5 Questions with Tuki Carter
On marrying visual arts and music
Tuki Carter isn’t just a tattoo phenomenon and music artist. He’s a visionary, which is part of what’s enabled the owner and founder of the popular Atlanta tattoo shop City of Ink to grow a dedicated following of creative connoisseurs from around the world. With the recent release of his debut album Flowers & Planes, the Taylor Gang artist is out to bridge visual art and music one project at a time.
"I do a lot and I’m around people a lot, but I’m a loner.”—@tukicarter
The Bridge recently talked to Carter on how technology is impacting his brand and his music.
How did you come up with the concept for your latest release Flowers and Planes?
I have an infatuation with drawing paper planes so I was just sketching, and then I started using flowers as the trail of the paper planes, which was like the smoke. And I was like, “Aw, man, that looks kind of nice together.” I did it a year and a half ago, and then I started working on the album, which is explaining a lot of my artwork and culture, of course, and I just put two and two together and was like, “I might as well work the movement with that and then turn it into a product.”
How do you use technology to stay connected to your shop while on the road performing and recording?
I have to have all emails connected. The register is connected through apps. You can log in and see the surveillance from your phone when you’re on the road. And, of course, you can use your phone’s [video conferencing] to get an actual view of things instead of just listening to what they say and hoping that’s what it is. It serves as a great deal of help.
How does your art translate into your music?
My art translates into my music because the hustle of my music and my art is the same thing. They coincide.
Between tattooing and touring, how do you make time for yourself?
Ha, sleep (laughs). But you know what’s odd about all of that: I do a lot and I’m around people a lot, but I’m a loner. I go out. I might meet people out, but I don’t go out with people. So I find a way to get “me time” in between either going out, going home, or meeting up with people to do stuff. There’s always a way, you just have to find it.
What’s going on with the Atlanta art scene?
It’s getting bigger now. The city is opening up a lot more grants for artists to do sculpture installments, murals, and elementary schools are painted by a lot of people that I know. I’m talking about major walls in the city. There are people moving down here from other states just to get in with the art scene.
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