Freehand Lettering Behind the Naked Truth
Written by Bobby Boykin

Sam Taylor

When discussing some of the most creative, exquisite, and overall top tattoo lettering artists in the world, Sam Taylor is a name that one cannot ignore. From his amazing use of negative space to his mind-blowing technical designs, Sam Taylor has quickly become one of Melbourne, Australia’s leading lettering tattoo artists. Sam’s evolution as an artist derives from his experience in a numerous amount of different artistic fields. From watching his mother paint, to his sign writing experience, to his love for street art, all of these factors have helped shape him into the stand out artist he is today.


For Sam, his love for art started at a very young age while closely observing his mother paint. Watching her start with a blank canvas and seeing a beautiful masterpiece evolve was highly intriguing to young Sam. His earliest drawings were of people playing sports, but this drastically changed when he found a love for drawing skateboard and band logos on his school desks. This is where his obsession for graffiti truly took flight, along with his infatuation for complex lettering.

Freehand Lettering, Behind the Naked Truth.

After a couple of run in’s with the law due to his love for graffiti and street art, Sam decided to start his own business where he could legally paint large murals. This seemed like the best of both worlds for the budding artist, but for Sam, there was just something different about the seemingly perfect professional transition. “I still didn’t want to give up graff after my last chance, so I started my own business painting large pieces for businesses. It was sweet, I was able to take my time and it was cool to get paid to paint, but it just wasn’t the same.”

Sam’s introduction into the tattoo world came to fruition when he reached out to tattoo artist Diego Mickey in search of an apprenticeship. How this whole situation came about is truly amazing. Sam was involved in a horrific car accident when his car collided head-on with a tree at 68 mph. This unfortunate circumstance, which he takes complete ownership for, landed him in bed for almost one full year. During this year he made a conscious decision to expand his artistic repertoire by learning new styles. “I didn’t want to just lay there getting fucked up on oxy’s and pain killers every day, so I went through packs and packs of cartridge paper trying to teach myself calligraphy and portraits.”

When he finally received some money for his accident, Sam reached out to Diego Mickey to schedule a consultation for a new tattoo. Later that very night he saw that Diego had put up a new post looking for an apprentice. Sam immediately sent him some drawings he was working on and the career of Sam Taylor, the tattoo artist, started to blossom. “I think it’s important to focus on the positive that comes from these kinds of situations,” Sam said, “yeah I fucked my back up, but if I didn’t have that crash, I wouldn’t be where I am today. ‘Take the mud with the gold,’ as my old lady says.”

Fast forward to the present and Sam Taylor has taken the tattoo industry by storm. One of the most amazing components of his work, the naked truth, is that these insanely detailed pieces are produced freehand. Yes, you read that correctly. Freehand. What makes his work so different from that of other tattooers is the fact that he isn’t forming his letters with dark black shading, he is, in fact, doing the complete opposite. By using emboldened negative space, and leaving the letters hollowed out, he brings an entirely new light to the world of typographic tattooing.

Sam Taylor’s lettering has legitimately set a new standard in the tattoo industry. He is not just one of those ‘good’ tattoo artist in which one views their work, thinks it’s a nice piece of art, and moves on. Sam’s lettering will make you stop, shake your head, and contemplate how you can get in touch with him. Taking the art of tattoo lettering to an entirely different level is exactly what this is, so, if you’re ever in Melbourne, Australia, look up Sam for a one of a kind artistic addition to your body.

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