Trekking down Haight Street…

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Cold Steel
1783 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 933-7233

Rob at Cold Steel

Rob at Cold Steel

Rob Junod
Tattoo artist

MI: How long have you been working here?

Rob: 4 years but I took an 8-month hiatus to travel around.

MI: Where did you go on your hiatus?

Rob: Philadelphia, Georgia, and back over this way.

MI: Why did you do it?

Rob: I had a few reasons. My son was 6 months old…

MI: You mean the toddler who’s playing with my bike outside?

Rob: Yeah, him. *Laughs* I just went insane from having a kid and not having an idea as to what I should be doing. So I took the most expensive vacation of my life. At the end, I thought I should just stay here.

MI: That’s a momentous decision to make. But recharging your personal batteries is necessary.

Rob: Yeah it was definitely necessary for me, and when I came back, everything was better than it was when I left.

MI: Let’s talk about SF. How would you describe the scene here?

Rob: I would say that SF is at the top of the food chain, if you want to think of it that way. In most cities, there’s only a few shops that I’d want to go into to get work done. Here, there’s about 50 tattoo shops and I’d say all save maybe 2 or 3 are really good.

MI: Totally agree, there’s a lot of talent here. How did you start tattooing?

Rob: I tattooed myself when I was 13. It was in middle school. Me and one of my friends took some safety pins and Indian ink from art class. I tattooed an anarchy symbol on my forearm. My brother thought it was cool so he did it too. I probably ended up with 5 or 6 really horrible hand-poked tattoos.
That was the last time I got tattooed for a while. The next time I got a tattoo was when I was 21.

MI: Was that when you started tattooing?

Rob: I was a welder right out of a high school—I worked at nuclear plants and food processing plants.

MI: That’s definitely not the typical route. A lot of tattoo artists start out as graphic designers or illustrators, something related. Why did you go into tattooing?

Rob: I just got sick of working for money as opposed to enjoying life. I was working anywhere from 10 to 14 hour-long shifts. One year, I worked 364 days our out of the year. So I just said screw it and decided to get into tattooing, as I’d been getting tattooed a bunch during that time.

MI: Did you do an apprenticeship somewhere?

Rob: No, not at first. I sat in a shop for 1 month and shadowed because they didn’t want to take on an apprentice. Eventually they finally gave in and let me be an apprentice. The owner was like, “Well fuck it, you’re sitting here all day long anyway.”

MI: You followed your heart. That’s a brave and inspiring way to live your life. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

Rob's robot design

Rob's robot design

One Response to “Trekking down Haight Street…”

  1. […] Metal Ink crew musings Just another weblog « Trekking down Haight Street… […]

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