Dan Smith

by Katie Denton

I'm Just Here so I Won't Get Inked
Dan Smith—currently one of the most sought-after tattoo artists in Los Angeles County—was weaned as a babe on the music of his birth country. Acts like The Smiths, Joy Division, and New Order emerged from the bleak post-war Northern England with a vengeance and changed the face of rock and roll forever. Born in Yorkshire, but raised in New Zealand, by the time Smith arrived in Los Angeles, he was rocking to harder, sunnier fare—The Descendents—and consummating his devotion with some ink.

“I guess my style represents my upbringing in the sense of, you know, being born in England and transported to southern California. If it was up to me, I’d like to dress super-well everyday but with the temperature and that kind of thing, obviously and the laid back southern California style, it’s just a mixture—a mixture of both.”

In keeping with the sentiment, Smith has a relationship to fashion that speaks strongly of his heritage and his leanings. Growing up with the musical influences of his youth and his father being a mod, Smith’s sense of style was bound to be specific. When asked what he chooses to wear on a typical day, Smith leans towards his British roots; “I’ve been a fan of Fred Perry since I was a young boy. You know? I was born in England so I was a grown up when my dad had an old picture of him wearing Fred Perry and it was just kind of a staple if you’re from England..”

The Perry culture—now a worldwide phenomenon—lends an English edge to the suburban punk climes of Southern California, as does Smith himself, who found his niche in the SoCal tattoo scene. His appointment-only shop, Captured Tattoo in Orange County, opened in 2013, attracts those who want their vision interpreted specifically via this particular union of cultures.

“You know, growing up sucks.” Smith continues our conversation on the origins of his tattoo interest, “We were all about celebrating everything that made us feel really good about life at a time when there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t make you feel good.”

Photographer: Mitchell Nguyen McCormack for Art Mixcreative.com.

Stylist: Alexa R. Green at alexarangroummithgreen.com.

Groomer: Elie Maalouf for jedroot.com.