Thursday, October 6, 2011
Nick Alvarez 77TATTOO
In this two part interview I will be talking to two of the South Bay of Los Angeles' best tattoo artists. Mike Suarez and Nick Alvarez. Growing up in the same town, I have heard their names and witnessed their works many times. Finding out that they had opened their own private studio in Torrance was a great surprise so I would like to introduce you to the artists behind 77TATTOO .
I met Nick Alvarez in San Diego at Guru Tattoo of all places. It is funny because we grew up in the same neighborhood with the same friends. Me being on the older end of things, faded out of the social scene to pursue work and family has a lot to do with the late intro, but I am glad to have met this talented and respectable artist. Here is more about NIck in his own words:
I'm Nick Alvarez.. born and raised in the South Bay (Torrance).. I've always been a beach kid, it's hard for me to leave the ocean. I've lived in a few different places in the last 10 years..
Love to travel. I was in the Navy at one point, stationed in Japan.. That's where I first started getting into tattooing. I was getting tattooed, it was kind of a military thing.. and since I lived in Japan I was taking advantage of getting work done there by this guy Edo, about an hour out of Tokyo. I love Japanese and Chinese art work.. I've been attracted to the style since I was a kid.. and the longer I was in Japan, the more I liked Japanese tattoo work.
So, before I knew it I was tattooing out of the barracks and hanging out at Edo's Tattoo Shop out in town on whatever free time I had. He wanted to help me out.. So I just watched him tattoo a lot..
Then he had me drawing designs and scratching them into card board with needles on running machines. He ordered supplies for me and told me to draw every day.. He told me to practice by tattooing a lot of fucking legs! Once I was back home in LA, I met Mike Suarez who had been tattooing all of my friends. I couldn't wait to meet him.. His tattoos where on another level. He was a big influence on me and helped me out as well.. He kind of took me under his wing.. He really showed me what GOOD tattooing is. I went to Union Electric Tattoo to get a real apprenticeship from Big 5, since I had never worked out of a professional shop. He hired me on the spot as a Tattooer and taught me whatever little things I hadn't learned.
My passion for Tattooing grew.. before I knew it I was tattooing full time and getting tattooed in my free time.. my life became Tattooing and I couldn't get enough. Eventually I made my way to Guru Tattoo in San Diego. I fucking love those guys. They opened my eyes.. I couldn't be more inspired. Such great artists and so humble..
I still make my way to SD to work with the guys at Guru from time to time. I can't get enough of that place, I try to work 2 or 3 days there every month or two. We were like a family there. After 3 years full time at Guru, I had to make my way back to LA.
We wanted to get my wife Cissy's apprenticeship started with Mike Suarez.. Mike and I also have been talking about opening a small appointment only shop together for the past couple years.. Strictly bad ass tattoos!
Now the three of us are together.. I'm inspired everyday, by both Mike and Cissy. I have opened myself up to trying new things, different styles of tattooing.. Mike blows my mind, he does it all.. any style.. but the thing is, he does it really fucking good. Cissy finished her apprenticeship this week and I can't believe she's pulling off tattoos as well as she is. I wasn't that good for my first few years.. and her paintings are unreal.. I'm still not that good. So I'm not lacking any inspiration, thats for sure. I love working next to the two of them.. 77 Tattoo in Torrance..
Thanks Nick. Nick is a great guy on top of being a top notch tattooer, so if you are in the greater Los Angeles area or better yet the beach cities of the South Bay, book an appointment HERE to get some great custom work scheduled. Or just email him Here: Nick: NICK77TATTOO@ymail.com .
You wont regret it.
in our next 77TATTOO spotlight, Mike Suarez......