JOSE ARCE • TATTOO ARTIST
I was at a tattoo convention in Mexico where I had the occasion to learn more about the interesting life of Jose’ Arce, a tattoo artists based in Tijuana, Baja California.
Matt: When/how did you start tattooing?
I grew up in South Central Los Angeles. My first experience with tattoos was in between 96′ and 98′ at a tattoo shop called Wicked tattoo in Lynwood, California (Now Closed) .
I was shocked walking into the tattoo shop by seeing a guy by the name of Pint that was doing a portrait tattoo. It was amazing i was truly inspired by the way he was tattooing this portrait on me. It was a big influence in my life to get into tattooing. I remember asking him how can I get into tattooing where can I buy machines and tattoo kit.
My first tattoo kit was recommended by him (Pint), and he told me to get a Joe Kaplan kit from the magazines so I ordered it and never looked back. He was one of the only few people in the tattoo industry that actually gave information because after that l asked several other people and they refused to help me. I went back several times to get information on the needles and how to make them and he was more than kind to help me out with that also. I’m grateful for that I thank him a lot he was a big inspiration in my life is great artist well-known artist and tattoo artist over there in California.
That’s where I got my start in tattoos started doing home tattoos and stuff like that and we started growing a little by little. My life kind of took me in a different direction from tattoos. I was involved in gangs and living the street lives in South Central Los Angeles so being in that, I got caught up and ended up going to prison ,and eventually ended up getting deported from the United States and landed here in Tijuana, Baja California.
I got deported in October 2009 and like by June 2010 had already opened up my own Tattoo Studio here with the help of my brother and I’ve been here since. You know it’s been a struggle, but tattooing has been the best thing that could ever happen in my life.
Matt: What has tattooing done for your life?
Jose: It inspires me to do a lot of different things on top of the lifestyle that I had when I was in in Southern California that help me and put a big influence in my life also and made me think things different and inspire me into trying to become a good artist. There’s a lot of stereotypes going on about tattooing and gangs in prison and all that stuff but there’s a big difference between all those different things.
I’ve been open for a 9 years now and it’s been it’s been a great experience for me having to meet great artists from all over South America. I can’t travel to the USA anymore, but I get to meet a lot of artists from the States because they come to tattoo conventions here in Mexico. Some of us we travel to South America, and other countries like that and it’s a great experience. Tattooing has become my life, and has been extremely good to me.
I love my work I love what I do and and I love to put a smile on people’s faces and you know there’s been quite a few ups and downs and experiences in my life with that but it’s been a good experience.
Matt: Do you do also other art forms?
Jose: I work in different art forms including airbrushing, oil paint, posters and pen drawing. I use a lot of different media in my art work.
Was there anyone Special who helped you?
Jose: There’s a couple people that have inspired me truly here in Mexico and also in the United States I can name a few of them. Here is a few: Pint , Alan Padilla, Chente Rios, BIg Sleeps, Jose Lopez, and here in Mexico. Federico Ruiz, Javier Benavidez (Evil). Robin Carpio, Buster.
Matt: Anyone you want to thank?
Jose:I would love to thank first and foremost my mother Rosa Armida Alvarez Torrez for always believing in my art and being there through my hardest moments. Second, my big inspiration in tattooing. (pint uno). And everyone in my neighborhood who let me practice on there skin and helped me get better at it.