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.
Executive chef at Bar One in Little Italy.
Q: First tattoo?
A: Age 14. I was visiting my uncle in Florida and I asked him to stop into one of the tattoo parlors. The guy working the desk said if I had my parents’ permission I was good to go. So my uncle was my “dad” and I got a panther on my upper arm. Needless to say, my mom and dad weren’t too pleased when I got home.
Q: Favorite tattoo artist?
A: Two: Kevin Marr from Godspeed Tattoo in San Mateo, Calif., and Miguel Ortiz in San Diego.
Q: Most memorable tattoo?
A: My crossing cleavers on my hand. It was the day I dove into my life as a cook. It’s a constant reminder to never let myself be unhappy in my career and always follow my dreams and passion.
Q: Why do you get tattoos?
A: Tattoos are a way for me to express myself with art. I love when people stop me on the street and ask about my tattoos. It’s a window into who I am and what I love and do.
Q: Advice for someone getting their first?
A: Write down the idea. Put it in your pocket and sit on it for a few months. If you have an idea and your tattoo artist tells you it’s a bad idea, it probably is. They’re professionals ... listen to them.
Q: Did any of them hurt?
A: Anyone that tells you their tattoos didn’t hurt is high! It’s needles being dragged on your skin for hours on end over and over. They all hurt. But my ribs hurt the most.
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