Con Gusto With Julianna Justo

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Julianna Justo, tattoo artist

Julianna Justo, tattoo artist

Art Throb
611 E Valley Pkwy
Escondido, CA 92025
(760) 480-8288

MI: You have 2 submissions in our design contest, Machine Cross Bones and Inky Buddha. Both pieces are beautifully drawn. Have you tattooed them on anyone yet?

Machine Cross Bones

Machine Cross Bones

Julianna: No, those are just drawings I did. One thing I like about being a tattoo artist is that at every other job I had, I used to get yelled at for doodling, whereas they actually like you to draw because it helps you to be a better tattooer.

Inky Buddha

Inky Buddha

MI: You’re 24, which makes you the youngest tattooer we’ve interviewed on the blog yet.

Julianna: Yeah, I’m pretty young.

MI: How long have you have been tattooing, and how did you get into it?

Julianna: I’ve been tattooing since 2005-2006. I’ve been into art my whole life. I went to school for graphic design but I just didn’t like it. I liked working with my hands more. I have a friend here in San Diego who taught me everything he knew, gave me some gear. I hung out for 6 months at his shop and did my apprenticeship there. Then I worked at a shop in Arizona for a short time, then came back to California and started working at Art Throb.

MI: Tell us about current trends in tattoo subject matter and placement. What are your thoughts?

Julianna: Well, it used to be all about the tramp stamp, now it’s the ribs—every girl has the rib tattoo.

MI: Is it still flowers and butterflies?

Julianna: And cherries on the hip, that’s very trendy too.

MI: What do you like to tattoo?

Julianna: I like black and white. Actually, I like everything, I like modern, traditional, I like color tattoos, but I prefer black and white. It’s the same with drawings too—pencil would be my favorite medium.

MI: What’s the most interesting, bizarre, unusual tattoo you’ve done so far?

Julianna: There’s stuff that happens every day that’s pretty ridiculous. Last night I did 3 lip tattoos. There were 3 guys, and they each got “M.O.B.” with a dollar sign at the end, you know money over bitches? Not very original. It reminded me of my first tattoo.

MI: Your first tattoo was on the lip? Pretty ballsy.

Julianna: It definitely hurt yeah, and mine says “classy.” My mom was not too stoked on that one. So anyway, they asked if it was okay to drink after getting tattooed, and I was like, no you’re not supposed, because it thins your blood and it’s not going to hold the ink, it’s just going push it out. And they weren’t even 21!

MI: What do you mean by that, push it out?

Julianna: It’s like if you get a cut when you’re drinking, it bleeds so much more. I tell people all the time it’s not guaranteed that it’ll hold, even if they don’t drink. I’ve done maybe 40-50 lip tattoos and maybe 50% have stayed.

MI: That’s so low!

Julianna: On the other hand, it’s the fastest healing place because it’s the inside of your mouth. It heals in like a week. Usually you have to go over a lip two times for it to stick. I tell people I will do one free touch up.

MI: That’s a generous offer. Thanks for your time and best of luck in the Metal Ink design contest!

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