Who Did Your Ink? is the Straight’s weekly feature, where we ask badass Vancouverites about the talented artists, indelible stories, and, at times, questionable antics behind their most treasured tattoos.
What's your name? Jakob Creamore.
What do you do? I daylight as a store manager for a well-known video-game retailer. I am a part-time Twitch streamer, I go to school on my days off for business and marketing, and I'm a dogfather of one.
Who did your ink? Most of the sort of traditional work was done by the late, great Dustin "Bones" Kroetsch at Five Fathoms Tattoo in Vernon, B.C.
We were working on a full sleeve for my left arm before he passed, so I'm not sure how best to finish it. The revolver shooting out the flower is actually the first new addition to that arm and I got that at the Vancouver Tattoo Convention in 2016 by Andrew McDonald, who also works out of Five Fathoms Tattoo.
The cupcake on my right forearm was done by Dustin Kroetsch as well. The "Game Over" knuckle tattoos were done by Brian Joubert. The stars on my elbows were done at Genesis Tattoo in Vernon way back when I was freshly out of high school, but I'm unsure of the artist.
I also have "In Godzilla We Trust", which was done during a fundraiser after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I'm not sure who did it as I took one of the few available spots during a very busy day. The Star Wars Galactic Empire and Rebels insignias on the back of my head were done by Kay Abbott.
I have a few scattered pokes on my knees, hands, and feet done by my own shaky hand or by my friends.
Why did you choose those artists to do your tattoos? I got my first two tattoos on my elbows as a graduation gift when I finished high school. I had decided on the design when I was 13 and sat on the idea for five years until I was old enough.
I lived in Kelowna at the time and spent a few weeks just researching artists in the area. I ended up at Genesis Tattoo after deciding I liked the way their blackwork seemed to hold and they had really clean lines.
I wanted to get the praying hands next and started looking for a new artist as the one who had done my stars had moved provinces. I was big into piercings at the time and found myself in Five Fathoms, this tiny little shop in an alley and up a circular metal staircase.
I got pierced a couple of times by J.P. and, from spending time in the shop, I had grown to really love Dustin’s style and flexibility. I booked an appointment with him and it snowballed.
We starting planning my sleeve that I never planned on getting and filled it up with pieces. It was a combination of me bringing in some general ideas and having him draw up what he saw when I described things. I went in for my appointment to get my rose and straight razor on my left shoulder and he pulled out a sketch he had done the day before. He told me he drew it and thought it would be perfect... so that's how I ended up with my hourglass/skull piece.
We worked more on finding pieces that fit the black/grey/red theme I was going for and I stuck with him until he passed.
Brian did my knuckles because I was trying really hard to find someone willing to give a 20-year-old knuckle tattoos. I had spent some time at Five Fathoms and Brian finally told me he would do them for me. I was beyond excited and had always liked his work so that was all I needed.
My Star Wars insignias were something I had wanted for a really long time. But seeing as I had moved to Vancouver, I had WAY too many options and was really lost in the buffet of shops. I heard that Kay could do some really good blackwork and, after looking over his portfolio, I was sold. I'm really happy with how they turned out and how well they have held up.
I was at the 2016 Vancouver Tattoo Convention and stumbled across the Five Fathoms booth. I had kept up with who they had on roster and was pretty set on getting something done by one of them while I was there. I ended up talking with Andrew a bit and found a piece he had flash-drawn that I felt would really fit in with the style on my left arm. It was really great to get something done by a talented artist working on behalf of the shop that got me started.
Is there any meaning behind them? Sort of. I like to think that, as I get tattoos, I've given them progressively less meaning.
My first ones were the stars on my elbows. I had worked with a guy when I was 13 that really kind of opened my mind to personal choice. I really started exploring different music genres and styles, and I guess the tattoos were sort of an ode to him... I got two stars, but he only had one.
The praying hands tattoo is probably the one with the most meaning to me. I didn't meet my biological father until I was 19, but I had a step-dad (I hate calling him this, he's my dad) that had raised me since I was barely the age of one—and he was only 17 himself!
He always wore a closed-loop chain around his wrist and it's something I've always attributed to him. I was also following the straight-edge lifestyle at the time and came up with the idea of the praying hands holding a chain. I know the praying hands have a traditionally religious tone, but I always viewed them as an image of holding something dear. So they represent what I hold most dear, which is my dad and at the time my straight-edge life.
The fan of cards was done because I've always been a huge fan of magic and cardistry. I'm a bit of a hobbyist magician myself and I really wanted to immortalize that passion of mine. Plus, cards are rad.
A lot of the work on my left arm was done due to four simple words: "That would be cool!" So they have less meaning, but I love them just the same. I think getting tattoos for deep meaning is great and all, but sometimes you just want some badass pictures on your body.
The cupcake was actually a pretty great story as well. I was visiting family in Kelowna for Easter a few years ago and my young cousin asked me why I only had scary tattoos. I was close enough to Five Fathoms and had some extra cash, so I stopped in and decided a cupcake with pink icing was a great choice for a not-scary tattoo. The best part of the story is that when I finally showed my little cousin and asked him what his favourite tattoo of mine was, he chose the skull.
I really wanted to tattoo my knuckles when I was younger. (I actually have a very embarrassing photo of me at the age of 14 with "PUNK ROCK" written on my knuckles with a sharpie.) I had thrown around plenty of ideas and could never find one that I really wanted to commit to.
Finally, I was at a stage where I really wanted to get a tattoo for video gaming as it's been a huge part of my life and had taken up most of my spare time and money. I didn't want to commit to any specific character or title or even brand, so I was having a really tough time trying to figure something out. That was until I came to the sudden realization that “Game Over” was eght letters long and that I had eight fingers.
I went to probably a dozen different shops in the Kelowna area trying to get anyone to tattoo my knuckles and I was getting turned away for the standard reasons. I was told that they faded fast, or that I wasn't "dirty" enough yet and to come back once my arms were covered, or that the shop had a policy about "everlasting job stoppers" and I just could not find a shop to do it.
I finally found a shop that was out of town. It was definitely a bit sketchy and had little to no photographs of finished work, but I was stubborn and committed at this point. A few days before my appointment was scheduled, I was at Five Fathoms getting some new jewellery for my ears and was telling the guys that I finally found somewhere and that I had booked it.
After a bit of discussion, Dustin saw that I was obviously committed and suggested that Brian do them for me. I jumped at the offer and got them done shortly after.
Shortly after the 2011 earthquake in Japan, Five Fathoms held a fundraiser event and all proceeds were being sent to help where it was needed. I had heard about it from a few people and knew it was functioning on a first come, first served basis and for a good cause.
I had kind of set my mind on getting a chest tattoo and I've always been a huge fan of Godzilla and other Kaiju movies, so I was leaning in that direction. I had thrown around so many ideas in the two short days I had to prepare and only finalized what I wanted as we parked the car at the shop. It was a toss-up between “Godzilla Save the Queen” or “In Godzilla We Trust”. I'm very happy that I decided on the latter and I still chuckle to myself anytime I think about it.
I'm a big Star Wars fan. I have watched the films since my childhood and had "lightsaber" fights with painted sticks well into my early teens. I even collected empty Pepsi cans because there were some themed cans produced when Episode One was released.
Again, I don't ever want to pledge my love to a specific character, film, or location when it comes to my tattoos but I still want to show my love for them. I also have lots of characters I love from both the light and dark of the force so I wasn't about to commit to either side. I figured getting the insignias of the two large forces in the films was a good way to go. I also feel it allows me to be a little good and a little evil.
My little pokes are all mainly from times where I was either itching for a new tattoo without the funds or when I was just sitting around with friends and we all did them. I kind of just find something little that I think would be fun and... put it where I feel it would look okay.
I've got a poorly done coffee mug and stick of dynamite on my right hand. I've got a design on my right knee and an unfinished Eye of Providence on my left knee. I'd say my favourite, though, is the number 13 on my big toe. It came out so well and I finished it in like 10 minutes on a Friday the 13th.
Who’s your favourite local tattoo artist? My favourites are all artists who I haven't gotten work by. I would really love to get something done by Mitch Kirilo or Nomi Chi from Gastown Tattoo (105 West Cordova Street).
My girlfriend got some stuff by Daniel Kurc of Victory Tattoo (2116 East Hastings Street) and I would really love to get a traditional piece from him.
Other than that, I'm always looking. I don't really have a specific style I prefer, so Vancouver, in many ways, is a huge smorgasbord of options.
What’s next on your ink list? What is next is something I've been asking myself a lot lately. I definitely have plans on getting a battle scene between Godzilla and a yet-to-be-chosen Kaiju on my chest to go with the writing.
I also want another magic-themed tattoo. I'm getting my inspiration for that from old magician advertising posters. However, I really want a stupid tattoo next. I don't know what exactly, but I want a tattoo that I can look at and it makes me laugh.
I have so many serious looking tattoos and I want to break it up and get something really colourful and very, very not serious. Maybe something misspelled or poorly drawn. Maybe I'll see if I can find a child to do their best recreation of a photo I like.