Monday, September 6, 2010

James Francis, Elite Tradition

James Francis was the first member to sign on the all-star winning team of Rockstar Tattoo & Co
in West Aliss WI, a serious force to be reckoned with in their freshman year in business.  Upon meeting him, I thought immediately he was the "quiet-type" live alone keep to himself kind (if you know what I mean.)  I have almost never been MORE wrong, this guy is awesome.  He is an avid family man with a lil' baby and a beautiful wife, he is well-traveled and gifted beyond comprehension.   His portfolio is detailed, textured and demonstrates his super-flexibility. I am amazed by the care and patience with every single thing he does. 
The real jaw-dropper (for me and my friends) is this simple looking traditional bird with lettering, until you see that it is a re-work of a faded and solid dark tattoo from the 70's.  It doesn't even look possible. And who cant appreciate  rework of an old favorite from times as a youngster at port in a foreign land? Preservation of history, that's what Mr. Francis did. like a curator.
Oddly enough, I got a chance to see this simple little tattoo on the real-live human being in person at a convention in Milwaukee (um, I kinda still didn't believe it, it's just tooo awesome): the tattoo looks even better fully healed a couple months later.  His client is a dedicated fan, who raves at the awesomeness that is Jim Francis.  The entire portfolio is like that, awesome on top of cool, smothered in epic, wrapped up in wow.  Jim Francis is like a fourth of July fireworks show, you know?
The judges at Milwaukee Beer City 2010 couldn't agree more, he swept the Saturday and Sunday competition leaving with a carload of plaques, saving room for the baby and wife, of course.
And that kind of amazing attention to detail makes Jim Francis one amazing man to watch-- Check him out and see what all the fuss is about.
What's your convention schedule look like?  None right now since I have a newborn at home

 What’s up with your work--where’s your style heading?   No telling where it is going to go from here. I keep changing my direction and refining my art. Its an ever growing experience. 

Your favorite kind of project? Hmmm, I really like working on Black and Gray and Traditional tattoos

Who’s the heaviest influence in your style? Do you have a shrine or anything for the person yet?    There are too may people that influence my tattooing. Being from the West Coast I got to work with and admire allot of great artists. No shrines as of yet.

What do you love about tattooing? I love the challenge of it. I'm always looking to improve my work.

What do you think sucks about it? Cheap customers! I am really fair with my prices. But when a customer comes in with a Coach purse and complains about a price of $60, it fires me up.

What else do you do creatively?  Water colors

What’s on your bookshelf –tattoo related?  Any reference book I can afford.

Do tattoo’s hurt? Hell yea!!!

I want a tattoo, how much for something "this" big? ha-ha another question that gets to me. Ok what is it that you want, where is it going, color or black and gray???

Do you love “ho’s”? I love me some HO's!!! Every one should have a couple on the track!!! Pimpin aint easy!

What excites you--How do you get your kicks (not tattooing)?  My wife and daughter, rollercoasters, things that scare me. I love to conquer my fears.

What’s a girl gotta do to get a tshirt around here (merch links etc)?? Gotta come in and get one.

Check Out Mr.Francis at
Rockstar Tattoo & Co.
2707 S. 108th St.
West Allis, WI 53227
HOURS: Monday through Saturday 12pm - 9pm.
or visit their myspace 
And definitely get you some Facebook


  1. I love James (aka Jimbo) when he was on the West Coast, my brother intorduced me to Jimbo for my first tattoo, lets make it clear non of my tattoos hurt when I got them,(lower back, neck and two toes)(my brother John John and Jimbo have been friends for 20+ years, RIP John John 7-13-10) Jimbo did 3 hibiscus flowers on my lower back (yes tramp stamp) after my 2 kids passed away, Jimbo added 2 plumeria flowers, color, and my 3 kids names as they wrote them on their school papers in 2007. He is an amazing artist, person, husband and father. I just wish he lived back here on the West Coast. Way to go Jimbo!!

  2. Jim Francis is a phenomenal tattooer!