I sometimes think of what I do as culturally-based tattooing. I try to study the many and various tattoo traditions, but it’s also possible to create culturally specific tattoos that are based on designs taken from fabric, pottery, or what-have-you. I try always to put a contemporary slant on my designs, maintaining the look and feel of the original tradition, but out of respect, not taking the tradition too literally. I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes.
In addition to the culturally-based designs, the tattoo world uses the word Tribal to describe most designs that are black and abstract. The contemporary Tribal style pioneered by Leo Zulueta was a new creation, drawing from Borneo art, Art Nouveau, and American hot rod flames.
It was Leo’s bold, clean work that first caught my eye years ago, looking like something that was sculpted perfectly for the human body, like perhaps the designs had simply grown on the person. In searching for an artist to tattoo me, I also found my teacher, and I apprenticed under Leo in 1997. You can watch the full episode of Tattoo Wars, featuring Leo and myself, on YouTube or follow me on Instagram @stormcrowtattoo.
You can call our Pacific Beach location or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, but talking face to face is ultimately the best way to deal with visual ideas. To that end, I usually do two stages of consultation. The first consultation can be fairly quick and easy, just going over your basic ideas and making sure that they work as a tattoo. Then, I put you on my waiting list, and when we get close to an actual open tattoo date we sit down and have a real detailed meeting about your project, takes pictures, look at various design references, set up the actual appointment(s) and drop off a deposit.