Tattoos have gone mainstream. It has gone from what was once considered a mark of rebellion to more of a rite of passage. Today, more than 20% of American adults have at least one tattoo, and among younger group, between the ages of 18 and 29 the number jumps to almost 40%.
ChicagoHydepark.com recently had the opportunity to sit and talk with Hyde Park residence, and one of Chicago’s renowned tattoo artist Malcolm Brown aka Dr. Solo Raw.
ChicagoHydePark.com: How long have you been a Hyde Park, Chicago residence?
Malcolm Brown: I’ve been living in Hyde Park for about 4 years now. It’s an amazing community and I love it. I don’t think I’m leaving anytime soon.
ChicagoHydePark.com: Why do they call you Dr. Solo Raw?
Malcolm Brown: It’s a funny story. I’ve always, somewhat, wanted to be a doctor. When I was a teen I dropped out of high school and was enrolled into this military program called Lincolns Challenge. It was there I began to develop myself and the question of “what am I going to do in life” was on the forefront. So, I figured when I left the program I would go study medicine and I had a plan. I would go to nursing school and from there enlist into the navy and they would pay for the rest. It was a fool proof plan; right? Well that’s not how things went. Somewhere in between the hustle and bustle of school, I began tattooing, and it was like seeing the love of your life for the first time. This thing had all my attention. I put my school books down and picked up my tattoo machine. It was then I began this somewhat marriage to the game and engulfed myself in it. I learned all that I could and challenged myself to be better. Now, I am a highly trained and skilled professional. So, to go back to your question, it was between letting go of what I had in mind and acknowledging what, I believe, God had in store for me. Today, I’m celebrating what I have achieved and where I am. Through the grace of God and hard work, I have had 8-years to horn my skills. Roughly, that the time it takes to go through medical school anyway. I Look at it as my graduation.
ChicagoHydePark.com: How long have you been a tattoo artist?
Malcolm Brown: I’ve been a tattoo artist for 8-years.
ChicagoHydePark.com: Who or what influences you?
Malcolm Brown: The memories of my past and the vision of my future influence me. I come from some real humble beginnings. I was raised in a household with a single mother of 7 children. I’ve been extremely blessed to meet some amazing and affluent people whose life I been exposed to and it has given me more to reach for; and that is, a brighter future. I want to reach out and touch what I believe is right in front of me; and, that is God’s giving success. It changes the narrative of my family’s history and redefines who I am. I will not stop until I reach it. That’s what influences me.
ChicagoHydePark.com: If you could describe your art in one word, what would it be?
Malcolm Brown: Breathtaking
ChicagoHydePark.com: Who is your favorite tattoo artist of all time?
Malcolm Brown: At this stage of my professional career, I will say that I’m my own favorite tattoo artist. I don’t say that to sound arrogant; but, rather to be more conscience. I’m my biggest competition; therefore, I always challenge myself to be a better person.
ChicagoHydePark.com: What is your favorite part of being a tattoo artist?
Malcolm Brown: Being able to connect with people is the most rewarding part of being a tattoo artist. Also, finding that point of connection between the client, the tattoo, and when they all come together and tell a story. I love that part.
ChicagoHydePark.com: I read that you’re a published author. What is the title of your book, what is the book about and where is it sold?
Malcolm Brown: The title of my book is “Ten Miles To Your Destiny – Pressing Towards The Mark”. It’s a book design to help people get from point A to point B. On this road we call life, things are going to happen, some planned and some not planned. Above all, you must be resilient and tenacious going after what God has promised you – destiny. The main message in my book, is that the readers should go after their intentions no matter what happen. They must press forward. My book will be available on Amazon in September and wherever good books are sold.
ChicagoHydePark.com: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Malcolm Brown: Working, laughing out loud. On a serious note, I see myself married with children, establishing new businesses and growing my tattoo business. Also, I would like to have three more books published and speak all over the world while inspiring and encouraging people to go after their dreams.
ChicagoHydePark.com: Where can we find you on social media?
Malcolm Brown: You can find me on Facebook at @SoloRow and on Instagram at @SoloRaw.