A long time ago, in a land far far away…. called Chicago Town. It was the early 90’s. I was always a rebellious sort of kid, never really accepted by any of the “clicks” of high school. So I found my drawn into a different type of culture. I hung out with the Punkers, rejects and the outcasts of the high school social hierarchy. I myself adopted the skater lifestyle and with it, all the finer aspects of life. Music, art and a general sense of where I belonged. Now skateboarding has always had an influence on tattooing and vise-versa, at least for as long as I’ve been a part of both. That being said, it wasn’t long before I had my first tattoo. 15 years old to be exact. It was cool, it was edgy and it was the taboo of proper society, just like skateboarding was. I was hooked. Soon after with a “ I can do that shit” type attitude, I fabricated a make shift rotary machine out of a cassette deck motor, mechanical pencil and some #10 sewing needles, I was on my way. Eventually I made my way into a Pro set up from Huck Spaulding and met a few people over the years that helped along the way. Still far from career worthy.
Years later and a few states away, while I was helping a friend run his bar I met the man that would catapult my ass into tattooing full time. That man was Jedidiah Reid. I put in my time as an apprentice for about two and a half years and I’d like to think I was a damn good one. We shared many ups and downs as we built a shop up from the ground and again to rebuild the shop after an electrical fire. As we both grew in our abilities we also grew apart. Eventually I partnered up with a Sign Painter/Tattooer named Dan Barnett. We had worked together with Jedi at Element Tattoo. We both came to the realization the it was time to move on. Now, in San Antonio Texas ,Element was the top shop in town and to go to a lesser shop wasn’t an option so the only thing to do was to build what was yet to exist. Low and behold in 2009 Fortune Brothers Tattoo Co. was born.
To fast forward a bit, currently FBTC is solely owned by myself. Dan left a few years back because that was the path best for him and his wife. The shop has grown by leaps and bounds over the last ten years and with it my abilities as a Tattooer and business owner. Always on the look out to better improve the shop and myself, there’s always something new. My tattooing has evolved over the years from the flash rack bammers to full sleeves and back pieces. Best known for carving out my own niche as a proficient cover-up guy. Aside from that I really enjoy Japanese, American Traditional and Illustrated/ Anime type tattoos. Actually I enjoy all tattooing. I really feel what we do is special, regardless of being in the mainstream, it has always been sort of magical in a sense.
It’s very gratifying to help a client with a concept when you can see the frustration as they grasp at ideas, trying to purvey an emotion or significant happening. I’d like to say I’m really good at picking a clients brain and creating imagery that captures that thing they’re trying to externalize. Some days I might be the closest thing they’ve got to a therapist, LOL!
All kidding aside, I love Tattooing, I love my shop, my staff, clients and all the rad people I’ve met along the way. Tattooing has always come through for me. Provided for my family, helped through the turbulent waters of life and even brought me to Faith. It keeps you humble if you let it. At the end of the day, the best thing I’ve taken away from Tattooing is this…….
“ You get out of it what you put into it. “ As in many areas of life, but especially in Tattooing. ~Robert
I’m often asked “ how long have I been Tattooing? “ Well, that’s a multi faceted answer. Over all, since 1991. Not so professionally, since 2005 and professionally as my full time career, since 2007.