Sam Cole / SlurredVision

Jason Taylor, Founder of Ink Nurse sits down with Sam for a chat!

JT) Sam! Thank you for taking the time to do this with me, how’s life treating you at the moment?

SC) Hey mate! You’re so welcome! Life is going well, all things considered. Despite it being cliché, last year was a fucking shit show for so many reasons beyond the obvious, so it’s nice to have hit the metaphorical reset button.

JT) I’m just going to jump right in here and ask you how your brand identity and creative presence, known as SLURRED VISION took place and has evolved into what we see today?

SC) That is a very long and convoluted story but I’ll try to keep it concise. I have spent most of my life seeking some sort of existential purpose, leading to mean highs and lows. After years of hard work, as well as self sabotage, my “rebranding” to SlurredVision coincided with the decision to devote more time and energy to creative outlets beyond tattooing. SlurredVision became the amalgamation of myself as a painter, photographer, writer, designer and of course the tattooist. I’m not sure if it was subconscious or coincidental change, but it was good timing regardless. Since then SlurredVision has continued to evolve, giving me the opportunity to take my art in whatever direction I wish.

JT) Where do you source the inspiration for your art? It certainly has it’s own character and mood across the board, so I was just curious to know what inspires you to create the type of art you do, whether it’s in the form of a product, item, painting, drawing or whatever else you produce?

SC) The majority of my pieces are merely visual representations of my own emotions and experiences. I seem use painting as a way to document my life, a journal that uses more than mere words to express my emotions. I still love teen angst emo music, such insignificant issues expressed with the same level of emotion I deal with as an adult keeps them relevant. I owe a lot of my entire life to the music scene I grew up with. I guess to summarise I’m generally inspired by people not things, people who are I can relate to that have found success helps me internally validate the things I do. I particularly love people who broke ground, pushed boundaries or simply did whatever they wanted regardless of social reception. That is where it see true creativity, whether its art, fashion or fucking smart phones. Creating something truly special and unique will always confuse or anger people, but giving people what they want is merely giving them what they already have. Familiarity is safe, comforting and soul crushingly dull.

JT) How old were you when you first started tattooing and what made you want to decide to pursue that as a career?

SC) After I got my first few tattoos at 16, I applied for an apprenticeship and got knocked back. So being a little sook, I didn’t even apply for another one until I was 21. I grew up with my walls covered with band posters so I have been staring at tattooed people since I was young and it was something I always wanted to do. I was very academic when I was young but after high school I didn’t bother with university I just bounced between jobs until really putting in the work needed to raise my drawing skills to the level needed to be a successful tattooist.

JT) Have you ever had any doubts about your career choice? What has made you stick with it and see the success that you have been able to see?

SC) Yes. Like all the fucking time. Sometimes all that has kept me going is the need for income, but my family and amazing girlfriend Celia keep me on track. I fucking love tattooing and wouldn’t give it up for anything, but the industry is full of ups and downs and sometimes I just let the downs get to me.

JT) Have you ever entered any tattoo competitions at expos/conventions? What are your thoughts on these type of events too?

SC) Yeah early on in my career I worked a lot of conventions and entered the comps. Winning trophies early in my career made me super proud and gave me a bunch of confidence, but after a year or so off from the competition side of things, I lost interest. There are too many amazing artists all around the world for competitions to accurately represent ones abilities. My thoughts on conventions fluctuate and I have definitely out grown the desire to work at them, but realistically my views are irrelevant. They can be great for the industry as a whole and at the end of the day, they are orchestrated for the general public. So as long as people enjoy attending them, then they still have a place in the industry.

JT) Tell us the best thing about Adelaide and why people should visit?

SC) @slurredvision Lol, nah. Adelaide is a small town but it has it’s charm. I like being able to travel to other cities then come back home to Adelaide as a place to live. I can’t think of specific reasons to visit, but South Australia is full of tourist attractions that probably fly under my radar after living here my whole life.

JT) What can we all look forward to seeing from you in 2021? Any special projects you can reveal? (I know I’m looking forward to what you and I will be releasing in the coming months!)

SC) I always seem to have a million projects on the go, but this year I really want to take my art outside of tattooing in new directions. After positive responses to various things I released last year I have a bit more confidence to create or release things that would have once made me feel far too vulnerable. I have an immense stockpile of unreleased work that I would love to get out into the world at some point. I also love design, so the chance to collaborate with various companies is something I’m really looking forward to.

JT) Do you have any advice for someone who may want to pursue a career as a tattoo artist? Any words of encouragement or advice to anyone who may be reading this?

SC) Fucking don’t! Really though, the industry is beyond capacity, so unless you are willing to dedicate every living moment of your life to tattooing you are essentially set for failure from the start. The standards have become so high that even veteran tattoo artists are getting lost in the crowd. I love seeing genuine artists enter the tattoo industry, the future of tattooing is creativity.

JT) Okay now a few rapid-fire questions to wrap this up. Reply in 1 or 2 words…

- Current state of the tattoo industry?

SC) The best it has ever been while also being over saturated. Though the increasingly high standards within the industry will be the filter that takes care of the rapid influx of new artists.

JT) Favourite film?

SC) Candy or Heathers. I also love biopics. Real is interesting.

JT) Favourite band?

SC) Maybe Taking Back Sunday? There are too many to list.

JT) Favourite artist?

SC) See Previous answer.

JT) Someone you’d love to work with but haven’t yet?

SC) Honestly I think they are all dead.

JT) Thanks so much for your time Sam!