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8741 Dejah Garcia– Slingin BeautyArticle by Sam Paul

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.

DSC 8743 Dejah Garcia– Slingin BeautyAt 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.

DSC 8749 Dejah Garcia– Slingin BeautyStarting 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.”

DSC 8752 Dejah Garcia– Slingin BeautyAt 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.’”

DSC 8756 Dejah Garcia– Slingin BeautyIn 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.”

Boston Tattoo Convention

4th 2011

13 733x1024 Boston Tattoo ConventionBoston Tattoo Convention

Fall 2010

by Sam Paul

Photography by Steve Prue

Over Labor Day Weekend, the Sheraton Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay was transformed into a four-day party, art show, and tattooing extravaganza featuring over 150 artists and vendors showcasing their incredible craftsmanship, artistry and know-how. In spite of severe weather warnings due to Hurricane Earl, the hall was packed with eager attendees throughout the convention.

22 497x1024 Boston Tattoo ConventionThis year marked the convention’s ninth anniversary and its first time in its new and upgraded venue. “It’s a little glitzier, with far more possibility,” said event organizer Nathan Alexander of Witch City Ink and Lightwave Tattoo. “Boston has gotten a major facelift. It’s been a long time coming. Boston’s an expensive city, so it’s been tricky trying to pull this along, and trying to find the right match. It’s like trying to find a new boyfriend or girlfriend.”

Alexander’s vision for the convention is one that accommodates working artists and those who want to be tattooed by minimizing the amount of pipe and machete sellers, keeping the side events non-invasive and promoting a clean and professional atmosphere. “I want to be surrounded by good artists and I want the focus to be on the art and the tattooing and not so much on the freak show side or the other kind of things that orbit around tattoo shows,” he says. “I understand that these things need to happen to sell tickets as well. You need to have other lifestyle things, but I want the focus to be on art.”

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Read the rest of  our Boston Convention coverage and see all the photos in Skin&Ink’s February issue…on sale now!

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Dsc00049 300x260 Conversations With Bowery Stan in Skin&InkAt the end of World War II, before tattoo shops sprang up all over Manhattan and before downtown was a place to raise a family, Bowery Stan Moskowitz started tattooing out of a booth in his father’s barbershop in Chinatown. He was twelve years old. Local drunks and bums, outcasts and soldiers who were passing through were just some of the characters he tattooed in those early days. Stan, along with his father and his partners, William “Jonesy” Jones and Charles Wagner, helped to shape the tattoo business as we know it today—from building new machines in the ‘40s to fighting to keep tattooing legal when it came under attack in the ‘60s. Bowery Stan has watched the tattoo industry and his old neighborhood grow and change in the fifty-six years since he got his start. This time, we talked about how it was when he began.

Read Conversations With Bowery Stan by Sam Paul in the latest issue of Skin&Ink. On sale now!!!