“Chino” Tattoos Big Tex in Cali

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

Rian & peacock eyes

Rian & peacock eyes

Rian Renteria
Tattoo Artist

MI: Where did you get your name?

Rian: I dunno, my parents. That’s just the way they did it.

MI: It smells really good out here on your back patio.

Rian: Yeah, it’s coming from Escape from New York.

MI: Oh right, ‘cause it’s basically next door. Their pesto potato pizza is so good! Making me hungry. Anyway, how long have you been working here and how long have you been tattooing?

Rian: 4 years and 7 years.

MI: I asked Rob this question, want to know your opinion too. What do you think of tattooing in SF?

Rian: Bad ass. There’s a lot of really fucking good artists here. It’s like a Mecca for artists. Lots of inspiration. But I won’t call it competition actually, just a lot of good influences. And it’s not just tattoo artists. Graffiti artists too. Like Grime—his tattoos are cool, and he’s part of this graffiti crew, AWR, that’s pretty sick. He’s an amazing artist.

MI: Agree, the urban or street art here is great.

Rian: San Francisco is a great place. I didn’t intend to stay here for this long, but I like it. It’s nice and compact.

MI: Where did you come from?

Rian: Dallas.

MI: Did you work there and does everyone ask for a tattoo in the shape of the state of Texas down there?

Rian: *Laughs.* Yeah I’ve done that probably more times than I should have. That and the Dallas Cowboys star. Coincidentally, I happened to tattoo someone from Dallas yesterday. I tattooed Big Tex!

MI: Who’s that?

Rian: You know, he’s got a cowboy hat and a western shirt on and he’s wearing red, white and blue.

MI: Did it bring back memories?

Rian: Yeah it was bizarre doing it here, but it’s cool. Everyone gets their own shit.

MI: Did you start tattooing in Dallas? You grew up there, right?

Rian: Yeah. I hand-poked a tattoo on myself when I was 15. I got fascinated with it.

MI: What was your first tattoo?

Rian: It was my nickname on my arm which made no sense at all.

MI: What do you mean?

Rian: Well I’m Japanese, and my nickname was “Chino.” But that was my name, hanging out with the homies. I started learning how to tattoo early on, it became a hobby. And I got some tattoo machines not long after. I had a friend who was getting tattooed in a shop in Fort Worth. I went with him and my girlfriend at the time. She had a lot of tattoos done by me. I guess the artist liked them—he asked her who did it, and she pointed at me. He told me he was opening up a shop in a year and asked me to work for him. He stuck to his word. I helped him open up the shop and I started working with him. And working in a shop you learn more than when you’re fucking around with your homies. *Laughs.* So yeah, that’s how I got started. By a fluke.

MI: We’re now in your workspace, and I see you have acupuncture charts on your wall. What’s that for?

Rian's acupuncture charts

Rian's acupuncture charts

Rian: I just thought it was cool. And I like to use it to show clients exactly where work will be done, especially on the back.

MI: How would you describe your style?

Rian: I like to stay versatile. I don’t like saying I have a specific style, but it just tends to gather in your book. It tends to be more Asian theme. I started doing more black and gray. I try to do all of my work equally well and you have to be good at all types.

MI: Who are your influences?

Rian: There’s a lot…for Japanese style, Shige. Hands down he’s the best. He’s in Yokohama, Japan. He’s pretty much blown up by now. Also Paul Booth, he’s a sick ass black and gray artist.

MI: Awesome! We got the green light for an interview with him! We’re talking to Paul Booth the next time we’re in New York, probably in the fall.

Rian: That’s cool, so it’ll be on the Metal Ink blog?

MI: Yup, Metal Ink Crew Musings. Check back in a couple months!

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8

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