A prominent figure on the international tattoo scene, Shane O’Neill, began tattooing by chance, to help his brother out and to help friends who were looking to get free ink. He has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Philadelphia University of the Arts and was an illustrator until the needle and ink came to call. He originally knew nothing about tattooing, didn’t have any interested in it, and was far from ever imagining that it would some day become a successful career. Sometimes you do someone a favor and it ends up leading you up the path you least expected.

In 1997, when Shane was 25, his brother handed him a machine and asked if he could tattoo him. After completing just a few tattoos, Shane realized that he was taking to tattooing like a fish to water. He decided to dedicate himself to skin art and his work got noticed quickly. His life-like portraits and realistic images were the fruit of his artistic education and the result of an uncanny gift for tattooing.

Today, Shane is praised as one of the best realistic artist, both in black and grey and in color. His talent affords him to attend many conventions both in the US and overseas, where he conducts seminars and shares his knowledge with refreshing humility and kindness. To look at Shane at work is to understand how invested and concentrated the artist can be when he’s tattooing.
He owns INFAMOUS TATTOO in Middletown, Delaware and organizes the BEST OF THE MIDWEST convention (February 10-12 2012 in Iowa, where the Chaudesaigues award will be attributed for the first time. Shane chose Iowa because it’s relatively new to tattooing and because he wanted to bring his art to a city that’s still in touch with reality. He’s also planning to open a shop in Michigan in the fall.

When Stéphane Chaudesaigues approached him with his idea for the Heart of Daisies award, they both agreed that the Iowa convention would be the ideal venue for such a momentous event.  “It’s the most prestigious award you can get,” says Shane. More than a trophy won at a convention, it’s an award that honors a tattoo artist for his career and his body of work.
When asked about France, Shane says that both he and his elder daughter, Sage, just love the country. He likes to go there and work as a guest artist, enjoys the French tattoo scene that he finds dynamic and full of promises. He talks fondly of Manu de Chalonand of his friend, Stéphane Chaudesaigues who he considers a living legend in the tattoo world. He points out that Stéphane is among the artists who influenced his work when he started tattooing. A mutual respect between professionals has now bloomed into a personal friendship between the two men.

Now 40 years old, Shane recently appeared in Ink Master, a television program where talented tattoo artists compete for 12 weeks and are judged on their results. This father of three is busy hosting seminars and working as a guest artist at Stéphane’s, and let’s not forget of course his own convention. With the help of his wife, Jen, Shane keeps his foot on the accelerator and never ceases to provide tattooing with beautiful images.

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