The master of horror tattoos Paul Acker is well known for the quality of his work! Now owner of tattoo studio, The Séance Tattoo Parlor in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, Acker focuses on colour tattoos only.
Inked: Do you have any special training?
Paul Acker: I went to an art high school where I learned a lot about drawing, painting, and sculpting while also having the normal school classes. I’ve been drawing since I can remember, though. After high school I briefly went to college for fine art before I started tattooing.
Inked: What inspires you as an artist?
Paul Acker: Well, clearly I’m greatly inspired by horror movies. They’re a huge part of my life, so it’s something that has always translated into my art. As a kid, I would read a lot of magazines and comics like Fangoria and Tales From the Crypt, which I think really embedded something
in my brain. The artist Basil Gogos has also been a huge inspiration for me. I learned a lot about lighting and colour technique from studying his paintings.
Inked: How has the tattoo scene in northeast Philly inspired you or influenced your style?
Paul Acker: Philly has a lot of great tattoo history as well as some amazing tattooers. While there aren’t too many artists in my area that are doing my style of tattooing, there are a lot that do some amazing traditional-style tattoos. I don’t do much traditional work, but I’ve always loved and appreciated it. It’s also helped shape my style by making sure I keep my tattoos clean-looking, while also having enough black and contrast to make it a long-lasting tattoo that will hold up over time.
Inked: There are a number of artists out there who focus on horror tattoos. How do you set yourself apart from them, and how do you continue to improve?
Paul Acker: The funny thing is, when I started tattooing, there weren’t really many artists doing the horror thing, especially not in colour. I really only saw a few guys doing horror stuff, but I knew immediately that was the direction I wanted to go in. At first I was interested in doing all black-and-from seeing what Shane O’Neill, Paul Booth, and Bob Tyrrell were doing. But later, after I saw Cory Cudney’s work, I discovered how real you can make things look in colour. From there I just worked hard on developing an original style to my work. I think I’m slightly responsible for the popularity of horror tattoos in more recent years. So it makes me more conscious of trying to set my work apart from the rest of the crowd.