Brooklyn Tattoo Artist To Represent East Coast On Ink Masters – Brooklyn, NY Patch

Posted in Tattoo Shop on Dec 21, 2019

BROOKLYN, NY Brooklyn-born tattoo artist Drew Hicks lives and breathes tattooing.

"There's not a minute I'm not working," the Hidden Gems tattoo parlor owner said. "24 hours a day, every minute I [am] awake I [am] either tattooing, or drawing, or studying tattooing."

But, it wasn't always that way.

The Red Hook native said when he first started tattooing at 12 years old with a sewing needle and ink on himself he never imagined it would become a full-time career. Even as he tattooed friends over the years, he never charged them, instead viewing the construction jobs he was doing as his longterm career path, Hicks said.

It wasn't until construction work slowed and he started bringing on tattoo clients to pay the bills that Hicks, who now lives in Dyker Heights, said it clicked that tattooing was what he wanted to do.

"I started seeing this level of work that was out there that I didn't know was even achievable," he said. "Once I saw that being done, I wanted to get to that level...I got into it out of necessity, but I worked my ass off ever since."

Hicks now hopes that self-made background is what will get him far in the most recent level of his career a national TV show.

The Brooklyn artist will be one of five tattooers who will represent the East Coast in a new "turf war" themed season of Ink Masters, Paramount Network's widely popular tattoo competition show. He will be at least the second Brooklynite to make it onto the show this year after Bushwick tattoo veteran Big Jaz joined a season 12 cast over the summer.

In the new season, 20 artists from around the country will be split into four teams, representing the East, West, South and Midwestern parts of the country.

For Hicks, it will mean realizing a long-time dream of joining the show's cast. He's applied two or three times to get on Ink Master since he started professionally tattooing seven years ago, Hicks said.

"This show is pretty important," he said. "It will get your face out there, your work out there and more people will be able to see the hard work you put in as a tattoo artist. It's something to aspire to."

Hicks specializes in the "black and grey realism" style of tattooing, or portraits and other realistic drawings.

Those types of tattoos were the types he was most inspired by even before he started working professionally, Hicks said. For him, tattoos are all about individualism.

"We all have the same blueprint we have arms, legs and everything tattooing is a way to customize what we all have," Hicks, who said he's pretty well covered in tattoos himself, said. "Tattooing allows you to customize and look different than everyone else."

As for how that style and his hardworking spirit fared for the show's $100,000 grand prize, Hicks could only say that he "doesn't regret anything."

"I'm happy I did the show," he said.

Ink Master's 13th season will premiere at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Brooklyn Tattoo Artist To Represent East Coast On Ink Masters - Brooklyn, NY Patch

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