Artist of the Week: Joey Malia


Joey Malia is bringing the word artist from “tattoo artist” to a whole new level.  Joey brings his work to life tattooing out of Darkside Tattoo in Bradley, IL. Focusing on realism and surrealism, he creates complex authentic images using blackwork and subtle color. Whether you’re itching for new ink, or just a tattoo junkie, poke on through this article to find out more about our artist of the week.

CA: When and how did you start your career as a tattoo artist?

JM: “I started at Set Sail Tattoo in Kankakee, Illinois, in 2015. The shop owner, Jason, let me move my stained glass workshop into the storage room of the tattoo shop. In the beginning, I didn’t really have the intention of becoming a tattoo artist, but decided it could be a good creative side gig while I worked on my stained glass projects. Soon, my schedule was full of appointments and I made a smooth transition from working on stained glass to tattooing full time.  I enjoyed having people be able to express themselves through my artwork.”

CA: Who influences you? Who is your favorite artist?

JM: “There’s so many amazing artists, honestly, it changes every day. Although right now, it would be Jason Butcher. He is a realism tattoo artist out of England. There’s also Steve Butcher out of New Zealand. Other than similar tattoo style, they’re not related.”


CA: What has been your favorite moment in your career, so far?

JM: “When I finally got to tattoo my dad, and knowing I had my family’s support. My dad didn’t really approve of tattoos, in general. I had gone to college and majored in marketing, but then did a complete 180 to pursue art. So, it’s cool that I could win him over and that he let me do his first tattoo: an Indy car.”


CA: How many tattoos do you have?

JM: “I only have a few compared to most other tattoo artists, which is sometimes a concern for some clients. I only have one visible large one. The rest are smaller and hidden, but I only have seven total.”


CA: Have you ever done a tattoo on your own body?

JM: “Hell no. Some artists do, but it takes all my focus to work on a tattoo. So, to put in all that effort while also sitting through the tattoo, it just wouldn’t turn out well.”


CA: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not tattooing people?

JM: “I got these two dogs, Bronson and Emma, that pretty much run my life. Kidding, but when I’m not tattooing, I enjoy spending time with my fiancée, Sam, and my family. I also spend my time painting.”

Fun Facts About Joey:


My favorite show is the 1970’s Cosmos

Sometimes I wish I lived in the 1940’s

Someday I will own a sailboat

Most of the time while I’m doing anything, I’m thinking about existential questions

I still play old Nintendo games


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To see more of Joey’s work, check out his:

Instagram and Darkside Tattoo’s Facebook.

Article by Holly Sandberg

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