Friday, October 15, 2010

Interview – Dan Henk, Tattoo Artist and Writer


Up next in Wayne Simmons's series of interviews with people that he particularly respects within the sci-fi and horror genre is tattoo artist and writer Dan Henk. Dan is respected worldwide as one of the finest horror and realist tattoo artists around, and Wayne is honoured that he has taken time out of a hectic schedule to answer these questions.    

WS: So, who are you and how do you contribute towards the horror and sci-fi genre?

DH: I’m Dan Henk. I do everything from paintings, storyboards, writing, tattooing and secret assassinations for the CIA – but don’t tell anyone!

My paintings and writing almost always involve horror and I’ve been in quite a few galleries, 6 books and a slew of magazines. Tattoo-wise I do a slightly broader range of material, almost anything realistic (except religious stuff). however, I’m fairly well know in the tattoo community as a horror artist. I’ve been a featured tattoo artist in over 30 magazines and 5 books.


WS: What attracts you to the horror/ sci-fi genre?

DH: It’s the best genre going! Fuck that run of the mill “daily drama” shit!

Seriously, I think any good story and/or artwork needs a good sense of drama, suspense and other foundation elements but any story is better when you add an element of sci-fi or horror!

WS: You specialise in horror realism. Why do you think people like to get archetypal horror images tattooed on their bodies?

DH: They identify with the movies. The outcast, “anti-square-conformist world” implications of it. To them, and to me, the monsters are the heroes, they’re the stars that make the story worth telling.


WS: How much of your tattoo work is custom? How different is the process to creating a custom horror tattoo to reproducing an image from a film/ comic etc.?

DH: Well, everything I do, I draw up with my take on it. So it might be Travis Bickle or Jason Vorhees but it isn’t a dead ringer from a scene you will see in a movie. I often put my own slant on a customer’s idea to shift even the more serene or everyday material towards horror. After all, that is why they came to me. For example, I’m currently doing a Batman sleeve. I made the Batman more dark and aggressive and the Joker a zombie. I do portraits as well, again with a bit of a reinterpretation because; although there are plenty of straight forward portrait artists, people tend to come to me because they want something a bit darker.

WS: You’ve also written a sci-fi/ horror novel – tell us a little about that.


For more interviews and book reviews by Wayne Simmons, go to

Belfast born, Wayne Simmons, has been loitering with intent around the horror genre for some years. Having scribbled reviews and interviews for various zines, Wayne released his debut horror novel, DROP DEAD GORGEOUS, through PERMUTED PRESS. The book was received well by both fans of the genre and reviewers alike. In April 2010, the rights to DROP DEAD GORGEOUS reverted back to Wayne. An extended version of DDG will be released through SNOWBOOKS in 2011.

Wayne released the zombie apocalyptic horror novel, FLU, through SNOWBOOKS in April 2010.

In what little spare time he has left, Wayne enjoys running, getting tattooed and listening to all manner of unseemly screeches on his BOOM-BOOM Box…

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