The 10 Coolest Tattoo Artists In L.A.

Los Angeles has no shortage of tattoo artists — especially hard-to-book, high-profile ones. You know who they are: They have TV shows, months-long waiting lists, and instant name recognition. However, they aren't necessarily the industry pros we find the most fascinating. And, they're definitely not the only ones coming up with the most awe-inspiring designs right now.
So, who is? We took to the streets to find the coolest artists that should be on your radar now. The perfect balance between edgy and accessible, these creative geniuses deliver tattoos that look more like actual art than doodles on the skin. Click through to get to know these nine tattooists. You're going to want to book your appointment, stat.
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Photo: Courtesy of East Izhar.
East Izhar

Years In The Biz: 12
Find Him At: Mark Mahoney’s Shamrock Social Club, 9026 West Sunset Boulevard (near Doheny); 310-271-9664.
Instagram: @east_ssc


How did you first get started? What initially sparked your interest?
“I never drew or did any kind of art as a child; I had no idea [I had any kind of artistic talent]. I was in the army in Singapore and out on medical leave when I started hanging out a lot at my friend’s tattoo shop; that’s how I picked it up. At first, I just thought it was a good gig to make some money, but soon I realized that it could go much further than that. I did it for a year [in Singapore], then I moved to L.A. I quickly realized that everyone here was really good, so I had to work very hard to be successful.”

What was the first tattoo you ever gave?
“I got drunk with my friend at his tattoo shop one night, and he said, ‘Tattoo me.’ So I did a smiley face on him, and it turned out pretty good. That’s how it all started 12 years ago [laughs].”

How often do you turn clients down? What's usually the reason for it?
“If I can’t promise them that it’s going to come out the way they expect, I kindly turn them down. A lot of being a good artist is being honest; if [their vision] can’t be done right, I don’t do it.”
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Photo: Courtesy of East Izhar.
Do you have a preferred tattoo style or specialty?
“I am pretty open to everything — whatever the vibe is, I’m there. When I first started, it was '90s tribal. Then photo-real Japanese style became popular, so I learned how to do that. Everything I’ve tried to do, I’ve excelled at. [My philosophy is that] you have to be good at everything, because the trends all recycle. Right now, everyone wants single-needle, which my mentor, Mark Mahoney, has always been doing [for years]. I watched him for eight years before he gave me his blessing to start doing it. It’s not easy; with each trend, it’s like you have to learn how to tattoo all over again.”

What is the most difficult tattoo you've ever done, and what made it so tricky?
“A full sleeve of photo-real tropical animals. It was when photo-real tattoos first came out. I actually won two international tattoo awards for them. It took me over a year and a half and hours of work; it was the most difficult thing that I’ve ever done. The style is still popular, but it’s not for everyone. When you see a tattoo on Instagram, you see it when it’s brand-new, but if you don’t have the right skin texture, this style won’t wear well.”

What is the most challenging thing about being a tattoo artist in Los Angeles, where shops and artists are a dime a dozen?
“You have to stay on the top of your game all the time, especially if you’re at a really well-established shop. It’s easy to get caught up and think you’re a celebrity, but there could always be some kid that tattoos for a month and turns out to be just as good as you are.”

What is the most popular request you get from L.A. clients?
“Right now, everyone loves single-needle script-writing, which I think is really cool. Some people think that they can’t have a tattoo because they don’t want something big and crazy, but that’s not for everyone. The smaller ones are a lot more difficult to do; it's a good challenge.”
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Photo: Courtesy of William Doolittle.
William Doolittle

Years In The Biz: 6
Find Him At: Studio City Tattoo, 11032 Ventura Boulevard (near Vineland Avenue); 818-769-4045.
Instagram: @williamdoolittle

How did you first get started? What initially sparked your interest?
“My path to tattooing wasn’t extremely direct, but I can’t imagine what I would be doing instead. I grew up in a very art-oriented household with most of my family working for Disney and other mainstream, art-related careers. I knew at a very early age that I would somehow make a living through artwork, but I just wasn’t quite sure what specific avenue. My father took me to my first tattoo convention around the age of 10, which was probably the spark to the fire. It wasn’t until around high school that tattooing was a thought as a career path. I ended up landing a job in a shop almost immediately after high school and have kept at it ever since.”

What was the first tattoo you ever gave?
“The first tattoo I gave was a very simple outline of a cartoon bomb on a longtime friend’s thigh. It wasn’t a total disaster, but the tattoo definitely took much longer than it should have. Luckily, the mediocre tattoo did not affect our friendship, and I still tattoo that person to this day.”

How often do you turn clients down? What's usually the reason for this?
“I try to turn down clients as little as possible. The main reason for the seldom turn-down is usually either their desired style being far outside of my realm of usual work, or the client wanting me to continue on someone else’s work whom I know or highly respect. I am very hesitant to work on another artist's piece and will only do so on very rare occasions.”
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Photo: Courtesy of William Doolittle.
Do you have a preferred tattoo style or specialty?

“My current preferred style of tattooing has been geometric dotwork. Other than that, I generally prefer any project where the client presents a very loose idea with little to no reference. Having complete free reign over the design is my ideal method of working.”

What is the most difficult tattoo you've ever done, and what made it so tricky?

“The most difficult would be any time I tattoo my beautiful girlfriend. Tattooing your significant other is one of the most stressful things known to man. Not only do you want to give them the absolute best tattoo possible, but you know that you will be seeing it nearly every day and constantly overanalyzing it.”

What is the most challenging thing about being a tattoo artist in Los Angeles, where shops and artists are literally a dime a dozen?

“I feel very fortunate working for Studio City Tattoo, which has been in business within Los Angeles for 23 years and counting. The solid reputation of the shop, coupled with a great crew of guys, creates a very busy shop with no shortage of work to go around. Over the four years that I have been with Studio City, I have built up a small waiting list and am very thankful for the constant business of my loyal clientele.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Julie Bolene.
Julie Bolene

Years In The Biz: 4

Find Her At: American Electric Tattoo, 2518 Sunset Boulevard (at North Rampart Boulevard); 213-413-6530.
Instagram: @juliebolene



How did you first get started? What initially sparked your interest?

“I went to art school, and when I decided to do this, I’d already been getting tattooed for years. I basically stalked a fantastic tattoo artist named Kevin Quinn until he gave me an apprenticeship. I was really, really lucky to get my start — the last thing most tattooists want is more tattooists. I have had wonderful leaders every step of the way.”

What was the first tattoo you ever gave?

“It was an eagle on my boyfriend, who happens to still be my boyfriend! He really wanted an eagle, so when I still was an apprentice, I drew one up with Kevin, and we both tattooed it on him. I was nervous, but I had been practicing tattoos on fruit for months. It turns out people are easier to tattoo than fruit, so it came out pretty good!”

How often do you turn clients down? What's usually the reason for this?

“I won't do hand, neck, or face tattoos on people who are not already heavily tattooed. I do this because it seems ethical and because I feel those are spots you shouldn't get tattooed until you have all the other spots done.“
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Photo: Courtesy of Julie Bolene.
Do you have a preferred tattoo style or specialty?

“I love traditional-style tattoos — it’s what I get the most excited about tattooing. Subject-wise, if I could do chicks, dogs, and Indian tattoos all day, I would be in heaven.“

What is the most difficult tattoo you've ever done, and what made it so tricky?

“I recently tattooed one of my tattoo heroes, Jen Davis, and I was really, really nervous! She's been tattooing me for 10 years, so I really wanted hers to be perfect. I don't think it is, but I never do because I'm really hard on myself. I was honored to have tattooed her, and she loves the piece!”

What is the most challenging thing about being a tattoo artist in Los Angeles, where shops and artists are literally a dime a dozen?

“I stay pretty busy just by being nice to my clients and working hard. I have the drawing done by the time they get there, and I do my best to start their tattoo on time, and I really like to make the experience fun. I personally have great tattoos that were done by bummer dudes, and to be honest, I like the tattoos I have that were done by the nice guys the best.”

What is the most popular request you get from L.A. clients?

“Tiny linework, fonts, shapes, and designs that are often requested to be as thin as possible. I really enjoy that challenge.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Sean Arnold.
Sean Arnold


Years In The Biz: 10
Find Him At: Alchemy Tattoo, 2854 Sunset Boulevard (at Silver Lake Boulevard); 323-666-1313.
Instagram: @beanieseagull



How did you first get started? What initially sparked your interest?

“In middle school, my best friend's older brother was heavily tattooed, and he always had tattoo magazines lying around. The look definitely made a strong impact that stuck with me. It wasn't long after that I myself was addicted to buying tattoo magazines. This later turned into me pursuing a fine-arts degree. Along that route, I got tattooed by an artist I really respected and ended up bugging the hell out of him until he got me a job as shop help. With hard work and being at the shop 24/7, he saw I was willing to make the sacrifices it took and offered me an apprenticeship.”

What was the first tattoo you ever gave?

“An upside-down whiskey bottle with a skull and three Xs on my thigh. I felt it was necessary to understand the power of what I'd be doing to others by tattooing myself. It's a little rough around the edges, but I can appreciate that. It's a visual reminder of where I started.”

How often do you turn clients down? What's usually the reason for it?

“Not very often, but it happens. I won’t do anything that goes against my own ethical code or a bad tattoo in the making in regards to placement or content. If the vibe of the piece isn't sitting right or something isn't my style, I'm always more than willing to refer them to the best artist for the job.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Sean Arnold.
Do you have a preferred tattoo style or specialty?

“I try not to stick to one style, but if I had to choose, I’d say fine-line black and gray. I prefer black and gray due to the way it ages with the skin and how it shows a raw application of form.”

What is the most difficult tattoo you've ever done, and what made it so tricky?

“Probably one of my first miniature finger tattoos. It was a human skull about the size of a nickel. On top of that, it was a matching tattoo on four girls. With any duplication, there's a certain degree of pressure to make them as alike as possible.”

What is the most challenging thing about being a tattoo artist in Los Angeles, where shops and artists are literally a dime a dozen?

“Most would probably say competition. I personally think getting past that mindset is the most challenging part. Taking responsibility for yourself and focusing hard on your career with heavy discipline is probably the biggest obstacle. It's not hard finding inspiration and fellowship with the great artists and shops in this area. It's just a matter of perspective.”

What is the most popular request you get from L.A. clients?

“Walk-ins usually request geometrical shapes and arrows, while personal appointments would probably be etching or medieval-style tattoos and miniatures.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Dillon Eaves.
Dillon “Sweet Dill” Eaves

Years In The Biz: 4

Find Him At: Broken Art Tattoo, 2400 Hyperion Avenue (near Scotland Street); 323-661-4777.

Instagram: @sweetdill

How did you first get started? What initially sparked your interest?

"I got my start by getting tattooed by my now-boss and mentor, Jeremy Swan, who is the owner of Broken Art Tattoo. I'd come in as often as I could afford to, bringing in as many paintings and drawings as I could for Jeremy to critique. I had to wait quite a while for him to take me on as an apprentice — it was probably a total of four years of just constantly bugging him.”

What was the first tattoo you ever gave?

"Oh, man. The first tattoo I ever gave anyone was a very simple hand holding an envelope (thank you, Sailor Jerry) on one of my best buddies and coworker, fellow tattoo artist Josue Acosta. I'm forever grateful that he gave me some skin to practice on. Luckily for both of us, it was just an outline.”

How often do you turn clients down? What's usually the reason for it?


"I don't really turn clients down unless their idea is ludicrous or unfeasible. Genitals are off-limits, and so are neck and hands if it’s your first tattoo. If something is too small, all the lines and beautiful detail put into the tattoo will blot together as the tattoo ages, so I try to avoid that. If you want a racist or offensive tattoo, then you've come to the wrong place. I really try and work with my clients to make their ideal tattoo possible. Sometimes it's just a matter of informing them of other options."
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Photo: Courtesy of Dillon Eaves.
Do you have a preferred tattoo style or specialty?
"
I don't have a preferred style, as I really try and push myself artistically to cover a variety of styles. However, as an artist, it's important that people recognize that certain technique you bring to the table, so everything I do has my own personal style worked into it. I want people to look at a tattoo and know that I did it. In my work, I always make use of bold outlines and high contrast because I feel tattoos like that age much more beautifully.”

What was the most difficult tattoo you've ever done, and what made it so tricky?

"Every tattoo has a level of difficulty. Nothing in tattooing is easy, and there is always a lesson to learn. If you aren't nervous before each tattoo, then I don't think you are giving it all you've got. And, if you aren't doing that, then you’re doing a disservice to the craft and to your client.”

What is the most challenging thing about being a tattoo artist in Los Angeles, where shops and artists are literally a dime a dozen?

"The hardest part of tattooing, like any creative field, is conception. Coming up with ideas that mimic your client’s vision, as well as your own, can be tricky. Sometimes it's a lot of back-and-forth with the client, while other times they simply trust you (which, to me, makes the process harder). Yes, there are tons of tattoo shops in Los Angeles, but if you have a unique approach and personable attitude, that should be enough to set you apart from the rest.”

What is the most popular request you get from L.A. clients?
"Whatever is popular on Pinterest! All jokes aside, I find that L.A. clientele are usually pretty informed on what a good tattoo is. After all, we are in a pretty trendsetting city. More and more people want something unique and custom-drawn for them, and I'm happy to see that on the rise."
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Photo: Courtesy of Damon Meuli.
D’mon "The Architect" Meuli

Years In The Biz: 17
Find Him At: California Gold Tattoo, 3321 West Sunset Boulevard (near Silver Lake Boulevard); 323-912-9202.
Instagram: @dmontattoo



How did you first get started? What initially sparked your interest?

“When I was 23, I was faced with a question: How can I travel and do art as a living, moving, breathing occupation? Tattooing was the most prevalent answer. So, I strolled into my local studio — which, unbeknownst to me at the time, was the most reputable studio in Auckland, New Zealand — and asked if I could hang out for a day. This may have been a strange request, but the late Phil Mathias embraced my eccentricities. The next day, I returned with my portfolio and was given an apprenticeship on the spot.”

What was the first tattoo you ever gave?

“My first tattoo was done on my mentor Phil, and it was a modern-style abstract art piece of two lovers entwined, inspired by the style I used to paint in back then.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Damon Meuli.
Do you have a preferred tattoo style or specialty?

“I love the art of the tattoo, and I have a good grasp on many styles. Presently, I love the geometric movement. It incorporates so many beautiful inspirations: sacred geometry, spiritualism, linear art, abstracts, mathematics, and ancient tribal rhythms and markings. Plus, they generate a certain kind of energy.”

What is the most difficult tattoo you've ever done, and what made it so tricky?

“It was a design drawn by my client, who happened to be one of my closest friends, making it that much more difficult. It was a series of multiple circles, which then locked into a series of rectangles — there were between 18 and 36 of them. The placement was outside of the arm, and it took about five hours to complete. It was one of those tattoos that I just didn't know what it was going to look like at completion. Luckily, it came out very beautifully, and it’s still a favorite of mine to this day. That was about 14 years ago, but there are always new challenges in tattooing.”

What is the most challenging thing about being a tattoo artist in Los Angeles, where shops and artists are literally a dime a dozen?

“It's a very interesting game in Los Angeles, and always exciting to watch, ponder, celebrate, and be part of. I have lived in and tattooed all around the world, creating great relationships and clientele. However, when I arrived in Los Angeles, I had to generate a new clientele, which meant a whole bunch of new learning curves. The biggest issue for me was the L.A. hustle. The competition out here is tough. It’s not just talent you’re in competition with, but masters of social media.”

What is the most popular request you get from L.A. clients?

“At present, the most popular request is how fine you can get a line. There’s a huge demand on single-needle line work, and only a skilled artist can do this successfully — I am really enjoying it.”

Can you name a few of your celeb clients?

“The last high-profile celeb I tattooed was Lindsey Lohan.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Yanni Vera.
Yanni Vera


Years In The Biz: 11
Find Him At: The Dolorosa Tattoo Company, 11930 Ventura Boulevard (near Laurel Canyon Boulevard); 818-287-8842.
Instagram: @scrawnyyanni

How did you first get started? What initially sparked your interest?

“I've been drawing my whole life, and my interest in tattooing began in high school, when I went to a punk show and saw a lot of people with tattoos. Shortly after, a friend of mine at the time had someone draw a sleeve on them, and I was so intrigued by it. I bought a few tattoo magazines that night and began drawing anything tattoo-related. I'd stop by my local tattoo shop and show them my drawings and have them critique and give advice on how to improve them. That eventually led to a job at Eternal Art Tattoo in Santa Clarita, California, where I apprenticed for five years.”

How often do you turn clients down? What's usually the reason for this?

“I always do what I can to accommodate a client's needs and vision, but occasionally, those ideas won't translate well into a tattoo. In that situation, I try my best to come up with something that will read well over a long period of time and still have elements of what the client wants.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Yanni Vera.
Do you have a preferred tattoo style or specialty?

“Since I learned to tattoo at a street shop, I can do a ton of styles: black and gray, script, Japanese. However, I love tattooing classic, traditional tattoo designs. I've always been intrigued and drawn to that style, but I try not to limit myself so I can meet everyone's needs.”

What is the most difficult tattoo you've ever done, and what made it so tricky?

“I can’t really name a specific one, but generally anything on the sides of the neck. It’s a tricky area to stretch the skin and is always a pain to do.”

What is the most challenging thing about being a tattoo artist in Los Angeles, where shops and artists are literally a dime a dozen?

“Staying busy is pretty tough in L.A., especially because there are so many shops. The problem is that there are a lot of sketchy shops charging cheap prices for bad tattoos, which ruins it for the artists that take this seriously. Being a tattoo artist is a 24/7 job, and it's hard as hell. You work all day in a shop and then go home to draw for the next day's clients. There's no steady paycheck, so when you have a slow day, you feel it for sure. It can be stressful, and sometimes you don’t have a life. But, to me, this is my life, and I love it.”

What is the most popular request you get from L.A. clients?

 “Script tattoos and names, but I love doing those and could do them all day long!”
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Photo: Courtesy of Jeffrey Meyer.
Jeffrey Meyer

Years In The Biz: 6
Find Him At: Unbreakable Tattoo, 11356 Ventura Boulevard (near Tujunga Avenue); 818-763-5910.
Instagram: @unbreakajeff



How did you first get started? What initially sparked your interest?

“From about ages 19 to 28, I spent a lot of time playing in bands and touring. When I wasn't on the road playing music, I was doing portraits and caricatures at amusement parks. After years of doing that, I was incredibly bored and burnt out. I shifted my focus to art, dropping everything and moving to Vegas with my wife when I was offered an apprenticeship with Fred Giovannitti. We eventually moved back to L.A., where I continued an apprenticeship for two more years under Sung Song of Unbreakable Tattoo. He saw some potential in me, and I couldn't be more grateful to him and Fred.”

What was the first tattoo you ever gave?

“The first one I did was on myself: a black-and-gray eye on my leg. The second was a color portrait of General Cornelius from the original Planet of the Apes on my first mentor, Fred. It took four sessions at three hours a session, but it's still in my portfolio to this day. I’m incredibly proud of it.”

How often do you turn clients down? What's usually the reason for this?

“I try not to turn anyone down, but sometimes there are requests that I just don’t feel comfortable with or confident in executing. This usually happens when a young person with little to no tattoos comes in and wants to get their neck, hands, or face tattooed. It's not a fashion statement, which is typically why they want it. They'll say, ‘I like the way it looks,’ or, ’It looks hot.’ I usually respond with, ‘Do you still feel that way about flared jeans?’ All jokes aside, my job is to give a good tattoo, even if it means I'd have to refer you to an artist more capable.”




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Photo: Courtesy of Jeffrey Meyer.
Do you have a preferred tattoo style or specialty?

“I usually like to do my own take on traditional. Anything flora, fauna, and birds are my bread and butter. In the past year or so, I've been exploring the world of Japanese tattooing with the help of my colleagues at Unbreakable. It's tough, but the outcome on skin is beautiful.”

What is the most difficult tattoo you've ever done, and what made it so tricky?

“I did a Japanese dragon a little over a year or so ago. I had to reschedule the appointment twice because I was just not happy with look of the dragon. It didn't have that spirit yet. I must have drawn that thing 20 different ways before I liked it, then I drew it 20 more times. It gave me an entirely new admiration and respect for the masters.”

What is the most challenging thing about being a tattoo artist in Los Angeles, where shops and artists are literally a dime a dozen?

“I just want to be a better artist than I was yesterday. I think in the long run this type of attitude will eventually be recognized in your work, and it will help you separate yourself from the hustlers and bottom feeders. I will say there are plenty of other artists in this city that definitely inspire me and help me to keep evolving as an artist.”

What is the most popular request you get from L.A. clients?

“Cover-ups. But, that's not just unique to L.A. There are bad tattoos everywhere! Do your research, people, and bring me some fresh skin!”

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Photo: Courtesy of Zoey Taylor.
Zoey Taylor

Years In The Biz: 15
Find Her At: Private studio by appointment only, 2716 North Broadway Avenue (at South Main Street); 213-304-9378.
Instagram: @zoeytaylor


How did you first get started? What initially sparked your interest?

“This is always one of the hardest questions to answer. It brings me back to a time that was difficult and unpredictable. The short version of it goes something like this: I grew up in the forest, without electricity, television, phones, or neighbors. To say that my upbringing was un-traditional would be an understatement. Since I wasn't in school, most of my days were spent drawing, painting, and daydreaming about the future. I was interested in tattooing at a very early age and would cover my brother in Sharpie tattoos. I taught myself to tattoo, just as I had taught myself to draw and then paint.”

What was the first tattoo you ever gave?

“It was on my sister’s husband — he’s really into cars and motorcycles, so he got the most appropriate tattoo: a hot rod! It was the most exhilarating and terrifying experience of my life! What a brave man my brother-in-law is. My sister found a true hero in her husband.”

How often do you turn clients down? What's usually the reason for this?

“It's actually very rare that I turn anyone down. I do my best to accommodate every request that walks through my door, but I have no time for bad attitudes. I've turned down a few clients simply because they were jerks.”
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Photo: Courtesy of Zoey Taylor.
Do you have a preferred tattoo style or specialty?

“There are so many styles of tattooing, and I genuinely love them all. I really love realism, fine-line work, but I’m known for my portraits. Re-creating a memory of a loved one for someone is priceless.”

What is the most difficult tattoo you've ever done, and what made it so tricky?

“The first 10 years of any tattooist's career is filled with firsts, and everything is tricky! Between finishing a sleeve in two days, making a seamless geometric pattern, and dealing with unpredictable body parts, blood thinners, scars, and crazy clients who try and hypnotize each other or make me an unwilling participant in a fantasy, I'd honestly have to say it's impossible to pick out one tattoo!”

What is most challenging thing about being a tattoo artist in Los Angeles, where shops and artists are literally a dime a dozen?

“Los Angeles is a city that has embraced me as a tattoo artist, so I feel really lucky to be here! I'm constantly amazed at how far people will travel to see me and how long they'll wait for their appointments. I think as long as you do exceptional work and give your clients exceptional service, you'll always be busy, even in a city as saturated with tattoo artists as L.A. is.”

What is the most popular request you get from L.A. clients?

“Los Angeles is as diverse as the people who live here. It’s really great to be among so many artists and true individuals. So there's not really a common request that I get, except that I'm doing lots of bigger pieces, which is always fun. Lots more people are being bold and getting full sleeves or full backs, or necks and hands.”

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Photo: Courtesy of Arlene Salinas.
Arlene Salinas

Years In The Biz: 7
Find Her At: The Honorable Society, 8424 West Santa Monica Boulevard (near North La Cienaga Boulevard); 323-654-2440.
Instagram: @arlenedarling



How did you first get started? What initially sparked your interest?

“I got my first tattoo when I was 18, and that was it. I continued getting tattooed, and by the time I was about 19 or 20, I secretly started to inquire about how to become a tattoo artist. I hid my fascination with tattooing for a long time because I was fearful of what my family would think. I dropped out of college to pursue becoming a tattooer and spent a few months going to different shops with my art portfolio asking about apprenticeships. I got turned down a lot. I finally got an apprenticeship in Hollywood. The tattoo artist who was showing me how to tattoo moved shops and left me behind. At that point I just decided to figure it out on my own. Close friends and family members was how I continued to learn."


What was the first tattoo you ever gave?

“The first tattoo I ever did was a five-pointed star with thick outline and mediocre color.”

How often do you turn clients down? What's usually the reason for this?

“It doesn't happen often, but if someone is trying to get something tattooed that I just don't excel in, then, yeah, I'll turn them away. People deserve to get what they want by someone who is knowledgeable and well prepared to do the job. I've only had to turn down very few people based on their inability to listen, be respectful, and be reasonable about getting tattooed. If you go into any shop thinking you know everything about tattooing, refuse to listen to professional advice, and you're rude, expect to be turned down.”

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Photo: Courtesy of Arlene Salinas.
Do you have a preferred tattoo style or specialty?

“This is a tough question for me. What comes out when I'm working is just a version of what influences me. I’m influenced by my Hispanic culture and my love of traditional tattoo imagery. I prefer to tattoo classic images and subject matter, and I personally love old-school and black-and-gray tattoos.”

What is the most difficult tattoo you've ever done, and what made it so tricky?

“Honestly, I feel like all tattoos are difficult in some way. Tattooing is not as easy as it looks!”

What is the most challenging thing about being a tattoo artist in Los Angeles, where shops and artists are literally a dime a dozen?

“The hardest part of being a tattooer in L.A. — or anywhere — is building a clientele. It takes some time to do that. People have to trust you and be satisfied with the work you’ve done on them, especially here in Los Angeles. There are so many shops here, so competition is tough.”

What is the most popular request you get from L.A. clients?

“There are a lot of requests for lettering: names, quotes, etc. This isn’t isolated to Los Angeles — it is and has been popular everywhere for a while. It's definitely not the most exciting thing to tattoo, but hey, you give your client what he or she wants.”
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