We’ve all know that tattoos are a form of self expression but now psychologists are getting more than just skin deep. Assistant psychology professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Jamie Hughes, says the practice “is not demonized like it used to be.”

She further adds, “In my field, social psychology, we tend to look at things in terms of group behavior and social norms,” Hughes said. “If a number of people in your social network have tattoos, the attractiveness of getting one increases. It’s one way to be respected by people they respect or admire.”



Some tattoos are memorials to those who have helped change society. Take for example this piece of MLK and Malcolm X which was done by Las Vegas artist Robert Pho.

Hughes further adds that cable TV shows about tattooing has helped increase its popularity while musicians and athletes have long been influencers in the scene. Those factors have strengthened the phenomenon; however, he does say that the increased popularity may have an affect on the Millenials simply because young people often want to do things differently than their elders.
“Seeing it on TV increases your belief that it is a normative and acceptable thing to do,” Hughes said. “Young people want to form their own identity and be different, distinguish themselves from others, so it is part of their social identity formation.’”



Some tattoos, like this one done by resident artist Fernie Andrade, represent their religious belief as well family members. 

In his interview he ask mentions that, “I think the main reasons [for the increased popularity of tattoos] are the symbolism and the amazing talent some of these guys have,” Nixon said. “It’s a change in the culture with social media. You used to see it looked at in a negative way with gangs and prisons, but now it’s more accepted.”


Horror movies have long been America’s favorite obsession. Maybe it’s our fascination with the unknown, or the frailty and ignorance of youth that makes it all worth while. As for me, I know that horror movies helped get me closer to the ladies, but that was millenniums ago. Now the only thing they seem to like, which is equally scary, is a scary movie and the bill your paying for wining and dining them. And let’s not talk about the horror of waking up next to them without makeup.

But all joking aside, horror movies are so immensely popular that we’ve seen them come back to life time and time again. From dolls to tattoos, posters to apparel, the horror industry has dominated them all.  They’ve garnished billions and when it comes films, it’s a big thing. Take the Saw Trilogy for instance. The movie cost a mere $15.2 million to make, but in the long run it grossed over $415 million and the numbers are still climbing.




Bu here’s another interesting fact, Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street have some of the largest fan bases and the most sequels of any horror movies and they’re beat out only by the James Bond franchise and certain porn series’ – ha….go figure.

So as I sit here writing this, I’m polishing off my 5th cup of Jameson and I’m starting to ramble on but this all came about after seeing this dope ass tattoo by Robert. The horror themed masterpiece had me in awe about a few things. For starters, the work is brilliant and the detail so real it takes me back to childhood. On the other hand, I can appreciate the characters for the audience they’ve built but I’m also bewildered as to how I was ever scared of them?


Fast forward to present day, these same characters like Doctor Frankenstein and The Monster of the Black Lagoon are now pop icons of art and age. Yet regardless of what we like and what we love, horror flicks and the creepy places they take us are magical. Who knows, maybe it’s the power of the villain, the audacity and lack of fear they have for their victims, or maybe it’s the vulnerability of how they make us feel. Needless to say, they’re here to stay and what’s even better is that these characters seem to have no shelf life.



As I celebrate my 25th anniversary, there’s much to say about the journey which took me here, but the one thing I can assure you is that behind the glitz of the new shop is an epic journey that has been filled with plenty of ups an downs. In short, there’s much that I’ve learned early on in the game and I’ll tell you that learning from other peoples mistakes will spare you plenty of heartache and pain, so here’s a few things that I learned and hopefully it’ll help you out on your own journey.


You should always believe in yourself but make sure you listen to any self doubt. The first shop I opened came as easy as look, call, sign and lease. Soon thereafter, I had doubts about my partner and it turns out that it didn’t work out. The bottom line….When your gut tells you something do yourself a favor and listen before it become a costly mistake.



Before you go off in the deep in end, please read this through. They say art has no business being a business but in the end it is. From lease agreements, to credit card interest and taxes, you’re going to have to learn the business side of art if you plan to sell anything. The bottom line….get educated or hire someone that is. Cheating taxes may be fine and dandy but remember that the IRS is the biggest gang in the country and I’m sure you don’t want to chuck it up with ’em anytime soon.



OK so I’m not being literal even though I wish I could. The tattoo industry is a great business but as with any business there will always be it’s fair share of snakes. Though I’ve been burned time and time again, I’ve learned to accept that you can’t change the world and help everyone so I keep moving forward. The bottom line: Grow your business, put everything you have into it and eventually you will atttact and keep good people.



If your art is worth it, charge accordingly. Starting off in this business means lots of time put into others as you master the craft and at that point their trust is payment enough. But as you build your skills and create your following you will soon realize that there soon comes  a point in time that you’ll be able to charge. The bottom line… your skills, build your portfolio and then…..charge accordingly.

Hope this helps some of you out and best of luck!

 *(photo up above was of two of the shops I started off with)




Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! As we write the final chapters on the few last days of 2014, it’s time again to start a New Year and hopefully you’ve already got a jump on 2015. It’s going to be that time where many of us make – and soon after break – New Year’s resolutions but we wish you the best in all your endeavors. As for us, we’ve got some plans that we intend to stick to for 2015 so we’ll keep you updated on the planning process as well as the progress.


We’d also like to thank everyone for their continued support and for clicking on through the site. We’ll have plenty more updates coming soon so check back soon and enjoy these final days as we we get ready to close this volume and start yet another.


Standing guard: It’s all in the details.


It’s the truth. Regardless of the industry you’re in there’s always going to be the naysayers, the doubters, the detractors and the haters trying to throw salt on your game. In short, you can stay in your lane and mind your own business but sooner than later, someones gonna swerve and try to disrupt your trip to the top.



                                                         Agree? If so, then copy the image and please feel to repost on IG and please be sure to hashtag us. 


So what do you do when this happens? Nothing. Just keep your ego down, your skills up and keep making the moves that are making you that much more popular. Remember….Elephants don’t swat flies and no one has ever achieved greatness without a little bit of negative press.

Black and Grey tattoo by Fernie Andrade on Alphonse. This tattoo won “Tattoo of the Day” at Musink.



Inspiration behind the post: 
Recently,  I was talking to a friend (who by the way is not in the tattoo industry), and he was talking about the amount of heat he caught for recently getting a big promotion. Needless to say, people in the office were talking smack and spreading rumors and after a week it finally got to him.

About an hour into our conversation, his grand father came out and said, “Listen up cry baby, elephants don’t swat flies and people don’t talk garbage about nobody, they talk about somebody, and you’re somebody. So suck it up, and strive for more.” 


 What’s your point of view?

As we both sat there laughing, he pulled open the sliding doors with a beer in his hand and said, “This is my point of view…who cares about anyone elses point of view. I built this house on hard work, not gossip, and anyone can do the same.”

As we sat there kind of stunned he followed up by saying, “Jealousy isn’t new. It’s older than I am except  you kids call it ‘hating’, it’s a part of life, a part of the process, and a sign that you’re doing just fine. Ask MJ or Kobe if everyone liked them, or better yet ask Kim Kardashian, heck she married a guy that looks like a squirrel but heck…he’s got a whole lot of chestnuts in his piggy bank. “

Wise words from an 86 year old.

Contributed by SDT writer JV – An LA based writer with an affinity for tattoos, long drives to the beach and an intolerance for stupidity. 


Be sure to check out Robert’s updated portfolio by clicking here.


So I ran across a black and grey portrait that was done by Robert Pho, and in turn I ended up throwing on a track by Miles Davis – a track which subsequently influenced this post. With the volume up and the coffee brewing, the tracks smooth and rhythmic melody brought me to a peaceful place – while the songs name, “Freddie  Freeloader”, made me bust a smirk because of all the f*cked up memories and people it can relate to. (read on and you’ll find out why)

As artists, we all have our opinions and criticisms. Whether it be about technique, subject matter, tools of the trade, or simply art, the opinions we form can be relevant, ignorant, arrogant and sometimes downright argumentative. But for the most part, our opinions help ignite creativity and bring us closer together. On the other hand, the one thing I’m sure we can all agree on is the fact we all started in this industry in the same place: The very bottom.

Regardless if you tattoo, paint, draw or even write, we spend countless amounts of hours honing our craft, mastering our techniques and building our books/ portfolios. In the beginning, the encouragement we receive from friends comes deep and plenty, but ask someone to let you take a pass at their skin and the confidence and hoorah soon diminishes. But as time progresses -as does your skill – you soon create a following, and a book of business. It’s a natural progression that happens as a result of experience, confidence and improved techniques and in short,  it’s a part of surviving.  But along with that exponential growth comes an increase in what you can charge for the work  you do.


Freddie Freeloader by Miles Davis.

Soon after you raise your rates, comes a somewhat awkward moment where you have to announce the price hike. It’s at that moment that you realize that most old clients along with new clients don’t mind at all. Sure you hook up some of the regulars at discounted rates (as a way of thanking them for their loyalty), but what about the ones that still want your rates from when you were first practicing 15 years ago? Or how about the ones that want it for free? You know what I’m talking about! C’mon now….and if you don’t have a clue about what I’m talking about then soon enough you will. These are those folks that are classified as “Freddie Freeloaders” or “Captain Mooch.”


If you still don’t know what I’m talking about then listen carefully for anyone that uses typical key phrases such as….


“C’mon homie. Hook it up. I’ve been down since day one!”

“You got a cancellation? Yo..hit up my arm really quick with a small piece!”

and once they find out about your new rates, you’ll get the proverbial….

Oh! It’s like that now?! Glad I’m still getting  the homie hookup right?”

“I know I’m not paying that. We boys. Right?”


At first you may entertain a few of the offers but soon enough they’ll pester you to a point where you can’t help but laugh – or kick them out of the shop. So are we here to tell you how to solve this problem? Absolutely not, it’s a problem that we will all encounter soon enough and a dilemma that’s handled differently by each of us. In the meantime, get your hours in, your skill set up and know your worth.

If you’ve figured out the perfect way to handle a Freddie Freeloader be sure to leave a comment.


Side notes:

So how did this track get its name? There are two sources which cite that the song was named after a friend of Davis. The friends name was Freddie, and he was known for trying to see the music Davis and others played without paying. The sources came from a documentary, Kind of Blue: Made in Heaven, and an anecdote from the jazz pianist Monty Alexander. The name may have also been inspired by Red Skelton’s most famous character, “Freddie the Freeloader” the hobo clown.