Ami James Biography
Ami James is an American tattoo artist, television personality and entrepreneur born in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. He is the co-owner of the Miami Beach, Florida tattoo parlor Love Hate Tattoos, together with Chris Núñez, the subject of the TLC reality television program, Miami Ink.
James suffered from severe ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) leading him to art and tattooing from a young age. His father had tattoos and was also a painter. He got his first tattoo at the age of 15. To him, it was an experience that led to his determination to become a tattoo artist.
Ami James Age
Ami was born on April 6, 1972 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. He is 46 years old as of 2018.
Ami James Family
His father was an American who worked with the Israeli army and converted to Judaism three years prior to moving to Israel. In Israel, he met James’ mother who had emigrated from Bucharest. He spent his childhood days in both Israel and Egypt. His father left the family when James was four and hence he grew up without his father.
At the age of 11 or 12, James moved to the United States and lived with his grandparents (his father’s parents) before moving to Miami at the age of 12. He went back to Israel in his teen years to complete his military service in the Israel Defense Forces as a sniper which he did complete.
Ami James Wife
Ami is married to Jordan Kidd, an American football player. They got married on 11th October, 2016 and have two children namely Shayli Haylen and Nalia James. James was previously married to Andrea O’Brian from September 2005 till they had their divorce the following year (2006).
Ami James Children
The tattoo artist is a father of two girls: Shayli Haylen James born on August 3, 2008 and Nalia James who was born on May 8, 2012.
Ami James Career
James began his apprenticeship with Lou, a fellow tattoo artist, at Tattoos By Lou in 1992. Currently, he co-owns (with Chris Núñez) the Miami Beach, Florida tattoo parlor Love Hate Tattoos, the subject of the TLC reality television program, Miami Ink. He also co-owns other businesses like the DeVille clothing company with Núñez and Jesse Fleet and the Miami nightclub Love Hate Lounge, with Núñez and two other close friends.
Apart from his tattoo business, James has created designs for Motorola’s RAZR V3 mobile phones as well as invest in a jewelry line, Love Hate Choppers Jewelry, with Boston jeweler Larry Weymouth.
He had a show, NY Ink in New York whose plans to film he announced on his blog. He had announced that the filming would start in March 2011 and the show premiered on June 2, 2011. It has three seasons with season 2 premiering in December, 2011 and ran through March 1, 2012 and the third premiered on April 4, 2013.
In November 2012, it was announced that James was opening a tattoo studio called ‘Love Hate Social Club’ in London, UK. This attracted a number of guest tattoo artists that included Darren Brass, Megan Massacre and Chris Núñez.
He teamed up with PETA in 2013 in an ad for their “Ink Not Mink” campaign. In May the same year, he co-founded Tattoodo, an online platform for getting a custom tattoo designs.
Ami James Net Worth
He has an estimated net worth of $5.1 million.
Ami James Tattoo Shop
The Tattoo Shop is an eight-episodes documentary for Facebook Watch that follows James and his former Miami Ink costar Chris Nuñez, more recently known as a judge on Paramount Network’s Ink Master, as they attempt to strike gold once again with the newly opened Liberty City Tattoo in Wynwood.
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Ami James Interview
Adopted from: www.tattoolife.com
Ami, thanks for being here with us! If you don’t mind, we’d like to start by talking about your background, because your story is very interesting: you were born in Israel and then lived in Egypt, before going to the United States, to Miami. Two strong cultures, which might have also influenced your personality and creativity.
Yes, I would definitely say that my journey has made me who I am today – even through the hard times, like moving from my homeland and then travelling. All these experiences have definitely influenced my personality.
You went to Miami when you were eleven years old, and six years after that you got started in the tattoo sector. How did that happen and why did you choose tattooing?
I came to Miami in 1984, and at that time there was a huge punk rock scene that I seemed to get dragged into because, in a way, I felt like I was an outsider here: I came from Israel and didn’t speak English so well. I got embraced by this punk culture which didn’t really look at me as an outsider. And so that’s how I got into drawing things for punk bands – flyers, album covers, things like that. Back in the day there was a lot of tattoo imagery in punk rock: skulls, skeletons, stuff like that… So that was my first glimpse into tattooing.
In 1992, when I’d just gotten out of the army, I came back to the States and for my twenty-first birthday somebody bought me my first tattoo equipment. That person was my brother’s best friend; he knew that I wanted to start tattooing so much that he had gone and spent his paycheck to buy me a machine and some needles to help me. At that time I was getting into a lot of trouble, so it ended up being perfect because it allowed me to get a glimpse into my future. At breakfast on my 21st birthday I opened up a box that changed my life forever. Unfortunately, six months later my friend hung himself in the living room. So it was a pretty rough start to tattooing, and I knew I couldn’t change any of it. But I wanted to make the best of that sad situation, and prove that I could do something with that gift. I knew that I had to get an apprenticeship.
And that’s what you did: at Tattoos by Lou, a very old-school apprenticeship… and thanks to him you learned those values which don’t exist anymore in the tattoo world. What were the most important things you learned from Lou?
At the time there was only one reputable tattoo shop in Miami, which was Tattoos by Lou. I started to hang out there a lot, trying to get a tattoo, looking into the window. At the time Luis Segato and Troy Lane were working in the shop with other big names, and Lou was really an old-school guy. He’d worked with Paul Rogers for a long time, and it wasn’t easy to get into their tattoo shop! But eventually I think I broke Lou, and he agreed to let me in. I would mop the floors, wash his cars, stuff like that.
What was he like?
He was a very funny man, full of life, a really good business man! He’d been a junkie for many years and had managed to clean up his life. And he wanted to take people like me, who were going through a rough period in their lives, and help them change. I don’t think Lou had any other apprentices, except for me. I don’t know if that’s absolutely true, but I never met another apprentice of Lou’s.
What was a typical day like, in the shop?
I started out doing everything! Everything that had nothing to do with tattoos, that is: I cleaned, went to get things at the supermarket… I was like his shop boy, but that was the only way to get into tattooing. As much as I was not that type of person, I had to do it. Some days I hated him and we would get into fights. But actually I loved the guy like my father! Slowly but surely, two years later I was tattooing and Lou was allowing me to have my own clients. Sometimes he’d put down my tattoos, but it was his way of pushing me forward. You see, back then it wasn’t easy.
It’s so important that you share this experience of yours, especially since the tattoo scene is completely different now; young tattooers start working as if they were already big professionals, with clean and perfect hands. Most of them have no idea what it meant to start tattooing back then.
Absolutely, they learn everything on YouTube, but back then we didn’t even have internet. Miki, you were already part of the tattoo scene back then, so you know what I’m talking about. It was just rough, the people in the industry were really rough people. The people who were coming to get tattooed weren’t the same as today; I mean there was a gun in very drawer of the shop. Once I asked Lou why he had all those guns and he answered: because at 11 o’clock at night you don’t know who’s coming in to the tattoo shop. It was a different world!
Miki: One thing that’s very clear when I look at your work is that you are a tattooer who knows how to make tattoos in every style, and you’re very good. You’ve chosen to focus on the Japanese style, then on lettering, and then Chicano. Maybe you know how to do everything because you learned how to tattoo in a shop where you had to give the very best of yourself for any client’s request. But now you see more and more tattooers who start out thinking they have to specialize in one particular style: only lettering, only Japanese, only traditional, etc… What do you think of this new trend?
You know Miki, it’s funny, because I think only me, you, and maybe a handful of other people notice these things. It’s true, back in the day you had to be able to do everything, because otherwise you would never have gotten hired. So I was trying to find myself as much as anybody who’s trying to grow and I had some amazing people whom I could always look up to, in that sense. After 25 years I’m finally figuring out my comfort zone in the Japanese style. In the past ten years I’ve focused on this style and maybe I’ve finally found what works best for me: how to make a piece last longer, how to make it better. Now maybe I’ll find my black and grey comfort zone as well… I’m still learning day by day.