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 can engage, shock, enamor and stun with their detail and color.
Here, five San Diegans from across the city share their stories, inspirations, favorite artists and their thoughts on - you guessed it - the pain.
SERGIO “SURGE” HERNANDEZ
Tattooist (at Seven Seas), painter, muralist (artwork can be found at SILO in Makers Quarter), trained in jujitsu.
Q: First tattoo?
A: 25, my daughter’s name on my chest, and it hurt like hell. I ended up getting it covered up ‘cause I wanted to get a big chest piece. I ended up getting her name somewhere else but she still holds it against me.
Q: Favorite tattoo artist/influencer?
A: Dan Pryor, Milford Barnes, Caz Williamson and Tyler Densley.
Q: Why do you create tattoos?
A: ‘Cause people want to give me money to do it. I’m constantly trying to be better at my craft, and I try hard to do a good job.
Q: Advice for someone getting their first?
A: Don’t pick it off of Pinterest. Pick a good tattooer and trust his or her judgment, instead of listening to your mom, best friend with no tattoos, or your girlfriend. Don’t be a cheapskate. Good tattoos ain’t cheap; cheap tattoos ain’t good.
Q: Did any of them hurt?
A: None of them hurt. It’s easy.
- San Diegans show off their tattoos: Nick Nappi
- San Diegans show off their tattoos: Bahar Atilgan
- San Diegans show off their tattoos: Daiju Yosino
- San Diegans show off their tattoos: Keith Shaw