I spoke to my mentor this week over the phone…and it made me think about the last few years and how much I have learned about the art of tattooing and how much I have failed in the process of learning those lessons. There have been ups and downs….and some waaaayy downs but while talking to him, I told him I just want to do good tattoos on people and try to make everything I do to reflect on the people who taught me (MOST NOTABLY YOU NIK) about the industry.  There are alot of things that aren’t taught in an apprenticeship these days and I am fortunate to have learned some of those lessons during mine.  I remember when I asked Nik like a wet behind the ears ass hole….”How do you plan to teach me to tattoo”  and he said “I’m going to give you an old school apprenticeship, your going to tattoo and your gonna fuck up!” and like an ass I nodded my head like I knew something. What I didn’t know though was that he was going to teach me so much more than just tattooing…he was going to pass down something to me that is beyond a job skill set…and beyond words.  I still learn from him and he’s states away now…I think back on things he’s said and I still find answers in that wisdom.  After I told him all of that he replied….”you don’t know how proud that makes me to hear you say that”. I was on cloud nine! For the first time in my career I felt like I was finally heading in the right direction. This is bigger than me and my career…and this is bigger than all of you Kat Von D wanna be’s. If you work hard, your work will outlive you…

I think all of that kind of started to become more clear to me in the passing of my friend Damien.  I lost a good friend….and for the first time in my career I watched my work die.  Hours of  drinking and laughs…hours of pain…elbows deep in his blood on his birthday giving him his present on his ribs. Only for him to leave this Earth…the day after my own birthday. I ask myself was it all for nothing. I felt so bad because he had let me practice on him…I mean I had royally fucked him up as an apprentice! When his sister told me that they identified him by a tattoo I had given him I was horrified. I couldn’t do anything…I was powerless and all I could think of was how I was never gonna make it up to him.  The day of his tattoo appointment was the day his service was held.  I just wish I could have gave more to him…I think that contemplation is what is driving me to study harder…to learn even more…to out do myself every time. I’m trying to make up for all the shitty tattoos I did on my friend…and do justice for the guys who took me under their wing. I hope it’s working.


Damien and me doing the funniest tattoo ever…when I was an apprentice. The most unsterile…unsafe, not to mention stupid tattoo ever but he loved it so much. I remember making  him shave his ass! I loved that guy…and I miss him more everyday.

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