Alla Prima Ink, founded and nurtured these past ten years by tattoo artist John Montgomery, declares the following mission statement on their Facebook page: “A bright safe tattoo is our number one concern.” PainfulPleasures was fortunate enough to host John Montgomery as a visiting artist. During John’s time here, we had the opportunity to sit down with him and learn more about his distinctive company’s mission, his dedication to his brand, and his thoughts about the ever-evolving tattoo industry.
When it comes to tattoo pigments, there are several companies and brands an artist can choose from: Eternal Ink, Intenze, Cheyenne, Holdfast — just to name a few of the bigwigs in pigment selection! When asked what distinguishes Alla Prima from other big-name brands on the market, John Montgomery steered from comparisons, humbly expressing his recognition that the industry is always changing, as well as his eagerness and determination to keep up with it:
"We have changed and evolved. We have evolved to work better with new tools and techniques. Inks that have high pigment loads and content that stays thin and consistent and works with cartridges and some of the new tools without gumming them up or drying up. Also, making sure that we’re using the cleanest, safest ingredients and pigments that we can."
Along with offering a vast and varied array of pigments, which John Montgomery assures us will soon be growing, artists have always favored Alla Prima inks for being acrylic, PET plastic, and solvent-free; but it isn’t just dedication to a stellar, vegan-friendly formula that keeps this iconic brand at the forefront of the industry. Dedication to reinventing itself as a brand is also key. Just take a look at our selection of Alla Prima pigments to admire the new bottle and label — a stylish new look reflects John Montgomery’s zeal for constantly evolving to keep things fresh.
“We teamed up with a marketing company, SullenTV, sat down and redid the whole website. We decided that the last thing that needed to be done for our company to really be successful was to clean up our brands and just have one look and have it be new.” This makeover came along with Alla Prima’s consolidation of its two former lines — Alla Prima and Arcane — for something different and eye-catching. “It was just simple, straight forward, clean, and iconic. Looks great on the shelf.” We’d say the new label distinguishes itself as a reflection of Montgomery’s values: evolution, progress, and artistic passion.
“When we started out, it was coming from an artist’s point of view. We started with things like zombie colors, blood colors, realism colors, and artist sets. No one had ever done that before. Now that’s the industry standard.” Setting standards and coming from an artist’s perspective and drive, it’s no wonder Alla Prima has grown and developed as much as it has. But it isn’t just commitment to keeping up with the fast-paced industry that makes John Montgomery’s brand the crème de la crème of pigments on the market. It’s his understanding of what a tattoo artist needs to accomplish a variety of styles and techniques. An accomplished, jack-of-all-trades tattoo artist for over 23 years, John Montgomery asserts that “Ink sets should be versatile and be ready to do anything.” His inks are certainly versatile, with multiple hues of blues, reds, greens, and more available for sale. “I find myself in the studio making things myself […] it’s truly just commitment to the art. That’s where all the ink comes from.”
We at PainfulPleasures not only respect John Montgomery’s commitment to the art, but his sense of integrity as well. His passion as an artist espouses a passion for unity in the tattoo industry. When asked about his company app Alla Prima Original, which has garnered approximately 400 artist followers, Montgomery was sure to explain that the app is about offering discounts and exclusive content to those who are willing to lend his brand a little love and support. He clarified that it’s not about making artists a part of his "team" with a sponsorship, asserting that to do so seems to cause “division in our business.” John Montgomery prefers the camaraderies developed at tattoo conventions, and the unity that comes with sharing his products. Alla Prima Original is an offer to join a growing community.
There are even more exciting developments to come in Alla Prima’s future. Along with the expansion of its already-wide pigment selection, Alla Prima plans to introduce a new black and grey wash set, which is expected to be available this October. The set is being produced in collaboration with legendary lining and black & grey artist Big Sleeps. Check out a sneak peek at these new wash bottles on Big Sleeps’ recent Instagram post, featured in this blog to the right. You can also see a video of Big Sleeps executing a large Alla Prima black and grey tattoo on John Montgomery’s leg below. The tattoo is featured in this blog above. Be sure to check out more of the videos available on Alla Prima’s YouTube channel.
“We’re forward thinking. We’re already looking at what is trending […] and for our future, we’re just acting like we’re brand new and reintroducing ourselves to a lot of people. […] Just trying to educate people and get people to give us another look.”
It’s hard not to look at the newly redesigned bottles, the varied selection of pigments, or even John Montgomery’s tattoo courtesy of Big Sleeps! We’re enthusiastic about carrying Alla Prima’s one-of-a-kind line. Developing forward-thinking products for forward-thinking artists, Alla Prima has earned itself a colorful spot at the height of the industry.