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We're thrilled to have artist Wyatt J. Hesemeyer up at Stripe MEN during the month of May. Join us this Friday, May 1st from 5-9m and check out his distinct black and white line work that's influenced by his work as a tattoo artist. This week we asked Wyatt a few questions about his artistic process.

How old were you when you knew what wanted to be an artist? Tell us briefly the path you took to where you are now.
While I have always done art in various capacities, it took me until my mid 20's to take the leap into making my living as a full time artist.  I was working as a veterinary pathology technician, spending my days elbow deep in the carcasses of adorable little animals, and that was crushing my will to live.  By complete coincidence I met Kai Smart who was a local tattooer, and she showed me a path that would allow me to leave my current trajectory and start doing art.  While I am so happy to never have to dissect an animal again, it is surprising to me to see how much that experience influences the subject matter I generally choose for my pieces.

How does tattooing influence your other artistic ventures and vice versa?
Tattooing has forever altered the way that I compose my artwork.  After working so hard to create pieces that are intended to conform to the contours of a body, the freedom of a flat surface can be a little daunting and I often find myself resorting to layouts that would be intended for a leg or a back.  But I really do try to keep myself in check with my visual artwork.  There are so many people doing amazing tattoos and artwork that it makes it easy and safe to try and just emulate someone else's ideas.  I really try and try to push the envelope and create work that is somewhat unique and individual and that may make people a little uncomfortable.

What's your favorite song to listen to while creating? Or do you prefer silence?
Silence is the enemy.  If I don't have music or the news or standup comedy, the monologue that is constantly ongoing in my head gets too loud, and I get unproductive. My favorite music is older stuff, Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams Sr, Lefty Frizzell.  There is a timelessness to their songs that would be excellent to be able to incorporate into a visual form.

Who's art do you admire?
The artists whose work has most inspired me are; Robert Crumb, Harry Clarke, Albrecht Durer, Jon Langford, Liam Sparkes, Aubrey Beardsley, and Egon Schiele.  However, the most inspirational visual artist I have ever known and the one who introduced me to just about every artist on the previous list is my mentor, Kai Smart.

If you had to choose one food to eat forever, what would you choose?
Pigs, the source of most diverse deliciousness ever.

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