Hometown: Oakland, CA
Occupation/career: Model/sales for H2 Ocean and Steadfast Brand
Sandi Callistro of Denver from Kaze did my hands. Alisha Kates of Life Time of Sol in Denver did my neck. Asa Rodgers of Under Your Skin in Aurora, CO did my sleeves, leg and back.
I got “To Thyne Own Self Be True” because it’s easy to try to please other people without ever really taking a look at yourself and figuring out what’s right for you. I would sacrifice anything for the people I love, sometimes to the point of forgetting what I need and what I deserve.
I’m not an artist on any level, so tattoos are the closest thing to artistic expression I have. Oddly enough they’ve opened a lot of doors for me with H2 Ocean, Steadfast and other great companies.
Hometown: Aurora, IL
My artists are Jim Antosh (Fink Ink Elkhorn, Wisconsin) and Lil Man (San Antonio, Texas).
I’ve always loved skulls, and the main reason is because skulls can represent so many different things. They can be dark and scary, or vivid and beautiful. I definitely stick with the vivid and beautiful category–my skulls still remain dominant with their dark shading, but obtain a sense of beauty with all of the bright wildflowers and leaves surrounding them. I chose my pieces to be like that, because they definitely match my personality. And it’s not something you typically see on a nineteen-year-old girl from my town. It definitely calls for your attention, which is what I want when I go out and show off my ink.
I enlisted into the Army on November 11, 2009. I started out in the Illinois National Guard for the Army. I went through seven months of training to become a Combat Medic. I ended up loving my job so much that I decided to go active duty for the Army as soon as I came home.
The only regulations the Army has with ink are that it cannot be below your wrist collar, or above your neck collar, unless you have a waiver before you enlist. Which is really disappointing, because I’m in love with neck and hand ink and would die to add those to my collection. But the great thing about having ink in the Army is that you meet so many people that you usually would think don’t have any, or you meet people that have some of the best work you’ve ever seen. And not only do you bond with these people because you’re fighting with them for the same cause, but you share a common interest with them beyond the uniform.
a.k.a. Southern Belle with a Twist
Hometown: Georgetown, Kentucky
Career/Occupation: Model & MMA Ring Card girl
I have always been fascinated with the art and appearance of ink as well as its creativity and how unique you can make your body look. As soon as I was old enough–it was on.
I’ve had a few artists work on me, but I’ve gotten the most work done by Slinger (Honolulu, HI), Rock Star Tattoo (Honolulu, HI) and Your Design or Mine (Lexington, KY).
All my ink has a meaning and a purpose. I believe if it’s worth putting on your body forever, then you have to make it your own. I’d have to say that the tattoos that have the most significance to me are my man’s name and my half sleeve. The peacock also has so many wonderful meanings in life and to me.
I’m a regular small town gal from the south with an edge. My long-term plan is to be as successful as I can be in this thing we call life.
Photography by Justice Howard
Dejah Garcia is the quintessential pin-up with flowing black hair and Betty Paige-style bangs, a seasoned tattooer with thirteen years of experience, and the owner of Trusted Tattoo in Corona, CA. Growing up in Bullhead, AZ, Garcia found art at a young age. “We lived in the middle of nowhere and we didn’t really watch a lot of TV and I’m not athletic, so I’ve drawn since I’ve been able to hold a pencil,” she says.
At sixteen, Garcia got her first tattoo–tribal work on her upper arm that has since been covered up. The same year, as a sophomore in high school, she worked her way into an apprenticeship at Trust Tattoo, a local shop and the namesake of her own tattoo parlor, by scrubbing tubes and floors, and making needles. At eighteen, Garcia went to Vegas to work at Starborn Tattoo. After spending time in California, she returned to Vegas to work at Hart and Huntington in 2003. There, she met Lacey McClellan, who was the first female tattooer she worked with, and who she considers her unofficial partner at Trusted.
Starting out as a female in the industry wasn’t easy for Garcia. “People didn’t want to get tattooed by a girl. They think you have it easier, but you have to work twice as hard to prove that you have a right to be there,” the artist explained.
The hustle and bustle of working at a shop in Sin City prompted Garcia to seek out quieter surroundings in 2007, when she opened Trusted Tattoo. “It was really scary putting in that much time and money and not knowing if it was going to work. I just moved to a city where I didn’t know anybody,” she says. “I kind of opened that shop sitting there by myself and that’s how I got my clientele, which has been awesome. Corona’s been really welcoming to me.”
At Trusted, Garcia and her crew of four committed tattooers offer custom work to a dedicated base of clients. Garcia enjoys tattooing large and colorful pieces. “I really just like fitting people’s bodies and flattering them and just making sure it has a really nice flow and kind of shows their curves,” she says.
Garcia started modeling two years ago when she was approached by legendary tattoo photographer Justice Howard. “I met Justice when I was eighteen and worked at Starborn. She always kind of looked at me like I was a kid, which I was,” Garcia says. “I got older and I went to one of her art shows and she looked at me and said ‘Oh my God, we need to shoot you.’”
In the past few years, Garcia has found success as a model, as a tattooer, and as a shop owner. “I’ve just always worked hard,”she says.” I put my heart into it every day by pushing myself to get better, and working with people that are better than me and learning from them and being humble enough to know that I’m still learning. That’s what’s so exciting about tattooing. There’s always something new to learn and there are always people doing it a different way.”