Hal Hunter is a tattoo artist from Melbourne, Australia. He tattoos out of Carlton Tattoo Co, which he co-owns with Bobby Skins. It's a really rad shop that has a welcoming vibe and should be on your list of places to get tattooed if you haven't been.
Hal has been tattooing for a while and when it comes to traditional style tattooing, his work is something special. He has his own original take on classic American traditional, which really makes his work stand out. You can tell a Hal piece when you see it, which is what makes a good artist in our opinion. We wanted to know more about him and his life, so we asked a bunch of questions about it for your reading pleasure below.
Hey Hal, how’s things been? It must be a good feeling knowing you can open up the shop again?
Hey! Yeah I’m stoked. My excitement probably got the better of me and now I’ve massively over committed bookings wise haha. But definitely happy to be back tattooing everyday.
How did you know you wanted to become a tattoo artist? Anything that made you commit to getting it done?
I started getting really interested in it while I was at school but never seriously pursued it until I was 20 and had finished with professional sport. I started getting tattooed pretty young with the goal of one day tattooing but I had no real plan about how I would achieve it.
What made you stick with traditional?
It was the first style I loved. I guess like any attraction you don’t know exactly what it is initially that makes you like it but it was and still is the style I appreciate and gets me the most hyped.
Is it hard to stand out as a tattooist?
In someways yes and others no, tattooing in my opinion can be whatever you want it to be with literally no boundaries. There is a more common path the most tattooers take but I’ve seen a few that really push their own thing. I always wanted to specialise in traditional, so my goal was to become proficient at that and then to get as busy as I could doing my style.
How has life been since opening Carlton Tattoo Co?
Honestly great! I never wanted to leave Vintique Tattoos but the opportunity with Carlton for Bobby, Bella and I was too good to pass up. I’ve had a few opportunities in the past to leave Vintique but this was the only one I knew I’d regret if I didn’t take it.
Any advice to people out there wanting to do what you do?
Go hard for it. Talent will get you so far but hard work is where it’s at. I’m not a hype man but I’m super competitive mostly with myself and I have seen what can be achieved mostly from hard work and persistence. My advice for people who want to start tattooing is always the same. Get tattooed as much as you can. It’s a great learning technique but also shows that you really do want it. Don’t take no for an answer and finally put in the work.
Anything that bums you out about the industry?
Not really to be honest. Everyone goes about it differently but I’ve always been happy surrounding myself with a core group of friends and trying to create something that is fun for us and our customers. I think for us it’s about not taking it too serious and at the end of the day doing tattoos everyday.
Favourite thing to tattoo?
Skulls, scorpions, panthers, eagles, nails, barbed wire and webs.
Gnarliest tattoo request you have done or been asked to do?
Genital tattoos are always a fun request. I think the most pressure is always face tattoos though.
Your bookings must be loaded now? Any other plans for this year?
I’m doing 7 days a week until October with an around the country tour in August but other than that just waiting for international travel to open back up so I can reschedule my USA trips that got canceled.
Give us 3 records you're listening to?
Don’t know about specific albums but I’m listening daily to Have Heart, Immortal Technique and Counterparts.
Give us 3 things you hate?
Wet dog food
Give us 3 things you love?
Regards, Hal Hunter.