Interviews Hate Wise

Ross Hallam runs a tattoo studio in Johannesburg and has worked in England and Hong Kong. He loves full colour neo-traditional tattoos, as well as Japanese tattoos with a western twist. Tattooing is a highly respected art form and is often linked to graffiti.

Tell us a bit about who you are…

I am co-owner and tattooer at Handstyle Tattoos Johannesburg. I also paint graffiti under the names ‘Hate’ and ‘Wise’. When I still have spare time I play in a Hardcore Punk band called Conqueror.

How long have you been tattooing?

I’ve been tattooing for five years now and I’ve been painting properly since around 1999/2000, although I did some of my first tags under some terrible toy aliases as early as 1997.

How did you get into tattooing? Was it through graffiti or did graffiti come afterwards?

I think art and my fascination with sub-cultures led me to persue both graffiti and tattooing as another art form to express myself. The first tattoo flash I drew up back in 2000 was completely graffiti orientated, it wasn’t great but it was a lot better than most cherry creek flash doing the rounds at the time. Graffiti came first and has played a major role in the development of my tattooing in regards to colour, line variation and typography. But, at the same time, they are completely different mediums and tattooing commands a lot more respect.

What do you love most about tattooing?

The fact that you are constantly learning and progressing, meeting other rad artists and hanging out with my best friends. Getting the chance to travel and do guest work locally and abroad. Being able to translate peoples ideas in to a permanent work of art. I love the work ethic and being part of an amazing community.

What do you love most about graffiti?

I loved painting panels the most, I gave it up a long time back. But seeing panels run is the best feeling ever. These days I enjoy painting pieces and taking it easy and relaxed on a wall. I’m over all the juvenile politics and crew beef. Do what you love and love what you do, it ain’t worth getting shot over.

Shout out to Tower, Skiet, Drone, Hack, 2Kil and my crew in the UK; Spar Monster Colours NRFL.

© Copyright 2013, Graffiti South Africa™.
Graffiti South Africa™ thanks Ross Hallam for this interview.
First published on 26 April 2013.