Last week I made a trip to helLA for some work with hopes of potential more work/contracts and managed to get in a day and a half before to hang with my homie Demian. The purpose of arriving early was to hang with him as it has been too long plus he is one of those guys who is an amazing person as well as rich in history specifically LA tattoo history. His collection of tattoos and tattoo art makes my mouth drop and I am always impressed.
Tattoo history of Los Angeles and tattooers are always a favorite conversation with him. He has been mentioned on this site several times and in some of the interviews as he goes way back as a tattoo collector and at one time started an apprenticeship under some impressive tattooers. He ended up going with a career in the trades as a crane operator yet still supports and loves tattooing. Anywho back to tattoos, he is on his god knows how many layer of his all black and grey body suit by Small Paul, Kore Flatmo, Tim Hendricks, Chris Garver, Scott Sylvia, Bob Roberts, Tim Lehi, Jack Rudy, and the list could go on and on. I would love to sit down with him and do a video interview for the site but think Scott may be a better fit for it as they've known each other longer. Hmmm, I wonder if he would even sit down for a video interview...maybe a new LST video series, tattoo collectors???? If you listen closely to the videos done in Dan Dringenberg's machine shop you can hear him cracking jokes in the background. Alright I am done descending into random ramblings on with the blog......So Demian took me around LA to some tattoo shops that I wanted to see plus he needed to do a consultation with Small Paul.
The first stop was to Bryan Burk's Dark Horse Tattoo as I have never met Bryan fae to face but have been eager to since his video interview with LST plus hearing lots of good things about him. I walked in and these gentleman are nice as hell....very welcoming and the shop is beautiful! Some really cool flash and art in the front room with no counter just looking straight back at each tattooer set up in an open layout through the various rooms. They had a fair amount of flash from some of my favorite tattooers plus flash and art by tattooers I've come to see and appreciate through this site. Bryan, Adam Warmerdam, and Horisuzu were all hard at work yet welcoming and interactive. Bryan I'll be back in a few weeks for work again and hope to grab a drink as you offered. Here is some info on these guys and the shop as I would strongly encourage getting tattooed there!
Dark Horse Tattoo
4630 Hollywood Blvd
LA, CA 90027
The next stop was True Tattoo in Hollywood which I've been to previously but it is always a cool tattoo shop to stop by. Demian introduced me to Small Paul and Clay Decker while Richard Stell was hard at work. If you have not been to this shop it is a must! The layout at their current location is monsterous! You walk into a wide open floor with a counter that wraps around with decades worth of tattoo flash and art on the walls plus there are little private rooms off to the right. Clay took the time to speak with me around the history of the shop and its previous locations before finding its current home which was much appreciated. I then got to see the brilliance of Small Paul that I have heard so much about during Demian's consultation. He is doing this one tattoo over a spot that Demian recently lasered off but also fixing one of his knee caps. This is where the magic began....Small Paul listened to what D didn't like about the tattoo, what he was thinking, then pulled out a pen and started drawing to give an idea of what he thought was best....it looked like a whole new tattoo. He listened yet offered his years of experience and Demian being a good tattoo customer and trusting a quality tattooer let him go at it.....I can't wait to see this tattoo when they finally do it! I wanted to meet Jennifer and Richard Stell as Jennifer has been active on here but they were hard at work and I didn't want to interrupt. Here is info for the shop:
1614 N Cahuenga Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
As we drove past the many other shops I got to hear some funny stories, histories of various shops, tattooers, and where so and so started tattooing.....
Also one day while down there I had just finished working out at Fortune Boxing Gym and Grant Cobb was just getting ready to start his workout so I introduced myself. Yet another nice guy who does good tattoos and who took the time to speak with me for a few minutes before he began his workout. Below is info on both Fortune and Grant. It was my first time at Fortune Boxing Gym (actually first time ever working out at a boxing gym) and everyone there was extremely friendly from the trainers (Justin Fortune, Mysti Friedman, & Joel Mills) to people working out. It has what you would expect from an old boxing gym including class yet is a newish spot in Hollywood and I experienced no attitudes. This is a repeat trait that I am beginning to realize in many professions, often times the most successful are the nicest, respectful and professional. As it was my first time in a boxing gym Justin took the time to hold pads for me and give me some technique tips. He wanted to beat me with a stick as the hook with my feet and hips were a tough one to learn but he stayed funny and persistent. If you are ever in that area and need a workout I would strongly suggest this spot and after the training I took a run straight from the gym up into the hills so the location allows for one stop workouts.
Thanks to everyone who took the time out of their day to welcome me and talk! I'll be back in helLA in a few weeks again for work so hope to get some free days to check out some other shops.......