Archive for tattoo artists

Chernobyl, Tattoo Apprentice & Metal Ink Maiden

Posted in Maiden of the Month with tags , , , on March 9, 2010 by metalinkshop

This is the last Maiden of the Month Contest. Help bring it back by purchasing tattoo inspired shirts. Support the artists and Maidens and SAVE METAL INK!


Ah geez guys! Well hello, I’m Chernobyl and there are so many hot babies here it is hurting my head!

Chernobyl for Metal Ink

I’m a tattoo apprentice currently going for my BFA at Art Fag University and I’m CANADIAN! I like to have fun, but who doesn’t, and I think I can look pretty darn good in a beard if I do say so myself. I have done the alt porn model thing for ( for a few years and you know friggen what? It’s time for one of my babies momas over there to win this shizzle! So get in the Maiden room and give some good ratings for my fellow GG’s such as Mia, Hezzy and Crash!


P.S. If anyone wants to send cheese cake as a consolation prize, I’ll gladly take 2nd or third ;).

Chernobyl for Metal Ink

Let It Bleed

Posted in Tattoo Artist Interviews, Tattoo shops in San Francisco with tags , on February 2, 2010 by metalinkshop

Announcing our Valentine’s Day Sale! Get 30% off your total order with sales code “milove.” Sale ends 2/15/10, so get your sweetie some new Metal Ink gear today! Go to the Metal Ink website to see all merchandise.


Let It Bleed
1124 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 932-6215

Eric Jones, Tattoo Artist and Owner

MI: When did you open your shop?

Eric: 10 months ago.

MI: Was it your dream to have your own shop?

Eric: Well, I was really sick of the shop that I was working at and I kinda weighed out my options for other shops I could go to and all my friends who worked at other shops had crappy issues with their boss like I did, and I decided I didn’t want to work for anybody else. Not that I wanted to have my own shop, but I didn’t want to work for another crappy boss.

MI: That’s probably the number 1 reason anyone leaves a workplace.

Eric: I thought maybe I could make a cool place for myelf and my friends. My biggest fear is that I become a shitty boss.

MI: So your friends work with you?

Eric: It’s me, Danny Smith, Taler Nicols. We were coworkers before.

MI: What’s the best part of owning a shop and what are the major challenges?

Eric: Major challenges? I’m totally not a business-oriented person. I really don’t think I have the appropriate mindset. But it’s your thing to do whatever you want with, turn it into whatever you want it to be. And it’s important to collaborate with friends, especially coming from the last shop I worked at—I think the owners were over it and didn’t care about it. Whatever the workers did to make it better was battled against. It’s kind of disparaging—like, why should I make the effort to make your shop better when you clearly don’t care about it.

MI: Any funny stories you can share with us?

Eric: So one day we were in here, and outside of course it’s crack city with tranny hookers. A crazy lady walks in yapping, out of her mind. I’m in the back working on a drawing. She’s yapping at one of the workers up front about President Kennedy. He tells her, “Oh man, you gotta go.” She takes all of our business cards and she drops them, there’s like 60 cards. She’s going crazy and starts rambling. He puts his hand on her back and asks her to leave. She starts screaming, “Why are you touching me, you assaulted me!” She walks to entrance, stomps her feet down and yells to the sky, “9-1-1!!!!” That was her way of calling the cops. So then she goes out in front, this crazy lady, and she’s out there with a nonworking cell phone. There were no lights and she didn’t dial anything. She says, “Hello dad? It’s me. Call Iraq and get me a bomb. There’s this tattoo shop and I’m going to blow it up, so get me a bomb.”

MI: That’s pretty crazy. Thanks for the laugh, and best of luck with the shop! We didn’t get to talk about your artwork, but you have some great stuff that we’d love to see on the Metal Ink Design Contest!

Danika Massey, Killer Tattoo Artist

Posted in Tattoo Artist Interviews with tags , , on January 18, 2010 by metalinkshop
Danika Massey, tattoo artist

Danika Massey, tattoo artist

Big Daddys Tattoo
1426 Pacific Coast Hwy
Harbor City, CA 90710
(310) 325-2129

MI: What did you go to school for?

Danika: Sequential art, which is a fancy word for comic books. I went to the Savannah College of Arts and Design and I graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of Fine Arts. I was trying to get into the comic book industry, but I’m just not a lucky girl—you need to be in the right place and at the right time. Even when I was dating the comic book stenciller and inker, I couldn’t get a job doing the coloring. They (management) didn’t want to put someone new on the payroll, so someone else less talented got hired.

MI: That’s too bad—their loss completely.

Danika: So I decided to make a web comic series about day-to-day crazy things that happen to me. I recently did a comic about a bum that came into our shop and decided to pee on the floor. I’m still working on a style guide right now, but it’s going to be about tattoos, relationships, working as an artist, all those things.

MI: What was your first tattoo?

Danika: The first tattoo I ever got was a Chanel symbol on my foot. I’m usually kinda broke so I can’t afford expensive things. Now I’m always in style.

MI: Do you have any other tattoos?

Danika: I wasn’t planning on getting more tattoos. But I did, during my apprenticeship. I was living in South Carolina, working 2 nights a week at a club as a shot girl, and on a whim one day, I rolled up to a tattoo shop and asked if they needed apprentices. They told me to bring a portfolio, so I came back with mine, and they were like, wow when can you start? Most people who roll up don’t have a portfolio and can’t draw.

MI: And there you were, prepared with your portfolio and your formal training. What do you like about tattooing?

Danika: I like going to a place to work and talking to people. I get to do different things every single day instead of getting stuck doing the same page of a comic for 10 hours.

MI: What’s it like tattooing in California compared to South Carolina?

Danika: Well, I’m definitely doing a lot less tattoos with the rebel flag! I have a couple of pages in my portfolio dedicated to my redneck tattoos. Overall though, I would say people really aren’t that different. It really hasn’t been that much of a culture shock or anything. There’s definitely different themes: Browning deer heads, rebel flags, anything pro-America in the South. In California, it’s flowers and a lot more beach-y themed stuff.

MI: What are Browning deer heads?

Danika: There’s a company called Browning that makes hunting equipment. If you’re in the South, people have these stickers on their cars. I thought it was a man on fire, but it’s a deer head.

MI: The antlers were like the flames from afar?

Danika: I guess I don’t look at things the way most people do, maybe because I’m creative. I thought, oh that’s a man with his head on fire. The deer’s ear looked like his head, the face looked like his arm.

MI: How would you describe your style?

Danika: I really enjoy color, I enjoy black and gray too…I’m trying to get into portraiture right now. I don’t think I have a style yet, I’m still too new to it.

MI: How has your background in art prepared you for tattooing?

Danika: For me, it’s about learning the medium, not how to draw. A lot of people come into the field just knowing they love tattoos but not knowing how to draw. For me, with the background and formal training, I find it helps to already know about things like art composition, and all the things that can make or break a design.

MI: Looking at your blog, it’s obvious you like to draw and execute your own tattoo designs.

Danika: I’ve always been in love with drawing, ever since I was a little kid. Flash is kinda fun in that you get to do someone else’s art and put your own spin on it. It’s more fulfilling personally when I get to do something of my own. It’s meaningful when someone wants to put your art on their body for the rest of their lives. I think most people who really draw, like to draw their own stuff.

MI: Tell us about the zombie girl tattoo.

Danika: When I was in Alabama, one of my clients and friends gave me carte blanche to do this tattoo because he really liked my work. He told me he wanted a pinup girl, so a dead girl, zombie pinup girl was my interpretation. I know it’s not necessarily traditional, but I try to do things that are different, try to shake it up a little. The normal pinup girl is in one of 5 positions, whereas I did her skirt and I really liked it and went from there.

MI: Tell us about the goat tattoo.

Danika: It’s actually a sheep. I remember reading this book in high school called Angela’s Ashes. There’s a quote that I really liked, “It’s better to hang for a sheep than a lamb.” It means that if you’re going to do something then you might as well go all the way and get in trouble for something big. I always liked that saying, so I drew a sheep getting hanged. I was thinking of drawing a banner over it, but I decided to be subtle. Multiple meanings instead of being ham-fisted. These days, entertainment, movies, TV and even drawings tend to be so ham-fisted.

MI: Who did you tattoo it on?

Danika: I had a friend who liked it and let me do it on him.

MI: Last tattoo—where does the Chippy guy come from?

Danika: That was based on a television show that helped me get through tough times.

MI: What show is that?

Danika: It’s called Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job.

MI: Adult swim?

Danika: You got it.

MI: Who is this character?

Danika: So they do this thing, they show a scene like a dinner table set with food, and someone says, “Where’s my Chippy? Where’s my Chippy? Come out here!” And then he comes out from behind the turkey leg and they circle him and they say, “There’s my Chippy!” I guess like things from B culture and cult things and making them into tattoos—I took Chippy and combined him with an Asian tattoo theme. That’s more indicative of the kind of work I like to do, stupid humor things, like that Chippy tattoo. I’d love to do some Golden Girls tattoos. I’ve got so many ideas for things like that. Horror movies tattoos too.

MI: We had a horror-themed design contest last year! The winner of the $700 cash/$300 credit prize was David_M for “Undead Moon.” You should enter your work next time. Thanks so much for talking with us, and we hope to see your artwork on soon!

10,000 Tattoos & Counting…

Posted in Designer Interviews, Tattoo Artist Interviews with tags , , , , on January 15, 2010 by metalinkshop

40% Off All Metal Ink Merchandise! Shop our New Year’s Sale and take advantage of this once-a-year discount before it’s too late! Sale ends Saturday, 1/16/10. Use code “shop2010” at checkout to get your 40% discount!

Joe Drache, tattoo artist

Joe Drache, tattoo artist

Accent Tattoo
207 South State Street
Ukiah, CA 95482-4904
(707) 462-6884

MI: How long have you been tattooing?

Joe: I’ve been tattooing for 20 years. I started out as amateur at 17, using homemade equipment and doing it the wrong way. It was a weekend hobby for 8 years before I did an apprenticeship in a tattoo shop and I learned how to do it correctly.

MI: This was in Ukiah?

Joe: This all started in Virginia where I grew up. I was living around the Norfolk area, where at the time it was illegal to have a tattoo shop. But there were shops within 100 yards of where I lived.

MI: Who was the clientele?

Joe: I had some sailors but mostly it was middle class people, people who knew me, or found me through word of mouth. I tattooed police officers. It wasn’t a serious crime. If I had gotten caught, I would have been fined $50 because I didn’t have a shop or a license. Most of these people were coming to me on someone’s recommendation—they had already heard of my practice. Even as an amateur, I was using brand new needles for every client.

MI: Describe your style.

Joe: It originally grew out of my own drawing ability. I was drawing pictures since I was a baby. I always drew monsters, girls, motorcycles, typically boy stuff. I started looking at magazines, and pretty early on, 15 years ago, I started getting influenced by Paul Booth.

MI: His work is so black and gray, very dark images.

Joe: Not only visually dark, but emotionally dark. Usually involving murder and brain matter and what have you.

MI: So how did you develop your own style?

Joe: It wasn’t until I went through my apprenticeship that I learned how to tattoo the right way. The first thing I learned how to do was copy my boss, to do everything the way he does it. Once I had that down pat, I was able to infuse it with my own flavors, so to speak. What I do best is fine line black and gray, which was the style of the guy who taught me. I’m still very much his student, but I try to take it to my own level.

MI: Who are artists you admire?

Joe: Robert Hernandez, a really phenomenal tattoo artist from Madrid. In my honest opinion, he’s the best artist in the whole world. I try to emulate his techniques, texture, light, shadow, surreal subject matter.

MI: How many people have you tattooed?

Joe: The number’s probably close to 10,000. I can do the math…back in the early days when I was an amateur tattooer, I was busier. There were some days I would do 10 tattoos in a row. These days I do about 3 a day.

MI: Incredible! Tell us about one of your favorite tattoos.

Joe: Probably one of my favorite tattoos of recent times is the WWII scene I did on a guy’s leg. But I have a new favorite tattoo every 6 months because I keep outdoing myself. I haven’t quite hit my plateau in terms of my skills.

MI: So was this person a veteran?

Joe: No, his dad was in WWII and he had become a WWII buff. I was happy to take on the subject matter, and from there I ran with it and I started throwing all these ideas at him and he really just went along with it for the most part. I wanted to include the tank and the two men battling hand to hand. I wanted to capture all the archetypical angles. Then on the bottom there’s the paratroopers and the dogfights going on…

MI: It’s definitely a detailed piece, with a lot going on.

Joe: I used a little bit of white to help accentuate the foreground pieces—it’s to separate things and create the illusion of depth.

MI: Never heard of using white ink in that way!

Joe: The white ink is mixed into the foreground elements. You think they’re jumping out at you because they’re slightly different. It’s not like you notice the white since it’s mixed in.

MI: Your work is phenomenal and it’s great to see that you recently submitted a design, “Repent,” to our design contest. Out of curiosity, as a tattoo artist, are you able to tell which designs in our contest were drawn by fellow tattooers vs graphic artists?

Joe: Only to some degree, because more and more graphic artists are coming into the tattoo industry.

MI: Well, if you have an artistic bent, it’s all you need! Good luck with “Repent” and for all our readers, please support Joe by casting your vote for his design on!

*Winning designs are printed on t-shirts, and designers are awarded $700 cash, $300 store credit, plus residuals from t-shirt sales on!

Con Gusto With Julianna Justo

Posted in Designer Interviews, Tattoo Artist Interviews with tags , , , on January 12, 2010 by metalinkshop

Only 4 more days to shop Metal Ink’s New Year’s Sale! Get 40% Off Everything in Stock! Take advantage of this once-a-year sale now by visiting and using code shop2010 at checkout to get your 40% discount.

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!

No Retreat, No Surrender

Posted in Tattoo Artist Interviews with tags , , on January 9, 2010 by metalinkshop

Metal Ink’s New Year’s Sale is on for one more week! Get yourself some t-shirts for only $10-$11 before the sale ends 1/16/10! Visit our Shop section to see all sale items. Use code shop2010 at checkout to get your 40% discount!

Arts Devotion
68 N Venice Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(323) 632-7145

Adam Parrott, tattoo artist

Adam Parrott, tattoo artist

MI: Which do you prefer—graffiti art or street art?

Adam: It’s all the same.

MI: Was it the first art form you practiced, before tattooing?

Adam: Actually the guy who taught me how to do graffiti is the same guy who apprenticed me for tattooing. When I was a kid, I used to always draw skateboard graphics, all the Dogtown, Powell and Peralta stuff. And then in high school I had a friend who moved from California to Tennessee where I grew up, and he was a graffiti artist and he started showing me stuff and I just never stopped.

MI: So California has a monopoly on spray paint?

Adam: Eh, not necessarily.

MI: Okay, go on please.

Adam: After getting out of art school I couldn’t find a job for what I went to school for, graphic art. So I went back to Nashville and my friend who taught me graffiti convinced me to apprentice with him, so I did that for a year. Then I went back to Chicago and I was doing graphic design for a while.

MI: Were you making logos for corporations?

Adam: I was doing ads for liquor companies.

MI: Well that sounds fun!

Adam: It was fun for a little bit but it got old really fast because there’s only so much you can do with a liquor ad, I guess. After that, I was doing ads for the Chicago Sun Times and the Tribune and that was really boring. It was even worse.

MI: You don’t say. So what exactly did you do for them?

Adam: Car ads, you know on the back of the paper, there’s a page that has like 40 or 50 different cars on it. Well, someone has to design the entire page and match up the codes that go with the pictures, and they all have to go with the right price and description.

MI: Glad to hear you got some good use out of your degree. Tell us about how graffiti art influences your tattooing.



Adam: Doing graffiti taught me color theory and how to work with a given space. Sometimes you have a door on a wall you have to work around that. It was good prep for making stuff flow with the shape of the body and whatnot.

No Retreat, No Surrender

No Retreat, No Surrender

MI: Awesome, thanks for the fun interview and we hope to see your designs on the Metal Ink website soon!

Jason Greenfield @ 723 Tattoo

Posted in Tattoo Artist Interviews with tags , , on December 30, 2009 by metalinkshop

Get yourself some new clothes for the new year, courtesy of Metal Ink! For a limited time, t-shirts are only $10-$11.

Visit our Shop section to see all sale items. Use code shop2010 at checkout to get your 40% discount! Sale ends 1/16/2010, so act quickly.

Jason Greenfield
Tattoo Artist & Owner
723 Tattoo
723 S Harbor Blvd
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 447-8270

MI: You’ve been tattooing for 16 years and you’re only in your early 30s?

Jason: It’ll be 17 years come April 9th. I started at age 13, and I was tattooing professionally when I was 15. I was born and raised in Oklahoma on an Indian reservation where tattooing was illegal. I did everything underground for that reason, and also because nobody wanted to each someone that young. I had a full ride scholarship to OSU, and originally, I went to school to be an architect. I was 19, making $60K a year. At that age, you’re like “fuck that,” so I dropped out of college.

MI: So you took the more comfortable lifestyle you were offered and you never looked back?

Jason: That’s right, and I have no regrets. I’ve been featured in High Times magazine, Tattoo magazine, and I have a slew of awards from tattoo conventions: 1st place for Best Oriental in San Francisco in August 2007, 2nd place Full Leg in March 2008 in Reno, Nevada, recently, Best Back in San Francisco in March 2009…

MI: How would you describe your style?

Jason: Being self-taught, no one ever indoctrinated a style in me. Most tattoo artists start by doing an apprenticeship, and they learn the style of whoever they’re apprenticing under.

MI: I can see that from looking through your portfolio that your style is hard to define.

Jason: I like doing Japanese traditional because there are so many different things you can do. Whatever the client wants is my style.

MI: When did you come out to California and where else have you tattooed?

Jason: I’ve tattooed in so many places, from Japan to Key Largo, from Rhode Island to Seattle, and now Los Angeles.

MI: Why did you move around so much?

Jason: Tattooing is the hardest industry to get into. Without an apprenticeship, people don’t take you seriously. I had to travel around and teach myself, but I came up quick. I went from living in my truck to buying a new vehicle and new equipment, it was that sudden.

MI: Tell us the back stories of your most interesting tattoos.

Jason: I did a tattoo of Satan’s face on a woman’s crotch, and her pussy was his mouth. The back story is that there was a picture in the shop of a pussy with the tongue of Satan drawn on it, and as a joke, I put it up with “free tattoo of the day.” One day this woman came in and she totally called me on it! It was a joke, and she took it! And oh my god it was so gross.

MI: You mean her pussy?

Jason: I’m still in counseling over that tattoo.

MI: What about the gecko?

Jason: A guy got paid $10K from Geico to get that tattoo. He basically auctioned off his skin on eBay. He also got paid by Golden Palace casino to get a tattoo.

MI: What’s this crazy abstract one all over someone’s arm?

Jason: The guy who got that builds rock crawlers. It’s like a glorified jeep and it has crazy suspension. They got roll cages they’re really big in California. What you see there is the fuel filter, dry shaft, radiator, spark plug…

MI: I like this skull on the hand with the swirls–what is this, the ribcage?

Jason: See on the underside there’s a girl all tangled up? That represents his internal battle with women. I want to mention one last one: the microphone stand that was designed by the Swiss artist H. R. Giger for Jonathan Davis. If you see Korn live, he uses these microphone stands and they’re like $150K each. The story is that I saw the stand at his house and tattooed it on his cousin.

MI: Love it! Maybe you can do a version for the Design Contest? Whatever you decide to submit, we’ll do a part 2 of the interview so you can explain your designs. Thanks!