Self taught tattoo artist ranks third in the world
HE'S an entirely self-taught artist who'd do mock Nikko pen creations on his mates but his needlework is now ranked number three in the world.
Bokarina's Damien Wickham of Ink Attack has finished third in the internationally acclaimed www.tattooawards.com awards.
Initially, the humble artist tried to put the award out of his mind but a sudden shot up the rankings made him take notice.
"I got a message from someone saying I'd jumped into the top 200," Mr Wickham said.
"I thought 'holy s--- I'd better keep an eye on it'.
"I would have taken 200."
Mr Wickham also sits in fifth for the judge's choice and seventh for the people's choice.
"I've been partying all weekend, it is pretty overwhelming," he said.
While Mr Wickham's status as one of the world's best might come as a surprise to some... it shouldn't.
His eye for detail and radar-like focus came to him naturally.
"Even as a kid, I'd go into this trance and draw for eight hours straight," he said.
"When I'm in competition I only stop for a bite to eat. I have a piece of paper as a guide and block everything else out.
"Sometimes I listen to music but I like to talk to people too."
To get his start in the industry he had to go to Brisbane, having been turned away from every Coast tattoo parlour.
"Our clientele base now comes from all over the world, this guy from California specifically comes here."
The creative genius believes his rankings rise stemmed from a third placed finish at the Milan Tattoo Convention last month.
"That is for the top 300 in the world and to do so well is amazing," he said.
"I did this full arm sleeve of a 16th century renaissance piece. It took 23 hours over three days.
"It was for this French actor, he is a B-Grade action movie star."
Mr Wickham is also the mastermind behind Eumundi's The Black List Company parlour - which is thriving in the artsy hinterland town.