Interview And Exclusive Giveaway With Los Angeles Tattoo Artist: Codey Doran
We sat down with tattoo artist Codey Doran in Los Angeles to get to know the man behind some of the best portrait and realism work in LA. Nestled in the heart of the Arts District, the Los Angeles River Tattoo Company where Codey tattoos is dripping with cool vibes and good energy.
When you approach the building, the first thing you notice is the smell of fresh brewed coffee, as the shop shares the building with a local coffee shop. The walls are covered with large scale murals and hand-shaped surfboards, embracing true California culture.
Codey is one of only a handful of artists in the shop and his talent for realism and portraits can be seen in his paintings that hang from the walls in his space. Finishing his apprenticeship in 2011, Codey has been perfecting his craft and making a name for himself as a tattoo artist in Los Angeles for over a decade.
Tell us a bit about you...where are you from and how did you get into tattooing?
My name is Codey Doran, I am born and raised in Los Angeles. I got into tattooing a few years after high school and haven't stopped since. I have always been into tattoos and I completed my apprenticeship in 2011.
What has been the highlight of your career as a tattoo artist so far?
Every year is a new highlight for my career. From all the amazing clients I get to meet, to the great projects we get to create together.
If you weren’t a tattoo artist, what would you be doing?
If I wasn't a tattoo artist I would definitely be a full-time fine artist. I try to paint at least once a week but it's been very tough for me with tattooing full-time. My plan for 2020 is to fix that.
What are your favorite subjects to tattoo?
My favorite subjects to tattoo are portraits. Whether it's black and grey or color, I like to call that my expertise. Any realism, to be honest, is my favorite.
What’s the strangest tattoo you’ve ever done and what's the best tattoo you’ve ever created?
I've done plenty of strange tattoos actually. Just last week I did a full side of the face tattoo. The tattoo starts right by my client's eye and reaches to the neck. So naturally, I had to cover his complete ear with detail. The ear is a very strange part of the body to tattoo, from the lobe to all the different areas of cartilage. I even covered the whole inside of his ear.
Do you have any upcoming projects, conventions or art shows that we should know about?
I do many conventions annually. You are guaranteed to see me at Seaside Tattoo Show in Ventura County every year and at least one out of the country convention as well.
What were you doing before you decided to become a tattoo artist?
Before tattooing I was always drawing or painting. I've been painting with oils for only about 5 years, but as for drawing goes that's been my whole life.
What advice would you give to 16-year-old you?
Don't worry so much but at the same time, don't waste any time. Life is too short, try to enjoy it.
If you were a kitchen appliance, what would you be and why?
If I was a kitchen appliance I would be a spork....Because I do it all haha.
How is Zensa Numbing Cream beneficial to your work as a tattoo artist?
Zensa Numbing Cream is a great product for my type of tattooing, actually any style of tattooing. Why I say my type of tattooing is because my clients usually sit for 4 to 8 hours due to the details of realism and it makes it a hundred times easier for them.