Today we’d like to introduce you to Gustavo Jaimes.
Gustavo, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up in Anaheim across the street from Disneyland. I am the middle child who always got into new things that my family just could not understand. Punk and hardcore music, hockey, art, straight edge and tattoos but tattooing really stood out for me. After getting my first one, I fell in love. I remember getting a new one about two weeks later. I was so intrigued by the history and culture but never thought I could do it for a living. I just assumed you had to be born into it one way or another. I started collecting tattoos from local shops and artists that traveled around. I got my first job as a shop helper at the classic tattoo in Fullerton. I ended up learning so much there and truly cherished my job. After all of my work was done, I would draw and paint non stop just trying to learn the process. Eventually, after a few years of working there, I met some friends who had started a new tattoo shop in Anaheim so naturally, I was intrigued. A mutual friend introduced me to them and we got to know each other by hanging out and painting once a week with a bunch of friends who were tattooers or artists in some kind of way. Eventually, 2012 I was offered an apprenticeship at Torch Tattoo and couldn’t be happier. Luckily, I had plenty of friends who were ready to let me practice on them. I was lucky enough to get to do so many fun tattoo ideas. From band/music, hockey, coffee, straight edge, and traditional style tattoo designs. Tattooing has taught me so much and helped me reach goals I never thought were possible. These days, I’m so thankful I get to tattoo so many hockey fans from around the world. It still blows my mind. Tattooing has given so much to me from dong art for one of my favorite lifestyle brands (Violent Gentlemen) to being asked to do artwork the Anaheim ducks, to having my artwork hung up in Disneyland, getting tattooed by a hockey legend, meeting a ton of amazing people, while trying to learn and grow every day. I appreciate everyone who trusts me to do some kind of art for them. It means the world to me.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I’ve always been the kind of person to wear their heart on their sleeves. Being vocal about the things I love has always been important. I have so many hobbies it’s insane. They include photography, making coffee, DJing, painting, record collecting, and hockey. I enjoy engagement with people who share common interests. When I first started getting tattooed I wanted to get a hockey tattoo. I have been a fan since I was 7. So, it was an important tattoo for me. I quickly learned that every shop I went to didn’t want to do it or said they haven’t done that before and weren’t sure how it would come out so It led me to try and draw it myself. It gets great to merge two loves together. Hockey and tattoos. I thought what else could I do? I started combining my love for lyrics, coffee, heritage, music, and straight-edge with tattoo style flash. It gets great to produce something so meaningful and very specific to me. I never would have guessed I would being doing all of these design ideas for other people. This has lead me to branch out from traditional tattoo style designs to doing graphic designs and even some type of style artwork for lifestyle brands, coffee shops, sports teams, and private label companies. I’m very grateful I am given the opportunities to create something for someone who has always had an idea in their head but couldn’t bring it to life themselves. It’s extremely fulfilling. I would love for my art to make people feel a specific feeling when they relate. I love the feeling of when you see something very specific to you and it pulls on your heartstrings. “You just stand and there and think oh wow this person gets it. I have no idea who they are or where they’re from but this, this is what I’ve been looking for”
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist? Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges – financial and otherwise. Any advice for others?
Oh boy, does it ever. As a tattoo apprentice, you make no money besides some tips. I will say it was a crazy grind to try and stay motivated while having the burden of rent, car payment, and overall life experiences but if you keep at it and your aim is true, you will get through. It took me about five years of being a shop helper before the reality of an apprenticeship was even possible but it happened. It will not be easy. You may lose friends, loved ones, and 90% of the sleep you used to get but is it worth it? 100% yes. Anyone that wasn’t the best for you will not leave you in desperate times. Focus on your message and making it the best it can be. Pick up any side work that you can in the meantime but never forget your endgame. Keep going.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Social media is the best way to check out what I’m up to. You can find me on Instagram via @Gusj714. I also have a link in my bio that takes you to my merch store where you can purchase shirts, prints, pins, and more. Thank you.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @gusj714
Gustavo Jaimes, Mike Hammer