It’s been a decade since I began my journey as a tattoo artist. The picture above
(Sept 28 2011) is from my last dinner in Shanghai before I moved back to San Francisco. The smile on my face shows how naïve I was about the whole tattooing game. I had no idea how difficult it was going to be to establish myself as an artist. In fact, I had no idea about how anything worked in the US. That’s probably how I ended up a craigslist home tattooer for several years. Would you believe I used to lug a massage table and equipment around the bay area to tattoo for next to nothing?
Fast forward to today, I am a registered business, licensed with the city, and I work out of a private studio in the mission. Even though I have come a long way, I feel as if I have only reached the foot of the mountain. I know there isn’t such a thing as the top of the mountain, but I know I need to keep climbing.
Every now and then, somebody will tell me I am talented. I don’t agree. I like to think of myself as persistent and lucky. Lucky enough to be supported by family, friends, and most importantly clients. Whether I tatted you 10 years ago or 10 days ago, I am truly grateful for the privilege of tattooing you. Without you there is no tattoo! Thank you for choosing to spend your limited time with me. Thank you for sharing your perspectives, knowledge, and lives with me. In return, I pledge to continue to remain wholly committed to tattooing as long as I am physically able.
See you in the studio,
Oliver of Thousand Stroke Tattoo