Last week I sat down with extremely talented tattoo artist, Rob Vino. I have known Rob for several years, as he was the one who gave me my first tattoo, and has done the majority of my work. It was great to catch up. I haven’t seen Rob in a long time since he has been climbing the ladder of the tattoo industry and I was excited to hear where he is now.
I asked him a couple questions.
Jay – Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you currently working?
Rob – My name is Rob Veinotte (Vino). I grew up in Stoney Creek, where I got my start asÂ a tattooer. I’m currently working at Adrenaline Toronto – 239 Queen St W
Jay – What’s the earliest memory you have of drawing something and realizing ‘wow, this is actually good’?
Rob – In elementary school I had my friends get me to draw up their title pages because I always got good marks on mine. I played a lot of road hockey when I was younger and painted my goalie mask using modelling paint and that was a moment I remembered where i started getting respect for the art I could do. Art has always been an equilizer for me in life, something that I always persued and never gave up on. I’m blessed to still have the opportunity to do it as a living.
Jay – Are there any artists that inspire and influence your work?
Rob – So many to name here, but a lot of my favourites are Canadian artists like James Tex, Evan Dowdell, Craig Driscol, Steve Moore, Dave Knight, to name a few. There’s so many artists out there today pushing the boundaries of what can be done on skin today.
Jay – So youre finally starting to tattoo on your own. Nobody teaching you. Nobody watching over your shoulder. You get your first customer and now its time to do your first tattoo on your own. What was the tattoo of and what was that feeling like? Scared? Nervous? Excited? and…. how did it turn out?
Rob – My first tattoo on another person was of a skull and crossbone design on my friends leg. It didn’t turn out the way I have my standards set today, but it wasn’t bad for my first one. I don’t think anything really prepares you for your first tattoo. There’s so much to take in at that moment. It can be overwhelming for anyone but luckily my nervousness has gone away and the excitement still remains.
Jay – What did your family think when you told them you wanted to be a tattoo artist?
Rob – I don’t think they took me serious at the time to be honest but they were still supportive. My parents have always been supportive of all my choices in life and without that I don’t think I would be where I am today.
Jay – What is your favorite part of the job?
Rob – The challenge of it. Everyday you can learn something new if you’re willing to be open-minded towards things and stay honest to your art and know where it’s good, and where you need to improve.
Jay – Ten years ago, anyone with a tattoo was pretty much viewed as a ‘bad person’. How has the tattoo lifestyle changed over those years and where do you see it in ten years?
Rob – I think it all comes down to better artists with stronger art backgrounds getting into the industry and sharing there knowledge with tattooers alike. We’re able to learn so much more in this day in age with educational DVDs, books, internet, conventions and seminars. The sky is the limit. The tattoo industry is going through an exciting time right now. You can tell that just by picking up a magazine 10 years ago and comparing it to what’s being done today. It’s evolved so much over the years I really don’t know what to expect but it can only get better.
Jay – The tattoo lifestyle is highly associated with the world of bands. A bit off topic, but who are some of your favorite bands on your iPod today… and, everyone has that secret band on their iPod that they try to keep hidden. Care to tell us your secret music pleasure? (Mine is Taylor Swift shhhh!)
Rob – There’s not too many surprises on my iPOD today. I grew up listening to punk rock. It has had a profound effect on my life growing up and still does. I have been listening to a lot of Stompin’ Tom these days but I still think you can classify some country with the punk rock genre. There’s no Britney Spears or shit like that on my iPOD I can promise you that!
Jay – Have you ever tattooed yourself? and if so, did it hurt? hard to do? where on your body?
Rob – The first time I ever held a tattoo machine and tattooed something was on myself, I’ve done it a few times since but I don’t think I will anymore. It’s not that fun to sit there and hurt yourself and worry about doing a good job at the same time, there’s lots of artists out there that can share the vision I want for my tattoos that I don’t need to do it myself.
Jay – If someone had an interest in becoming a tattoo artist, what advice could you offer them?
Rob – Work hard at it because no one is gonna hand it to you. Be honest with your work and know where you need to improve and what your strengths are and build from there. You’re never gonna reach a pinnacle if you approach things with a mindset of “making it” to a certain standard of work. You can always improve in different areas and once you see that making art is exciting and new to you all the time then you will be on your way. Just have fun and make art!
Jay – Finally, were you scared of the monsters under your bed when you were a kid?
Rob – Haha no. I had Bert and Ernie to protect me from that.
Rob has a couple sites you can view online,
Here a couple of Robs favorite pieces he has done over the years.