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Business and Mindset: Tattooing With Purpose Pts 1 and 2 Patrick Paul ONeil EP 266

Tattooing With Purpose Pts 1 & 2

| Patrick Paul O’Neil | EP 266

Part 1



Part 2



Purposeful, considered, intentional. These seem to be good descriptors for Patrick Paul O'Neil. Patrick is tattooing beautiful, large scale illustrative designs that are carefully thought out and fit the client perfectly. 

In today's episode, Patrick shares his tattoo experiences and how they helped to form his approach to his own work. He talks about the different experiences he’s had as both the tattooer and the client, and even talks about parts of his time as an apprentice. We really hope that you enjoy listening and reading as much as Jake enjoyed the interview.

This episode was made possible thanks to:

Interviews By Jake Meeks —

Writing By Daniel Pushcarich - 

Topics: Tattoos, Apprenticeships, tattoo mentors, tattoo clients, mindset in tattoo shops, tattoo client experiences, providing great client service, humility, Jeff Gogue, Chronic Ink

peacock arm sleeve by patrick paul o'niel

“Not everybody has access to a great apprenticeship or a great mentor. I thankfully did. However, there's always these extra tools that you, kind of, end up relying on throughout your career...”

— Patrick Paul O’Neil

Patrick Paul O'Neil (@the_burning_jewel) has a unique and distinguished approach to tattooing that focuses on Japanese mythology, history, and representations of the natural world. His style is a harmonious blend of illustrative realism and various traditional Japanese painting styles such as Meiji-era, Nihonga, Rinpa, and Japanese Pottery.

Patrick's artistic background includes a painting degree from OCAD University, where he honed his skills in realism. He spent eight years at Chronic Ink Tattoos, with five of those years working under the mentorship of Tony Hu. Under Hu's guidance, Patrick expanded his artistic repertoire and developed a Neo-Traditional Asian style that combines Japanese and Chinese subjects with a modern western realism sensibility.  

Patrick is dedicated to providing his clients with meaningful and enduring tattoos that reflect their unique identity and story, whether it's paying tribute to a loved one, celebrating their heritage, or creating an illustration of their ideal self.

Patrick Paul O’Neil is based in Toronto, ON, Canada and tattoos currently at Seven Eight Tattoo

Please enjoy!

Arm Sleeve Designs, Food Dog, Skeleton, and Dragon by patrick paul o'niel



Tattooing With Purpose Part 1:



Tattooing With Purpose Part 2:




  • Connect with Patrick Paul O’Neil:

Seven Eight Tattoo | IG | Email


eagle hawk arm sleeve tattoo by patrick paul O'niel


Part 1:

  • [00:00] Intro
  • [01:46] Enter Patrick, A Bit Of History
  • [10:53] Shifting Styles From Realism To Illustrative
  • [15:19] Caught By A Mastery Of Abstraction
  • [16:53] The Turning Point of Possibility, A Moment In Tattooing
  • [19:09] Inspiration From Outside Your Style
  • [21:43] A Disclaimer of Sorts, Appreciating Those Who Share
  • [25:53] On Great Mentors, Personal Growth Leads To Professional Growth
  • [29:01] The Magic Of Tony Hu
  • [30:25] Utilize Experience To Inform Your Approach
  • [33:54] Relaxing The Client
  • [36:34] Guest Spots As Learning Opportunities; The Shop Experience
  • [38:43] Guest Spots As Learning Opportunities; The Consultation Experience
  • [41:59] “Surrender” By Jeff Gogue is Required Listening
  • [46:22] Earning The Trust Of The Outside World Through Education
  • [50:15] Don’t Take This Space For Granted, You’re ALWAYS On A Guest Spot
  • [52:32] Meeting People Where they Are; As a Friend Or A Teacher
  • [58:09] Sipping Your Coffee, The Value Of Patience
  • [01:03:43] Outro For Part 1. Check Out Inside Fireside Tattoo Club

Part 2:

  • [00:00] Intro
  • [00:27] Having the Clients Best Intentions
  • [04:35] Jeff Gogue: The Trickster
  • [11:26] On Finding Your Style
  • [16:17] Allow the Body To Inform The Creative Process
  • [22:55] Designing A Back Piece From the Calf Up
  • [28:31] Killing The Imposter By Commitment 
  • [39:13] Demystifying The Process
  • [40:11] The Changing Of The Tides In Tattooing
  • [43:23] Power Of Information & Breaking The Old Ways
  • [52:04] Outro Check Out The Inside Fireside Tattoo Club


Nature Is Under No Obligation to Give you Great Shapes


[10:53] “It's not about making some cartoons. You really have to understand the forms, and you have to push those forms past what reality can provide you.”

— Patrick Paul O’Neil

Retaining an image's meaning while pushing its form to the limit is an incredible feat. However, this level of control over the design comes from a true dedication to mastering the fundamentals of art. Continual education is crucial to hone skills and have a firm grasp on the basics. It's only then that one can have complete control over their designs.

Drawing and painting from life, taking classes, and watching design videos are all ways to equip oneself with the tools to manipulate an image. Having a broad skill set will not only enhance an artist or designer's ability to create the best possible design, but also elevate the client experience. Therefore, investing time in education and consistently honing one's craft is paramount to achieving success in the industry.

Caught By A Mastery Of Abstraction


[15:19] “It's not as easy as just having a reference in front of you and like, that's the guide. No, it's like you're working with pure energy at that point.”

— Patrick Paul O’Neil

It's not just about learning technical skills. Finding your own mark making language, developing a unique style, and being intentional with your practice is equally important. It's what sets you apart from other tattoo artists and gives your work its distinct flavor. 

Taking the time to experiment with different techniques, mediums, and styles can be a great way to find your voice as an artist. This process of exploration and discovery is ongoing, but it's ultimately what allows you to create designs that not only look beautiful but also carry a sense of authenticity and meaning.

The Long Path Is the Short Path


[10:53] “Before you know it, you spend like, Two hours just accumulating references, which none of them match specifically what you're going for. And you would've just saved yourself some time from watching like a half hour video on Rabbit Anatomy and construct it yourself.”

— Patrick Paul O’Neil

Achieving the right balance between research and execution is crucial when it comes to design. It's easy to fall into the trap of endlessly gathering references in search of the perfect solution to a design challenge. However, it's essential to keep in mind that no amount of reference material can replace the value of personal experience, experimentation, and conducting more specific research.

hand tattoos 2 foxes, a foo dog, and a cat with scissors by patrick paul o'niel


Taking the time to explore and conduct deeper research on a particular subject or element of the design can provide valuable insights that inform better decision-making. It's essential to approach the creative process with an open mind and an eagerness to learn, as this helps develop a personal connection and understanding of the work. "The long path is the short path," Sometimes, taking the time to do the necessary groundwork can lead to a more efficient and effective design process in the long run.

On Not Being Rude


[30:25] “You shouldn't use your educational training as a crutch to not follow up with good communication.”

— Patrick Paul O’Neil

Providing excellent service is a crucial component of being a successful tattoo artist. While technical skills and artistic abilities are important, they alone do not guarantee a satisfied client. The experience the client has while getting tattooed can greatly impact their overall satisfaction with the final result. 

One way to ensure good customer service is to prioritize communication with the client. From the initial consultation to the aftercare instructions, it's important to keep the client informed and involved in the process. This includes listening carefully to their ideas and concerns, providing honest feedback and recommendations, and being open to adjustments or changes as necessary. 

Additionally, creating a welcoming and comfortable environment can go a long way in ensuring a positive experience for the client. Small gestures such as offering refreshments or providing a relaxing atmosphere with music or lighting. By prioritizing customer service, a tattoo artist can build a loyal client base and establish a positive reputation in the industry.

With Personal Growth Comes Professional Growth


[25:53] “It’s offered me to look at tattooing as a means to become a more mature, responsible person, a better communicator, and someone who’s less afraid and willing to take on more risks.”

— Patrick Paul O’Neil

When someone commits to personal growth and development, it often carries over into their professional life. By striving to become a more mature, responsible person, one can also become a better tattoo artist. As a tattooer, you are responsible for creating permanent artwork on someone's body, which requires a high level of trust and communication. 

Taking on more risks is another aspect of growth. As a tattoo artist, it can be easy to fall into a comfort zone and stick with what is familiar. However, by challenging oneself and taking on new and more complex designs, an artist can push themselves to become better and more versatile. This willingness to take risks can lead to new opportunities, collaborations, and building stronger connections with your clients.


yellow and green Chrysanthemum painting by patrick paul o'niel




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Transcript for this video can be found (here). All transcripts can be found (Here)

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The Fireside Tattoo Network is home to the Fireside podcast, Fireside Technique video series and our Fireside Weekly blog.

The Fireside Tattoo podcast is hosted by veteran tattooer Jake Meeks, check out our episodes where we discuss, argue and wax philosophical, from tips for all levels of artists to trends in the tattoo world. Many guest artists have sat down for interviews and in-depth conversations and many more are planned…check back often!

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