We had the good fortune of connecting with Danny Elliott and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danny, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I believe the most important factor actually has nothing to do with my art form. It’s not about designing tattoos or the techniques used to create them. It’s not about marketing and it’s certainly not social media. No, the most important thing for me has been surrounding myself with the right people. That can be said for any endeavor really. People that pick you up when you’re down and keep your ego in check. People that play off each others strengths because you achieve more together than alone. People that won’t settle for “good enough,” and challenge you to be better. In short, you need people that inspire you.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Since I started this journey back in 2011, I’ve always valued progress over perfection. That may sound strange given the permanence of my art form, but I treat every tattoo like it’s a learning experience – no matter the size or subject matter. Whether I’m trying a new technique, working with different design elements, testing color theory, or just finding a better way to tell the full story behind the concept, there is always a way to make your work more unique and to push yourself artistically. As a result of that mindset, the work you see me creating now is vastly different from where I started, and thats primarily due to my relentless pursuit of progress over the past decade. That all being said, The “progress” mentality obviously isn’t without its flaws. It’s means it’s extremely easy to feel “stuck” when things aren’t moving fast enough, and the most important lesson there has simply been learning to recognize where I’m at in the journey. As artists we can’t expect to “level up” everyday, and more often than not growth happens incrementally over time, not overnight. On a less philosophical note, the work I’ve been most proud of in my career has been collaborative. I’ve had the honor of working alongside some of the best artists in the world to create some amazing art together. Each collab session is a fusion of styles, tattooing at the same time as someone else, and overall it makes for a really unique experience. Liz Cook, Steven Compton, Andres Acosta, Jason Call, Gabe Londis, Adrian Novo, Ben Amos – These artists all hold a special place in my mind so I’ll do my best to include some of our works here, and I’m very excited about bringing a few of them to Denver for more projects!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh man, the Denver lifestyle is literally why I wanted to move my business out here. Throughout the week there should definitely be coffee and brekky at The Noshery or Denver Biscuit Co. We’d have beers at Jagged Mountain, Goldspot, Joyride and Lone Tree. Ride scooters up to Red Rocks, check out the murals in RiNo, and catch an Avs or Rockies game in a “post pandemic” world. For dinner I’m thinking Work in Class, Tatsu Izakaya over by DU, or maybe Post Oak BBQ for my Texas friends. You can’t come to Denver and not see the mountains so a trip up to Breckenridge during any season is in order, and after all the shenanigans everyone should stop by my studio, Rebel Muse Tattoo Denver to commemorate the trip.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are too many people to list! I definitely want to shoutout to my Rebel Muse Tattoo family for lifting me up and giving me a home away from home these past 4 years. Liz Cook for being by artistic mentor, Cookie for coaching me on networking and business, and all the owners overall for partnering with me in my Denver studio. I’d like to thank my mom, Debbie Reyes, and my dad, Danny Elliott (Jr.), for making me finish all my homework before I could play outside growing up. Usually it was dark out by the time I finished so I ended up falling in love with drawing and art in my free time, and here I am haha. Lastly I’d like to thank my wife/spouse/life partner Vanessa Taylor for putting up with my long hours all these years and for being the voice of reason when my work/ life balance is off. For picking up the slack when I fall short. For challenging me to reach higher and think differently. For inspiring me daily with her own passion. I wouldn’t be where I am today without any of you, and so many more.
– Little mermaid tattoo – Collaboration with Liz Cook – Spongebob – Collaboration with Steven Compton