10 Questions With Bili Vegas

Curious why Bili Vegas is getting his tattoos removed? Get to know the Ink Master contestant before the series premieres on January 17 at 10/9c on Spike.

January 3, 2012

Name: Bili Vegas
Age: 29
City: NYC
Shop: Sacred Tattoo
Website: www.bilivegas.com
Bili Vegas' Facebook Page
@bilivegas on Twitter

Describe yourself in 5 words or less.

Focused; Creative; Metal; OCD; Artist.

What drew you into the world of tattooing? What inspired you?

My mother raised me from a young age to be creative. I studied art and music from a very early age; I began painting as early as 3 and began playing violin at 4. My brother-in-law has been a tattoo artist since before I was born. Exposure to this industry grabbed my interest in it when I was a child. I was able to attend tattoo conventions and visit my brother-in-law's shop regularly, which introduced me to some of the big names in tattooing. Seeing the artistic end of this business, as well as meeting the ones who were pushing the limits and raising the bar gave me a passion for the trade which has stayed with me throughout my life.

When did you get your first tattoo? What was it?

I was 15, and got a small symbol on my leg to show one of my other passions (at the time): Break dancing.

How many tattoos do you have?

At the moment I have 2 leg sleeves, one full arm sleeve, a half sleeve and both chest panels. Most of which are currently undergoing the laser removal process. I started getting tattooed too young, and never planned anything properly... I'm cleaning the slate to start over.

What's your signature style?

As an artist, it's difficult to limit yourself to one style; however I like to work with dark realism, hyper realism, new school and biomech/bio-organic together to create something unique.

Who is your muse?

Specializing in realism, I am inspired by anything tangible I can find. But since I'm known especially for skull tattoos, my collection of human and animal skulls and bones is a constant inspiration.

What advice do you give to someone who's looking to get their first tattoo?

First and foremost, research!! Find an artist who does the style you wish to achieve. Don't go to a portrait artist for tribal or a traditional artist for anything but traditional. Contact the artist, and be patient; when it comes to high quality work, these are no longer the days of a walk-in/walk-out, same-day service. An artist who is in demand may be booked for months, if not years, ahead. But the wait is worth it when you are dealing with permanence.

Who do you think is your biggest competition on the show?

Shane and Josh are definitely my top competitors. In fact, our work has competed at conventions before, and the outcomes always varied.

What is the hardest part of being on Ink Master?

To me, an Ink Master is someone who never tires of learning, growing or pushing the limits with their art. However, with this comes a great deal of responsibility. Our primary focus must always be in the best interest of the client; the ones who keep us in business. I try to find a balancing point between accomplishing what the client expects, while never compromising my artistic visions... which is very difficult, and also why not every artist is right for every client.

Why do you think you are the Ink Master?

This is my life, I fall asleep thinking about tattooing, dream about tattooing, wake up ready to tattoo, then tattoo all day. I have devoted my life to this craft and continue to push myself and my art.

Check out Bili Vegas' portfolio here, and get more Ink Master at inkmaster.spike.com.