Realism At It's Finest With Tattoo Artist Sage Raul
From colorful pop culture icons to black and gray portraits, Sage is setting the bar high and making it look damn good.
You'd be hard pressed to find a tattoo artist in Denver that executes realism better than Sage Raul. Drawing inspiration from everything he can; dynamic lighting in movies, interesting composition in paintings and photography, local and international artists - he brings all these elements together to create tattoos that are incredibly realistic. Whether it’s characters from tv shows, movies, video games or music legends; Looking at Sage Raul’s tattoo portfolio feels like you’re flipping through a photo album of pop culture.
Shop: Old Larimer Street Tattoo
Years Tattooing: 6
Style/Specialty: Black & Gray and Color Realism
Drink of choice: Favorite beer is probably 90 Shilling, favorite cocktail is either an Old Fashioned or a Gin and Tonic.
What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t a tattooer? Shit… good question. I became a tattooer after a slew of short lived jobs, none of which I was well suited to. I honestly have no idea what I'd be doing without tattooing.
Do you have any hidden talent(s)? I can make a playing card disappear; I also make a pretty mean cocktail.
What’s in rotation on your playlist right now? Lots of doom metal, Bongripper, Monolord, Yob, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard. But I also love Hip Hop, Kendrick Lamar, Cordae, Mac Miller, JID, and Isiah Rashad are always on rotation.
What made you want to get into tattooing? I always wanted to make art, but I didn't really know that tattooing was what I wanted to pursue until I was a teenager. All the outcasts had tattoos, I drew some designs for friends that they ended up getting tattooed and that kind of sealed the deal for me.
How would you describe your style? Most of what I do is pretty straightforward realism/portraiture, but I lean heavily into pop culture stuff: Movies, TV and video game stuff are my favorite things to do.
First tattoo you ever got? The Thrasher skategoat on my thigh, done in a friend's kitchen when I was 15.
Do you have any tattoos you regret? (Getting or giving) Quite a few I regret getting, turns out your parents are right sometimes. I wish I would've waited until I knew what really good tattooing was. Oh well, you live and you learn right?
What’s the strangest / most unique tattoo request you’ve gotten? The most unique is probably this really cool gnome sleeve I'm working on for my friend Maggie.
What is your favorite part about being a tattoo artist, and what is the most challenging? My favorite thing about this job is that I don't hate going into work, I get to curse and make foul jokes all day, my colleagues are wonderful and my clients are all amazing. The most challenging thing is that I have to make tattoos that look good.
What kind of changes have you seen with tattoo trends over the years and what’s been the worst one(s), in your opinion? Lots of mandalas, micro tattoos, geometric stuff, and tourists really like mountains. I have my own hang-ups about trendy stuff, but if your tattoo makes you happy my opinion doesn't really matter.
Where do you get inspiration from? I pull inspiration from everything I can, dynamic lighting in movies, interesting composition in paintings and photography, I pull from tons of local and international artists both tattoos and more traditional media. Whatever catches my eye I try to mentally catalog for later.