Southbay Tattoo Co.

★★★★☆

About Southbay Tattoo Co.

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There are far too many people in the world with terrible tattoos, and too many two-bit hacks giving them. That's why reknowned tattoo artistist "Southbay Mike" warns everyone to "think before you ink." Or at the very least, call him up and make an appointment to get a permanent inking from someone who considers himself one of the true "old school" artists in the field.

Mike has been tattooing for 21 years, opening his first shop in Chula Vista back in 1996. Now he calls Southbay Tattoo at 295 3rd Avenue his artistic home, coming in solely to work on clients who make an appointment by phone. He guarantees the quality of his craft and makes no secret of his disdain for wannabes buying a tattoo gun online and calling themselves artists just because they can somewhat draw.

"I don't appreciate homemade artists," says Southbay Mike, who's tough exterior only slightly hides the fact that he's a caring family man that has a deep passion for is work. "I love the machine, and there's people out there destroying the art of tattooing. It's lost its attractiveness and has been cheapened. Us real tattoo artists look down on that because we put a lot of time into doing it the right way."

Perhaps the fact that tattoos have been a source of wonder for Southbay Mike is the reason he feels so protective of the artform. As a kid, he was always mystified by the colorful, permanent drawings he'd see on people's arms. In fact, he believed it was actual "magic." Later in life, after beginning the process of learning how to create this magic, he realized it was actually hard work to create that magic. But that has never stopped him from doing what he can to "keep the magic alive" through his intricate, cleanly designed pieces.

He admits that his commissioned pieces don't come at a bargain price. That's because he feels that "a good tattoo aint cheap, and a cheap tattoo ain't good." Even then, he will forego charging anyone if they're not happy with the work he's done. Not that that has ever happened. And seeing first-hand his work, I can see why. It's classic, clean, and smoothly finished. The woman he was working on, who also happens to be is apprentice, had no bleeding - a sure sign of an artist that knows what he's doing.

4
★★★★☆

There are far too many people in the world with terrible tattoos, and too many two-bit hacks giving them. That's why reknowned tattoo artistist "Southbay Mike" warns everyone to "think before you ink." Or at the very least, call him up and make an appointment to get a permanent inking from someone who considers himself one of the true "old school" artists in the field.

Mike has been tattooing for 21 years, opening his first shop in Chula Vista back in 1996. Now he calls Southbay Tattoo at 295 3rd Avenue his artistic home, coming in solely to work on clients who make an appointment by phone. He guarantees the quality of his craft and makes no secret of his disdain for wannabes buying a tattoo gun online and calling themselves artists just because they can somewhat draw.

"I don't appreciate homemade artists," says Southbay Mike, who's tough exterior only slightly hides the fact that he's a caring family man that has a deep passion for is work. "I love the machine, and there's people out there destroying the art of tattooing. It's lost its attractiveness and has been cheapened. Us real tattoo artists look down on that because we put a lot of time into doing it the right way."

Perhaps the fact that tattoos have been a source of wonder for Southbay Mike is the reason he feels so protective of the artform. As a kid, he was always mystified by the colorful, permanent drawings he'd see on people's arms. In fact, he believed it was actual "magic." Later in life, after beginning the process of learning how to create this magic, he realized it was actually hard work to create that magic. But that has never stopped him from doing what he can to "keep the magic alive" through his intricate, cleanly designed pieces.

He admits that his commissioned pieces don't come at a bargain price. That's because he feels that "a good tattoo aint cheap, and a cheap tattoo ain't good." Even then, he will forego charging anyone if they're not happy with the work he's done. Not that that has ever happened. And seeing first-hand his work, I can see why. It's classic, clean, and smoothly finished. The woman he was working on, who also happens to be is apprentice, had no bleeding - a sure sign of an artist that knows what he's doing.

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