“The day you think you learned everything, you stop learning. I want to get better.”
That attitude is probably why he is one of the most sought after tattoo artists in Orlando. It might be his early years that taught him this kind of work ethic. His parents were from an era where hard work was the only way to survive.
My parents didn’t really push me to follow my dreams. I wish they would have, but they came from a different time.
But just being an American citizen took him far.
My dad got us to America and that’s when every door opened for me. I had access to more opportunities, not to mention the basics like art supplies.
And he met other artists.
I met a lot of good friends who had similar interests. I got help from people who were also artists. That’s when I started really getting into it.
It took some years and some practice to start creating solid pieces, but JC was always an artist.
I don’t remember not drawing. No one introduced me to it, it’s just something I did for as long as I can remember.
“I knew I would be doing something related to art. It was my calling.”
In the beginning, he drew a lot of people, characters, psychedelic creatures and crazy things. Salvador Dali’s paintings influenced his early work. The transition to tattooing was natural, although he didn’t plan to be a tattoo artist.
My father had a tattoo on his arm and I was in love with it. But my mom didn’t like tattoos.
Starting out, JC was an apprentice at his friend’s shop. There, he did everything. He cleaned, set up and got supplies for the artists. Most important, he paid attention—to how the artists tattooed their clients, the different styles and techniques they used and the way they ran the business.
I said yes to anything and everything that I was told to do and learned from it. I was grateful for everything I did. At no time did I feel negative about it. I learned from everything. If I had questions I would ask. It became home for me. I opened and closed and I was a key player in the operation of the shop. We were like family.
One day, the shop was light on artists and he was asked to jump in and tattoo.
The first tattoo I did was an anchor and it went great. I had an awesome day. In fact, the others were upset because I made a lot of money that day.
JC has come a long way since that first tattoo. His portfolio includes many styles but one that he really loves is the Japanese style.
Since I started my career in South Florida, I was surrounded by Japanese style tattoos because they were very popular there. I like bringing an authenticity to them. You can tell a tattoo is an American interpretation or a real Japanese piece.
He also likes doing remembrance pieces. It creates a special bond with his clients.
“Anytime I get to do a tattoo to honor people who have passed, I connect with the person emotionally. It’s special.”