Derek lives in Canmore Alberta, Canada with his girlfriend and daughter. He started tattooing at the age of 18 and now runs his own studio called Electric Grizzly.
If you'd like to learn more about Derek or visit his work, you can check him out on his Instagram.
Trinity: Tell me about your style.
Derek: I guess anything bold and in colour, whether it’s to emulate realism, new school or illustrative, I am always trying to develop a new bold dynamic tattoo.
T: How does it feel to be an artist?
D: I am so grateful that I get to do something that I love every day. It’s a constant drive to always produce what the clients expect and what we have to expect from ourselves. Mostly it’s fun to be able to create and it’s still mind-blowing to me that people allow us the freedom to put something on their skin.
T: Did you ever doubt your career choice and why?
D: A few times in the early days when I was more motivated to paint than tattoo. I put down tattooing for a summer and started roofing for my brother’s company. It was then that I realized tattooing wasn’t such a bad career choice afterall.
T: What’s the hardest choice you’ve had to make as an artist and what happened?
D: Recently it’s been to go out on my own with my buddy Mike Brito to start our shop Electric Grizzly Tattoo. There were a lot of unknowns and it was tough to take that leap but it’s already made me happier as an artist and a person. Also learning the business side of things was hugely rewarding and a real learning experience.
T: Looking at your work, I guess that you love super heroes. If you were one, what would be your super hero name and what super power would you have and why?
D: I would be Spiderman. He’s still a pretty normal dude with normal life problems but he gets to web sling across the skyline.
T: What goal or vision do you pursue?
D: I just want to keep learning and progressing. We started an art collective that I would hope to see grow in the future, promoting art across Canada for artists by artists.
T: What’s your favorite artwork and why?
D: I love realism mixed with surreal psychedelic concepts.
T: Do you feel an artist’s life is lonely?
D: I am grateful to have an amazing wife and daughter. They make my life fulfilling and inspire me to try harder in my art career.
T: What makes you angry?
D: When I run out of paint in the middle of a project or run out of certain colours as I’m tattooing that I really rely on.
T: Favorite or most inspirational place?
D: There are a few, in Canada, there are the Rocky Mountains, in Africa, there’s the Serengeti and there’s Bali in Indonesia.
T: What couldn’t you do without?
D: I couldn’t live without my family, vacations, friends, painting, tattooing, snowboarding, golf and boxing.
T: Considering the number of interviews you have done, what is the question that no one ever asks but would have loved to answer?
D: What do you hope to someday tattoo?
T: And what would be the answer?
D: I hope to tattoo a set of themed bodysuits, whether based on comics, wildlife or movies. That would be a sense of accomplishment for the collector as well as very humbling to me.
T: If you had one question for one artist, what would it be and to whom?
D: I’d ask Dimitry Samhoin about his creative process and techniques to get his gloss like realistic tattoos and paintings.