We had the good fortune of connecting with Danny Daggers and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Danny, how do you think about risk?
I believe that risk is a inherent part of life. Every time we board an airplane, operate a vehicle, or step outside the security of our own environment, or circumstance in any way we open ourselves to a variety of potential consequence. As human beings our individual, and collective desires repeatedly bring us face to face with certain physical, and/or psychological thresholds that we are required to pass through, or rise above in order to realize our truest potential. As a craftsman/artisan, and creative professional, I feel that “risk” has always been a consistent, and perhaps necessary part of my journey through life. My personal desire to not only thrive as an artist in a fiscal sense, but to live a creative lifestyle as well, has required me to step outside of my own comfort zone on many occasions, and discover the necessary means to live my life creatively. I sometimes feel that the risk of failure, and consequence has made the colors of my own experiential reality somehow richer, and brighter with more texture, and intensity than if I had only ever played it safe with the choices I have made.

I have found that the greatest risk one can take in striking out on their own either in business or life in general, is the risk of coming face to face with one’s own true nature, and realizing who we are as individuals with all of our virtuous imperfections, and limitations laid out before our senses, daunting us to cave in, and forfeit our dreams for a decidedly more predictable, and therefore presumably secure existence. I believe it is in these moments when our hunger for success, laced with a fear of failure is the most acutely perceived, and the risk assessment is high that we are perhaps presented with the most valuable opportunity for acquiring a sense of personal resilience, and growth that will long outlive the trepidation of fear one might experience when passing through the various bardo we encounter on the path to self realization.

I have practiced the ancient, art of tattoo for over 25 years. I feel that the risks I have taken in the pursuit of my creative passions along with my own experience regarding success, and/or failure as a result, have vested me with the proper aptitude required to guide my clients through the process of receiving permanent body art safely, and successfully with zero psychological trauma, and a modicum of physical discomfort. As someone who is familiar with taking risks I am completely aware, and sensitive to the mix of excitement, and/or fear one might experience when seeking to express their inner being through the art of tattoo. The trust that clients invest in my knowledge, and ability is precisely what inspires, and motivates me to keep crossing those personal thresholds, learning, and honing the nuances of my craft while embracing “risk” in order to realize my own potential, and the true nature of those around me with the purpose of constructing a ethical conduit for that divine, inspiration.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Aesthetically speaking I would describe my artwork as a fusion of various contemporary folk art movements, and commercial illustration. In terms of tattooing, classic western or American traditional, neo traditional, and new school are the labels most people would probably use to describe some of the work that I do at present. Personally I would consider my artistic approach to be as diverse as my clientele. As a child of the 1980s growing up in a predominately Chicano neighborhood in the American southwest region of California, my mixed upbringing exposed me to a variety of Latino & Caucasian, ethnic/pop culture, influences. Among these influences were the budding popularity of certain social, cult phenoms like punk rock, hip hop, skateboarding, graffiti/vandalism, tattooing. I consider these to be just a few of the folk art & youth, activist movements of the postmodern “Information Age” that helped to fuel my inspiration. Alongside of this were the rise, and almost viral spread of commercial graphics, and memes disseminated in movies, video games, animated cartoons, and underground/mainstream comic books. While I cannot credit any school, or department of academia for any part of my creative development, science, and literature both mainstream, and subversive have been, and still are great sources of inspiration, and resource in my creative, professional journey.

The town I grew up in was a small inland agricultural community located near the Colorado river. The public school district in that region of California was severely underfunded at the time, and there was little to no resources allocated to creative programs, or enterprise within the small impoverished community I was born into. I remember those years as being economically challenging for my family as well as most of my friends, and their families. We were isolated from other major cities by many miles of harsh desert landscape, and there was very little to do. In spite of this or perhaps because of this, much of my youth was spent finding ways to entertain, educate or feed myself creatively.

I discovered the art of tattooing at a very young age. Upon my first exposure to the medium I became very enamored with the process, and began to obsess over how to get one. This obsession eventually led to my initiation into the operative practice of tattooing. In the earliest years of my practice, proper equipment was extremely difficult to obtain. Living, and learning in a small isolated community, we were limited in resource when it came to tools of the trade, or art supplies in general for that matter. Tattoo equipment was also being produced in much smaller volume than it is today. The scarcity of said equipment, and it’s manufacture meant that you had to be really “tied in” with the makers themselves or individuals who could vouch for you to the handful of craftsmen, and suppliers that existed at the time. The handcrafted hardware I had access to was lacking in performance, and only black pigment was available. These limitations were just a part of what forced me, and many other practitioners of the time to find ways to adapt, and get the most out what we had at our disposal regardless of the relative struggle.

One of the first creative jobs I ever had was painting hand cut wooden & metal signs as a familial trade. This introduction to the science of letter composition & layout, combined with the allure of youthful rebellion may have been a pre cursor to my love of graffiti art, and street culture in my early adolescent years. It wasn’t until my late teens that I made the move to a larger city. At which point the boundaries of my perception of all things familiar, and strange began to expand rapidly in all directions, and continued for a number of years. As my experience, and interests multiplied with age I continued all the while to exercise my earliest creative passions whenever there was opportunity. Eventually acquiring the proper tools, and resources for my creative endeavors became easier, and I began to excel. However I have found that the necessity to do more with less has made myself, and other artists that share some of my experience more independently resourceful, and in some cases this is reflected in the artwork itself.

Perhaps one of the more controversial, and exciting things about being a tattoo artist in today’s world is to bear witness, and perhaps be a part of such an ancient human practice at a point in time when most of the old ways of doing things have been replaced, or outmoded by technology. It’s both exciting, and concerning to see how tech is changing certain aspects of this ancient ritual in unprecedented, and controversial ways while other aspects remain fundamentally, and intrinsically the same. As a visual graphic artist I am especially excited about how intuitive the interface between graphic software, and smart devices for designers have become. As one who is eco conscious, and concerned with sustainability of resources, I am inspired by the idea of creating immersive, artistic presentations with light, and information rather than exclusively making things out of stuff for profit. In other words going mostly paperless when it comes to the overall production of art, and ideas, while conserving finite materials for master works, and limited reproduction.

Art, and tattooing is my livelihood, and has been my primary focus for 25+ years. I have come to perceive tattooing as a cooperative fusion of art, and science. A magical, vehicle that propels me through space, and time on my trajectory through this life. Tattooing has taken me to places, and provided me with experiences that probably would not have otherwise been accessible to me. The independent lifestyle, that this career path has provided me has not always been easy to navigate, and in fact has often been a study in sacrifice, and humility. My experience has vested me with an understanding of the art of tattoo as a powerful medium in which to facilitate both physical, and emotional transformation of the individual; and as a possible result society at large. It is with this sentiment in heart & mind that I have established “Votive Tattoo” in Denver, Colorado.

Votive is a private studio & gallery retail space, servicing the greater Denver metro area. Personal tattoo sessions are available by appointment only. International, and out of state residents traveling to Colorado who wish to receive a tattoo during their visit may request a video consultation prior to scheduling an appointment.

Votive Tattoo

Definition of votive
: consisting of or expressing a vow, wish, or desire
a votive prayer
: offered or performed in fulfillment of a vow or in gratitude or devotion

Definition of tattoo
: a mark, figure, design, or word intentionally fixed or placed on the skin:
: one that is indelible and created by insertion of pigment under the skin
: one that is temporarily applied to the skin, resembles a permanent tattoo, and usually lasts for a few days to several weeks
: one that is composed of scar tissue intentionally created by cutting, abrading, or burning the skin
: the act of tattooing : the fact of being tattooed

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A lot people who visit Colorado are typically motivated by the outdoors, and natural beauty of the states mostly pristine mountain landscapes. There is generally a lot to do in regard to outdoor athletics or mountain excursions of one kind or another. However one of my favorite things to do after any length of time spent in the great outdoors is to unwind in a warm natural hot spring. Colorado has quite a few of these to choose from. They all have their pros, and cons depending on your expectations. However I have found the most accessible, and affordable of these options to be the Indian hot springs in the town of Idaho springs. Just a 20-30 minute drive outside of Denver makes these hot springs a convenient stop on the way to or back from whatever mountain adventures you might have planned during a visit to the Queen City. They have private baths available, and a large heated pool inside of a green house surrounded by a variety of ferns, and succulent plants. A comfortable, and relaxing destination any time of the year really.

Anytime someone from out of state has suggested visiting Denver to me I will typically recommend that they try planning a trip around one of the many musical concerts or festival events that take place around the city at any given time throughout the year. A lot of great talent both international, and domestic, indie, and mainstream make Denver or Boulder a regular stop on tour. There are a lot of venues in, and around Denver from nightclubs, and turn of the century, theater houses to stadiums, and amphitheaters. Out of all the great places in the area to see your favorite act. “Red Rocks Amphitheater” in Morrison, Colorado is definitely one of the most unique venues one can see a performance. Just make sure you plan ahead for the possibility of a sudden variance in weather conditions, and that your knees are in good working condition. On the other end of the spectrum if you prefer a combination of light dining, and live music. I would have to recommend Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. Ophelia’s offers a warm, multilevel indoor club atmosphere with a intimate stage area, dance floor, room to breathe, and possibly a place to sit down. A great casual venue for an intimate date, or connecting with a new friend.

It might not be at the top, or even near the top of most people’s list, but as a die hard fan of the show “South Park” and a current resident of the state of Colorado I have to recommend walking through the hallowed halls of the famed “Casa Bonita”. On more than one occasion when traveling to cities in other states I’ve spoken with “South Park” fans from other parts of the country who often don’t realize or believe that “Casa Bonita” is in fact a very real place! Any fan of the show young, or old owes it to themselves to visit Casa Bonita and experience the magic of this historical, landmark restaurant for themselves. On the other end of that spectrum if you want to actually eat some good tacos minus all the damn fun! Then “Tacos Tequila Whiskey” formerly known as “Pinche Tacos” is the place to be. Now I’m not exactly sure why they changed the name of this business but they will always be know as “Pinche” Tacos to me. At any rate ever since they opened their doors they’ve been serving some of the best gourmet, street style tacos at street style prices in the Downtown Denver area. Last but not least the “The Gypsy House Cafe” on south Broadway in the Englewood area. Less than a block south from the “Ark Thrift store”. Two great places to spend an afternoon or a good chunk of your morning drinking coffee, eating homemade pastries, and browsing through second hand junk.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Anyone who has ever invested their trust in me to collaborate, and assist them in achieving their personal vision of self transformation deserves my deepest, and sincerest gratitude for providing the means with which to live a truly creative life. It is that trust that truly motivates, and inspires me to always strive for perfection in my tradecraft.

Website: www.VotiveTattoo.com

Instagram: @DapperDanTattoo @Votive.Tattoo

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VotiveTattoo/

Other: To schedule an appointment or request a consultation send email to VotiveTattoo@gmail.com or DapperDanTattoo@gmail.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.