous amounts of benefits:
– It will not remove stencils.
– NO more petroleum build up or clogged tubes
– Promotes healing upon contact, minimising redness, swelling and bleeding
– Skin remains workable, no more overworked highlights, yellows & whites go in the first time, colour never went in so easy.
– Used in place of petroleum based products HUSTLE BUTTER DELUXE™ will heal fresh tattoos quicker and with results that are unmatched…results that last a lifetime…
Petroleum is derived from crude oil, fossil fuels. It’s used as a vessel to carry vitamins A&D and various antibiotics. What’s carrying the “nurturing agents” is nasty and possesses no healing or soothing properties, its actually detrimental to your skins healing process? Hustle Butter Deluxe™ helps to deliver vitamins directly to your skin with no petroleum base so it doesn’t sit on the skin. The affinity is such that it actually absorbs into the skin, so it won’t clog your pores, it’s not going to pull the ink out, and because of the properties of the Hustle Butter Deluxe™, the minute it’s applied, you’re actually promoting healing. When the skin is initially punctured, a tattooist rubs Vaseline on it to lubricate it, instantly you see redness, swelling and the beading up of blood, you see this with the first wipe of petroleum lubricants. Hustle Butter Deluxe™, starts soothing immediately, leading to noticeably less redness, swelling, and bleeding, during the tattoo process. Now don’t get me wrong, there is still bleeding and swelling, but noticeably less than compared to what occurs when using petroleum based lubricants. A 3-6 hour tattoo puts the skin under tremendous trauma. Most tattooing now is full saturation, not like the old days where there was a little shading & and open skin, now everything gets touched. HBDlx™ keeps the skin smooth, soft and pliable during extended tattoo sessions. Using petroleum during multi-hour sittings leads to the skin getting soft, red and chewed up. It gives you the ability, to do bigger projects. When artists have clients that come in from out of town for large projects time is valuable. Whether a 2 or 3-day project or in a convention setting, It gives the ability not only to the artist for the skin to be more workable over extended time frames, but offers the client additional comfort by reducing redness and swelling allowing tolerance levels to be extended. Clients can sit for multiple days in a row. We’ve had this documented several times, artists that are working on larger pieces, projects that are scheduled over months or even years, they’re going to be able to finish projects faster because it cuts the time in half. So instead of seeing a client every month, you can get them in every 2- 3 weeks. So, the difference between Hustle Butter Deluxe™and anything else is… there’s no petroleum…. it soothes the tattoo immediately during application, less swelling, redness & bleeding….it’s also an after-care, it’s an all in one product,…. HUSTLE BUTTER DELUXE™ ….Before, During, After… ALWAYS.
We use it in the studio here, and we have friends all over the place that use it. One big question I have to ask is why is it so expensive?
The product is a premium product. The petroleum it’s replacing is a dated, useless, detrimental material that needs to be eradicated from the tattoo process. The ingredients within Hustle Butter Deluxe™ are of the highest quality and integrity, put through a relentless process of quality assurance testing and control to ensure all ingredients are sourced from the most reputable suppliers of natural organic materials. Being a premium 100% organic, natural product formulated with only the highest quality components justifies its cost. I would expect to pay more to get a tattoo from Fillip Leu or Horiyoshi 3 than I would for a tattoo from an average tattooist. You get what you pay for; the proof is in the BUTTER! Premium machines, inks, needles, & shop furniture carry a higher price than other like items… HBDlx™ justifies its pricing with features and benefits, so we can justify it. The fact is that shops can carry it as an after-care, giving them the ability to protect the tattoo from application to heal and increase shop revenue along the way. Money can be made selling it as after-care which covers its use by shop artists and then some. HBDlx™ is not a quick fix; it’s a premium product that will become an industry staple. That’s pretty much it; you get what you pay for. Any artist who charges two hundred dollars an hour for his work can justify having the best and sharpest arrows in their quiver… it’s just like that, this shit is CERTIFIED… YOU CAN’T KNOCK THE HUSTLE!!!!.
Cool, have you got any plans for any other products?
There’s always plans, there’s always stuff on the table, but the most important thing at this point is to spread the butter far and wide. Hustle Butter Deluxe™ is such an amazing product and we’re so focused on spreading its benefits throughout the whole tattoo and piercing community, we’ve put some great thoughts on ice for now. Our focus on developing HBDlx™ has been uninterrupted by any other projects, hence the result, you know, Pepsi, they do other stuff but it’s always going to be Pepsi, this is my Pepsi, this is my Mac. Naturally there’s going to be things that we’re working on here and there but all will be based around the principles of honour, integrity and premium products always staying true to the Hustle Butter Deluxe™ established levels of quality; I want to maintain our clear focus. The product is tried and true, the product will last, and it’s got the longevity so I’m just moving along with the Hustle Butter. Things come, natural progressions, they’ll be other things down the road.