We had the good fortune of connecting with Tyson Weed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tyson, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I wanted to start something new. I’ve been in the tattoo industry for about 11 years, and I wanted to open a studio that was more client-focused than other tattoo shops. Tattooing is a booming industry, and there’s a lot of money to be made. But for me, tattooing is so personal. I wanted to create a family environment for both my clients and other tattoo artists. I also didn’t want to profit off the work of other artists – it just didn’t seem right. So I created a collective instead of a typical tattoo studio. Sentient Tattoo Collective is a welcoming, warm space for clients and other tattooers, providing the highest quality experience for everyone involved. I’ve lived in Tempe for about 8 years now and I was so stoked to start a business here. Being involved in the community and giving back was a priority for me when starting the tattoo collective. I decided to partner with Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona because art was such an integral part of my childhood. Our missions align perfectly: healing through artistic expression. Art transformed me, and now I get to help art transform the life of children who need it the most.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My whole life I’ve been artistic. When I was younger, I was always doodling and sketching – I preferred art over much of my other schoolwork. Adults would compliment my artwork but I was always told that I could never really make money being an artist. I was told my options for a profession would be a cartoonist or an art teacher – neither one sounded appealing! But I didn’t give up on my passion. After high school, I worked for several years a project manager at a networking company. It was hard work and long hours. Eventually, I couldn’t stop thinking about my passion for art and decided to quit my job and become a tattoo apprentice. As they say, the rest if history! As far as my art today goes, I’m inspired by Asian art: koi fish, foo dogs, dragons, geishas, tigers, etc. To me, the Asian culture is so rich in history. It’s an honor to recreate Asian art as tattoos – a permanent masterpiece for each one of my clients.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh man, there are so many things to do and see in Arizona! My favorite outdoor spots are The Jug at Salome Wilderness Trail, the Grand Canyon (the north rim is incredible!), Antelope Canyon, West Fork Trail just outside of Sedona (my favorite in fall), and the Lava Tubes near Flagstaff. I’ve been mountain biking the last few years and you can’t go wrong with any trail in the McDowell Mountain Preserves – my favorite spot is Brown’s Ranch. In town, I love visiting the Desert Botanical Gardens. I get so much of my inspiration from nature and there’s no shortage of it at the Gardens. In addition, the Phoenix Art Museum and the Arizona Science Center are ‘must-sees’ for me. In fact, I took my wife on our first date at the Science Center! My favorite food joint is Jalapeno Bucks right now – their brisket, bean and cheese burrito is out of this world!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There have been so many people who have supported me and cheered me on in opening Sentient Tattoo Collective. My wife has been an incredible support. She helped with all the licensing and administrative requirements needed to open a tattoo studio. There are all kinds of permits and paperwork that need to be filled out approved to open a brick and mortar business in Tempe – sometimes it’s overwhelming and easy to just give me up but my wife and I made a great team in moving things forward. My family was supportive as well – my brothers helped with some of the labor in getting the tattoo shop ready, and others attended every event (pre-COVID, of course!) and liked and shared every social media post. I have to give a shoutout to my local tattoo community too: Dub Weir, Austin West, Charles Taylor, and Nathan Zerbach just to name a few, They deserve some recognition in the success of Sentient Tattoo Collective.
Rebecca Nguyen, RHN Media