New Jersey-based artists talks tattooing, music, and being signed by Sully Erna of Godsmack



We caught up with East Coast tattoo artist John Kosco to talk about his foray into the tattoo industry, working with Sully Erna of Godsmack fame, and why there is a symbiotic relationship between tattooing and music.


Here is what the reputable New Jersey native had to say:












SB: Where are you originally from?


JK:  Born and raised in North Jersey. 


When did you first get into tattooing?


Back in 2006.


Why did you get into tattooing?


I had just gotten off of a long tour with my band. An old buddy of mine showed me the ropes and my interests grew from there. I have learned so much from watching other artists over the past few years.


There's so many talented artists here in New Jersey and it's an honor to be amongst the ones who paved the roads for us. 


When did you do your first tattoo? What was it?


I don't recall, actually. 


What was the most memorable tattoo you have ever done and why? 


It was only a few months ago when I did about six members of a family, one whom was being treated for cancer. It was a small, basic design but no matter how many times I do that design from here on out I will always remember that kind and positive woman who passed away only days after getting her tattoo.


Sometimes it's not about how cool a piece is, but the connection you have with the person and how you make them feel that still resonates to me after my modest eight years of tattooing.


Aside from that, over the fall I did my first legit chest piece on a girl that I fancy a lot. 


How many tattoos do you have?

Like 30I think. My next one will be my sons name, Ryder on the side of my neck. Im currently seeing what letterheads are available in the next month or two. 


If you had to pick, what is your favorite? Or any memorable stories or meanings behind any of your tattoos?


I have three tiny dots on my ankle. It's something between my wife and I that I cannot disclosesuper secret. 


How would you describe your tattoo style? What are you known for?


I feel like maybe, possibly only this past year, my customers have been requesting certain things. I don't really know. I suppose I like the Neo Traditional side of things. I thoroughly enjoy doing black and gray rosesI think I always will. 


Is there a style/genre that you prefer?


Neo Traditional I guess would by my comfort zone. Im always looking to pick up something as I move along. 


Anything you wont tattoo?


Anything dealing with racism can kick rocks. 


What other types of art do you do? 

Any medium I have time for, I will try. 


What is the worst tattoo you have ever been asked to cover up?


Nothing crazy, honestly. I did have a girl with her ex-boyfriend's initials on her right ass cheek. I graciously covered that up with a purple revolver. 


Where is your shop currently?


Sacred Souls Ink Tattoo is currently located in Denville, New Jersey.


What is the best and worst part about being a tattoo artist in New Jersey? 


I guess I would combine both answers into one. You  just gotta work hard and stay sharp while staying humble and fairall while drinking coffee. 



How would you describe the tattoo culture in Jersey and the East Coast vs. other parts of the country?


I guess I can speak for the New Jersey side of things. There are a hell of a lot of talented artists around here. I tend to keep to myself though. I am pals with several fine folk North and South Jersey, but I think it's fair to say it's the same everywhere. 







Tell me a little bit about your career as a musician and how it connects to you tattooing.


I've pretty much been in bands since I was 12-years-oldIll try to make a very long story as short as possible.


I was lucky to have gotten a record deal through Universal back in 04. I was signed by my buddy Sully Erna from the band Godsmack. I sang a few songs with him on some records [and] he played drums on my record with the band Dropbox. We toured the country a few times, then I came back and started another band called Saint Caine. We just got done doing several more Godsmack shows last summer and released our CD.


I will always write musicit is absolutely in my blood. And while I tattoo, sometimes I have melodies in my head. I find tattooing extremely relaxing. 


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