Meet Josh Kuhne, an extremely talented artist from the Gold Coast. Josh was always a creative child, doodling in his schoolbooks and even made it into an art excellence program. Through years of hard work and dedication, Josh is now the owner of the #1 ranked tattoo parlour as voted by the Gold Coast. We had the pleasure of popping into Phresh Ink during one of Josh's sessions and asking him a few questions - read on!
So Josh, tell us about yourself, and how you got into art?
I have always been interested in art from a very young age, in primary school my school books would start with about 10 pages of school work and by the end of the day there would be a full book of drawings and doodles drawn from the back page. It was in high school where I was placed into an art excellence program that I knew my talent for drawing and creating art could actually be recognised as a legitimate skill / trade. It was also in high school that I caught an eye for graffiti and painting. I was really intrigued by street art throughout high school, knowing that an unknown artist would spend hours painting (usually in the night time) such unique works of art that would never be sold nor recognised by the general public - it was usually only by other painters.
Who is your style influenced by, and how did you get into tattooing?
From a very young age I was always interested in tattoos, having my first tattoo on my own body at age 16, now 26 I am 80% covered. After being kicked out of high school at the end of grade 10, I was straight on the tools spending nearly 5 years as a labourer and also started an electrical apprenticeship. It was when we went through a recession and my boss couldn't afford to keep me on that I stepped away from manual labour and decided if I was going to make a career as an artist the time was now. I knew tattooing was my best shot and I took my drawings into the local studio where I made a start the very next day.
The development of my style is quite a heavy mixture of things I have learnt, people I have met and people I look up to in the tattoo industry. Art inspires me and I have learnt so much over the years and I am still learning, especially from everyone who has been and still is a part of Phresh Ink and the people who have been with me over the years. My mind is skills, style and my mind is constantly learning.
When did you start Phresh Ink, how did you start it and tell us about its growth?
Phresh Ink started after I had just returned from travelling 11 months through Europe. I had already learned how to run a studio and I didn't want to work for anyone so I decided to look around to open a studio of my own. Being so young my dreams were big, and so was the vacant shop located in Helensvale I found for lease. It was far too big for for just a tattoo studio so I made plans to retail all sorts of things from clothing to paint supplies. Opening Phresh Ink and keeping it afloat for the first two years was the hardest thing I had done - it was draining both mentally and financially but with persistence and constant support from my Fiancé Amy we overcame the endless problems and battles.
Phresh Ink is now 4 years old and is considered Australia's largest and fastest growing studio and was voted Gold Coasts number 1 tattoo studio by the Gold Coast bulletin. The barber shop was an idea from day one but I have learnt in this business that it takes the right people to be a part of a team if you're going to succeed. It took me a few years to twist the arm of my good mate Taylor Finlay to join us at Phresh Ink to open Phresh Barber Co. which has been going for over 2 years now. Safe to say I'm glad I waited. He has helped form the barber shop into a solid brotherhood and we have a consistent network of great returning clientele.
Tell us about your personal art, and where do you want to take your graffiti?
After putting my passion for painting with aerosol's on hold or reduced to just a hobby for so many years I am trying to take it more serious and would like to start taking on some bigger projects and looking to paint some bigger walls. I now have more time on my hands to reconnect with my first passion for art so I am going to pursue it. I'd really love to travel again and leave my mark painting walls in different countries that I visit, to me that would be super satisfying. I don't really aim to make huge money off any of my art mediums when I create art now, I just wish to have full artistic freedom for when I create them.
Thanks Josh, until next time!