Many of the shops have been around for a long time, and their longevity serves to validate their quality. Tattoo shops are businesses that depend on the talent and creative ability of their artists.
At Crossroads Tattoo, located at 1572 Garnet Ave., tattoo artist Westley Dickerson said the success of a shop also depends on its ability to create the right atmosphere.
“It’s not just the artwork. It’s about the experience,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson said the artists at Crossroads all have a range of skills. He prefers to work with color.
“Color is a little more exciting. It’s all about life,” Dickerson said.
Bobby Bailey, who splits time between Crossroads’ Pacific Beach and Hesperia locations, specializes in portraits and realism, which are some of the hardest disciplines to master.
“One slip and they can look sloppy,” Bailey said.
Down the street at Funhouse Tattoo, located at 1453 Garnet Ave., artist Leo Cadenazzi specializes in Japanese style.
“We have great tattoo artists with a mix of specialties,” Cadenazzi said.
Funhouse founder Seth Reynolds specializes in Polynesian-style work, and other artists offer traditional American, graffiti, portraits and film-inspired tattoos.
Walking down the street, it’s clear that each shop has skilled artists that can work with the customer to produce the perfect tattoo.
Sideshow Tattoo and Piercing, located at 1062 Garnet Ave., is one of the few shops with a five-star rating on Yelp.
Tattoo artist Brad Garner said Sideshow also has a variety of artists and a great line of piercers that can do everything from fine lines and black-and-grey to intricate color work and portraits.
Garner said the shop will soon start hosting art shows where local tattoo artists will auction off their work and send some of the proceeds to charity.
Sideshow recently hosted a private event for members of the military with live music and a barbeque. A percentage of the event’s profits will go to the Wounded Warriors Project.