In San Diego, tattoos are almost as ubiquitous as craft beer. From bartenders to businessmen, you can spot inked bodies and tattoo parlors on nearly every corner.
But as you might have noticed, not all tattoos are created equal. From the cringeworthy to the epically beautiful, tattoos engage, shock, enamor and stun us with detail and color.
We gathered five San Diegans from across the city to find out their stories, inspirations, favorite artists and their thoughts on - you guessed it -the pain.
Bartender at Fluxx Nightclub and Basic. Owner of online boutique Fourgunsdown.
Q: First tattoo?
A: I wasted no time! The day I turned 18. It's a prayer in Arabic in the shape of a star. My nickname growing up was (and still is) Baharstar, so I figured it was perfect. Thank God it wasn't Tweety bird on my ass.
Q: Favorite tattoo artist?
A: Chris VonBong at Chronic Tattoo in PB and Sophia Culpepper over at Diego Tattoo in South Park. That woman is craaaaazy talented.
Q: Most memorable tattoo?
A: For my sister's 37th birthday, we decided to get matching tattoos. When we got to the tattoo shop she couldn't figure out which font she wanted. I told her I wanted her handwriting for mine and it just made it that much more special. It's weird to look at her wrist and literally see my handwriting. Totally cool.
A: It's become a part of me. I'm confident in what I've chosen so I wear my tattoos. I don't let my tattoos wear me.
Q: Advice for someone getting their first?
A: Take your time! There's absolutely no rush, and what's "cool" now, 99.9 percent chance it won't be in the future.
Q: Did any of them hurt?
A: Good lord, all of them did. ... My back was the worst. It felt like someone stuck a knife in my back and just slowly carved away. I'm cringing at the thought of it! But pain is temporary. In the end, they were all worth it.
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