Celebrity Check – Meet the Tattoo Artist Corey Miller
34 years ago, a fifteen-year-old boy who played drums in a punk rock band decided to get a tattoo. To the craziness, he himself carved out his first tattoo on himself using a needle and thread wrapped around it. This inspired the boy to build his own tattooing machine that consisted of a fish tank pump motor, the tip of a Bic pen, a bent toothbrush, and some guitar string as a needle. There he began his journey.. he used to carry his homemade machine around in a Vans shoe box with a bottle of Pelican ink. HE WAS COREY MILLER.
Miller was born in 1967 and today is a very popular tattoo artist and once was one of the core tattoo artists on the reality television. He owns his tattoo parlor, Six Feet Under in California.
Miller is an expert in black and gray portraits and dragon art. He is also known for his freehand work and his talent for drawing directly on the skin without any stencils. His clients have included celebrities, such as James Hetfield from the band Metallica, Jason Giambi, former Dream Theater member Mike Portnoy and Jesse James.
Corey – Journey As A Tattoo Artist
As said above, Corey started his working as a tattoo artist at the age of 15. After he designed his own tattoo machine, Corey moved to Hollywood and found himself at the first tattoo shop, Spotlight Tattoo headed by vulnerable Bob Roberts. Corey was greatly fascinated by this hardest punk tattoo shop that was known for the hand-drawn skulls and other violent designs on the walls. He was very much impressed by the technology tattoo artists were using there. Somewhere, he knew that the spark of the machine he was using will fade away a day and would soon he be inking with one of the strong machines that was being used at Spotlight.
Corey, a year later went to Franco’s, the local tattoo parlor in Ontario, California. Corey and his buddies would visit Franco’s after school to drink beers. By this time, Corey was drawing designs and cleaning the trash at the shop. Franco sold Corey what he thought was a broken tattoo machine that turned out to work just fine.
Luckily, things changed for Corey in 1987 when one night he met tattoo artist Mark Mahoney at a party. Soon Corey started hanging out at the shop where Mahoney worked. Corey started trying hard to convince Fat George up for the job of tattoo artist. Finally, Fat George gave Corey his big break. Mahoney was planning to open a new shop out in Los Angeles, which meant that a chair was opening up. And… Suddenly, Corey Miller had his first real job inking tattoos.
Another turning point came for Corey in 1989 on the day when Dick Warsocki walked into his shop and saw Corey hammering out an amazing Indian Head tattoo on a customer’s back. Warsocki was popular for his beautiful Native American fine-line tattoos. Warsocki complimented Corey on the design, told him if he could accompany him to the New Orleans for a tattoo convention, and crash on his hotel floor. Corey took the offer, and at the convention in New Orleans discovered an entirely new realm of tattoo artistry.
There he met famed artists including Guy Atchison and Eddie Deutsche, Suzanne Fauser, who were all masters in their unoque style of tattoo designing. Of course, this was great opportunity for Miller and his career. The trip was the beginning of his annual voyages to Ann Arbor, Michigan, over the next twelve years. In fact, his career would take Corey Miller all over the United States, from Los Angeles to New York to Hawaii, and to a host of worldwide destinations such as Canada, France, Amsterdam, and Japan. He would eventually become one of the most sought-after purveyors of ink in modern times.
Corey also got the opportunity to work and learn from renowned tattoo artists like Jack Rudy, Mike Brown. Corey considers himself fortunate to have learned some important technical skills from Brown and to have seen masterpieces created by the hand of Jack Rudy, his friend and mentor.
In 1991, ‘Six Feet Under‘ was born. Corey opened his own tattoo parlor, with a staff of two artists—himself and Henry Powell. Then on 1st April 1997, Corey established a shop in his own building in downtown Upland, and that is where the Six Feet Under Tattoo Parlor is today.
Corey feels lucky to have experienced the best and the worst of the tattoo business. Unlike many tattoo artists, he never had a formal traineeship. But instead got his education by ‘going on my own and falling on my face and doing it all again on my own terms.’
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