What is your name, birthplace, and year of birth? Matt Arriola. I was born in Boise Idaho, 1979. Where did you grow up? Please describe your upbringing and sociocultural background. I grew up in various small towns in Idaho and the Northwest—moved around a bunch when I was young. As a youth, I had very little culture, being raised where I was and my parents being completely clueless past their tiny corner of the world. My ‘cultural enlightenment’ happened in large part through Thrasher Magazine. I got into skateboarding when I was about six years old and that pretty much opened the door for music, and tattooing later on. Where do you currently work? Prior to that, where have you worked? I live and work at Snake River Tattoo in Boise, Idaho. I also spend a good amount of time traveling and working. Prior to that I owned and operated Liberty Tattoo in Seattle, worked at Spotlight Tattoo, and Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn. How long have you been tattooing? I’ve been tattooing for 18 years. What inspired you to learn tattooing, and what did you initially learn how to tattoo? Initially, I was inspired by the bands I liked. They had a lot of tattoos and I thought they looked cool, so I decided to get some at 17—although I already hand a hand-poke that I did on myself when I was 12. Once I started getting them, I was immediately interested in learning how to tattoo. I started out doing the usual stuff—tribal, Celtic, fairies, etc. I learned how to work well under pressure and I learned how to tattoo with a very light or non-existent, half-wiped-off stencil. We used the national transfer pencils, which are extremely easy to wipe off, had no Internet and no Thermo-Fax machine, so if a stencil was going the wrong way you had to flip it and redraw it completely.