Mike Fite is a man of few word but his American traditional tattoos speak volumes. Co-owner of Gold Club Electric Tattoo in East Nashville, TN he’s been tattooing for over 20 years. It seems like every day Mike Fite tattoos something in a way I hadn’t thought of before and the results are always pretty striking, so I was happy to get the chance for a few quick words with him…
Hey Mike, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us! How did you get started in tattooing?
Persistence, luck and Xanax November 19th will be my 21st year anniversary.
What were you doing before that?
Before tattooing, I was working in an iron factory which I continued to do during my apprenticeship.
When you started tattooing, did you want to do your own designs right away or were you just doing flash?
When I started I was doing lots of picture machine, Spaulding and Rogers flash I wasn’t allowed to do my own designs.
What are the key ingredients to make for solid a tattoo?
You’ve successfully carved your niche within traditional tattooing without venturing too far from the path. What do you think sets your tattoos apart?
That’s a hard question to answer. I don’t think my tattoos are any better than the next guy I just do what I do I don’t hold my tattoos in a higher regard. If the customers happy I’m happy.
Lucky Supply had some good things to say about you; I take it you’ve spent a bit of time there and done some tattooing for them?
I have great love and respect for the Whitlock family, they have as much respect for tattooing and its history as do I.
What’s your role as owner of Gold Club Electric alongside Chris? Who does what?
I run the day to day operations, Chris handles more of the behind the scenes business aspect of things. It’s great to have a partner even tho he’s a non-tattooer he respects tattooing as much as I do.
Does everyone at the shop get booked up or is it mostly walk-ins?
We all take appointments but leave Time daily for walk-ins. I personally do appointments during the week and first come first served on the weekends.
Do you have some advice for those looking to get started in the business?
Young tattooers seem to think they can just slap a traditional design on someone and that makes for a great tattoo. What are they getting wrong within their composition/execution and how can they work on it?
Walmart’s always hiring.
Some artists are pretty secretive about their books and references. Can I ask where do you get your inspiration?
No, it’s a secret.
Do you have a favourite tattooer and can you suggest some pretty unknown artists people should check out?
Yes Dietzel, Coleman, waters, Zeis, wicks, Forbes and my apprentice Zack Deaton.