Skin Design Tattoo


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In the end, his lengthy campaign ended with an approval from the City and since then he’s remained an active voice for the tattoo community. When asked why he was so passionate about the facing off against them, his response was, “I fought not out of rebellion but out of respect for the art. I knew in my heart that their fears and prejudice of tattoos were based on insecurity and a lack of knowledge, so I knew that if I had a chance to educate them then those fears would go away.”


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After six years at his North Carolina location, Robert received tragic news that would change his life forever. In 2004, Robert’s dad was brutally killed in NYC and the ensuing months would take its toll on him. Yet even after months of depression, Robert built the strength to move his family back to the West Coast be closer to their families. It was then, that Robert decided to take a trip out to Las Vegas (upon recommendation from his close friend Anthony). The trip served as not only a get away, but also doubled as an opportunity to search for a new location for a tattoo shop and after a grueling two-week search, it wasn’t up until his last day that he found an abandoned smoke shop.

Within hours, lease agreements were signed and along with a few handshakes, Robert was headed back home to pack up shop, to return to the City of Sin for good within a few weeks. With a blank canvas and limited funds, Robert made due with what he had to create a functional – but far from fashionable – tattoo parlor. With a few stools, the necessary equipment and an “OPEN” sign Robert was officially open for business.


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After opening the tattoo shop in Las Vegas, things were far from glamorous. As a fresh transplant from North Carolina, Robert may have taken his skill and talent with him, but he left behind a customer base and following he had already built up. In fact, when they weren’t passing out cards and promoting, most of Robert’s time was spent playing chess to take his mind off of the constant stress of trying to re-establish himself. “We spent the first few months just sitting around and playing chess,” says his good friend – and right hand man – Anthony Agoncillo. He further mentions, “Nobody in Las Vegas knew who Robert was and we were lucky to just get a few walk-ins. It even came to a point where I had to go back to L.A. to get a job at the airport.” Yet it’s trying moments like these that truly make his success that much sweeter. Nowadays, much of society is enamored with the glitz and glamor of success, but rarely do we see the rough road it takes to get there.

From prison in Cali, to North Carolina, and then off to Vegas, these moments serve as just a glimpse into the obstacles in which Robert had to face to get where he is today. From tragedies to triumph, his journey is one which is currently being chronicled and catalogued for an upcoming book, but this short overview definitely shows you that anything is possible if you’re willing to put in the time, sweat, and tears it takes to make your dreams come true.

Robert Pho has learned to parlay the patience, strategy, and insight that he’s learned from the game of chess into a much more complex competition – the game of life. Much like chess, Robert has learned to look ahead and use his foresight to make moves while understanding that it takes sacrifice, honor, and practice to succeed. Thanks to what he’s learned, experienced and survived, he has never fell victim to complacency while his forward-thinking demeanor has him already strategizing his next moves.

If you’re interested starting a consultation with
one of our tattoo artists please feel free to call us.