Meet the Tattoo Artists at Obsidian Arts: Caz
Art//Galway Stories

Meet the Tattoo Artists at Obsidian Arts: Caz

In order to introduce you to the incredibly talented tattooists and piercers responsible for the stunning artwork we see coming out of Obsidian Arts, this series of Meet the Artist is to do just that! In our first edition we want to introduce you to one of Obsidian Arts’ co-owners: Caz.

Located on 3 Cross Street Lower, Obsidian Arts is a custom tattoo and body piercing studio and art gallery in Galway city’s artistic Latin Quarter. Co-owned by the creative duo Caz and Debbie, the Obsidian team are all specialists in their art form and can create the perfect piece of body art for you, no matter whether that’s the piercing you’ve always wanted or a tattoo designed specifically for you. To check out Obsidian Arts and its artists' recent work, please tap here, via this link you will also be able to easily book in with your preferred tattooist or piercer.

In the first edition of our Q+As with all of Obsidian Arts’ highly skilled resident artists, we got chatting with tattooist Caz, to learn more about Obsidian Arts itself, get some expert advice and to discover what was his first ever tattoo?

above: photo by Ciarán MacChoncarraige 

To book your tattoo session with Caz head over to his Instagram page @caz050 to see some of his most recent work and DM him to get your appointment arranged.

Have you always wanted to have your own studio?

Yes, I guess I’ve always had it in the back of my head as a dream and a goal. There were points when I was really happy where I was, but now I think it’s a good time to push myself forward and put myself out there a bit more. There’s also still a lot more we want to achieve with the studio, but it’s all a learning experience and we’ve been focusing our energy on building it up day by day. We have had amazing support from friends, family, and the other studios. It’s probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done but in a strange way it feels like it’s always been there, so that must be a good sign.

Why did you name it ‘Obsidian Arts?’ Any particular reason?

Well, we spent a long time cycling through different names trying to find one that made sense for us. We knew we didn’t want anything too “dark” sounding and that we didn’t want to include “Galway” in the name so that it wasn’t copying any existing studios. Eventually we settled on “Obsidian” because it is used in jewellery which is a reference to the piercing side. I really like history, so the fact that it was used to make arrowheads and blades fit too. Maybe our nerdiest reason was that we are both big Game of Thrones fans. Debbie has a lizard and I had a husky, who unfortunately passed away shortly before we opened. But they were kind of like our knock off versions of dragons and direwolves. In the series they use obsidian or “dragonglass” to slay the white walkers, so it felt like it was a good name for thwarting bad vibes. We went with “Arts” instead of “tattoo and piercing” because we wanted to highlight that we have artistic projects outside of that and we also aim to display more local work from other artists going forward.

above: tattoo by Caz

How long have you been tattooing + when did you set up in Galway?

I think I started working in a tattoo studio in around 2008. I’m never really sure how to answer that question to be honest because I think I got off to a bit of a slow start with the actual tattoo part. It took a while until I was getting in solid practice and tattooing properly. And I always feel a bit like I’m cheating if I count Covid! I’ve always been based in Galway though. I’ve done guest spots and conventions around Ireland and I’ve more recently been focusing on stepping outside my comfort zone by attending more international conventions.

Could you tell me about your preferred style of tattooing?

I’ve always found it a bit difficult to choose a specific style, I like to experiment a bit and change things up. I really enjoy doing colour tattoos, specifically designs that are related to film/tv and animals. I’d love the chance to do a few more large colour pieces as well.

What advice would you give to somebody coming in to get their first tattoo?

Besides the usual advice like make sure you eat prior to your appointment and don’t drink too much the night beforehand, my advice would be don’t be afraid to ask questions or communicate with the person tattooing you. I think a lot of people can feel a little intimidated or caught up in the moment when they come into a tattoo studio. I think it’s important to let people know it’s ok to ask us to move the stencil or take a break etc. We are here to work with you and want you to be happy with your tattoo and your overall experience.

above: tattoo by Caz

What is a tattoo that you’ve done that sticks out in your mind the most, or that you’re most proud of?

I don’t think I could pick one that I’m most proud of. There definitely have been tattoos along the way where I have seen progress in my work. But I’m the kind of person who would find it easier to name off lots of tattoos I wasn’t happy with!

Do you remember what was the first tattoo you ever did?

Yeah, I don’t think there’s much hope of me forgetting that one! It was a Kanji symbol on my leg. I don’t even remember what it means to be honest. I just chose it because it looked like it was an easy design to start with.

What was the first tattoo you ever got?

The first tattoo I ever got was a kind of black shark silhouette with some blue squiggles representing the water I guess. My style choice has changed a bit but the shark theme has remained the same because I’ve got a whole sleeve of them now, done by Steve in Galway Bay Tattoo.

above: tattoo by Caz

Feature photo by Ciarán MacChoncarraige

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