Bart Willis — Southside Tattoo
My fascination with tattooing began in the early eighties. In Western Canada where I was raised it was difficult to even find a tattoo shop but I had the good fortune to find Paul Jeffries and Ken Cameron at the Smiling Buddha in Calgary. They were the real deal.
I moved to Austin in 1990 but my friendship with Ken eventually inspired me to want to learn how to tattoo. So in 1992 I set out on the path that has brought me here today. Although Austin is home my hunger to tattoo has led me to many interesting places and introduced me to many interesting faces
In 1999 I followed my heart to the remote village of Alert Bay, British Columbia. You can still find me there tattooing in my little shop there during the summer. After a few years there I decided to head even further North to Masset on Haida Gwaii, where I have worked since 2003. Both of these communities are rich in their native arts and I am very fortunate to have been able to tattoo so much of and study it. I pride myself on having a good knowledge of and respect for many of the indigenous tattoo forms of the Pacific, from Polynesia to Japan.
My considerable experience with black tattooing has provided me with the opportunity to try my hand at many of these styles and I enjoy working with them all. What I like most though is the opportunity to combine them into a style of my own which I call Pacific Fusion.
I don’t limit myself to Pacific Fusion though and I still love to do most all kinds of tattooing and take pride in understanding all aspects of the art of tattoo with emphasis on the power that a well-crafted, well-placed and well-executed design can have on a person’s life.
Although I travel for a good part of the year I am proud to call Austin, Texas home. Come see me at my shop there, Southside Tattoo. We opened Southside Tattoo in 2001 and we have the reputation as one of the best shops in Austin.