Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Trovador.
Chris, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
From the beginning, I have said yes to all opportunities. Being an only child raised by a strong single mother gave me the resilience to pursue anything I put my mind to. At seventeen years old, I received a scholarship from the First Institute of Recording Arts Sound and Technology, making me the youngest to graduate at that time.
At eighteen, I became interested in the world of tattooing because making music definitely wasn’t earning me any money. Utilizing my skills as an artist allowed me to gain experience in a full-time, purely creative job. I was always influenced by my hilarious grandparents and tried to heal my tattoo clients with humor (through their pain), so it only made sense to begin to shift my interests into comedy in 2012.
I graduated from Sak Comedy Lab in Orlando, Florida (luckily it was right next door to my tattoo shop). The world of Improv Theater gave me the drive and confidence I needed to take my talents to Los Angeles. As a Hispanic-American of Puerto Rican descent, I noticed the comedy scene was severely lacking diversity. This pushed me to create my own plays that reflected personal experiences.
In 2014, I was accepted into the esteemed Director’s Program at The Second City Hollywood. I continued tattooing while performing weekly, directing, and writing my own theater productions. Each year, I strive to obtain a new set of goals that challenge me to help bring a diverse voice into the entertainment industry.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Creating my own opportunities has been my solution to obstacles. I knew none of my career choices would be easy, especially because even my mother didn’t approve. I always trusted that my purpose was bigger than me and worth more than my struggles (and my mother came around).
One of my most difficult challenges was moving to California from Florida. Leaving my friends, family, and a comfortable lifestyle in the city that built my career as a tattoo artist was not easy. The upside to shoving my life into an eighteen-inch suitcase was coming to Los Angeles prepared with a trade in tattooing. This gave me the flexibility and stable income to pursue other creative opportunities.
A lack of inclusivity in comedy and the entertainment industry as a whole has created challenges for me. I am not one to fit into a stereotypical Latino. From a conservative perspective, myself and many others in the Latinx community seem to solely get submitted for roles that are thugs or drug dealers.
A lack of inclusivity in comedy and the entertainment industry as a whole has created challenges for me. I have frequently been cast as thugs or drug dealers based on outdated conventional generalizations, but I never let that discourage me because I refuse to submit to trite stereotypes.
Ironically, I rarely even get cast as a tattoo artist because of a typical preference for Caucasian actors. I chose to create the representation I needed. Gandhi once said to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” I wished to see diverse and unique untold stories, so I had to become a creator for that change.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am my brand, and luckily for me, I love what I do, but things can get complicated for a full-time entrepreneur. My schedule tends to change monthly. Usually, on the weekends, I am a Tattoo Artist at The Electric Pen in North Hollywood. A lot of people tend to ask what do I specialize in and I can never give them a direct answer because I love tattooing. I find that there is a distinct beauty in every style. Tattooing, in general, gives me the challenge to defy the odds on what is possible to create on skin with my art.
During the week it varies, I could be an actor auditioning for a commercial, a model for a clothing company, a director coaching sketch comedy groups, an improviser rehearsing for an upcoming set, producing a variety show, or being a playwright writing out my next play. Then for other ways of income I create logos, flyers, digital or acrylic paintings, I hand paint shoes, bow-ties, jackets and I recently began creating a weekly comic strip on the struggles of being a tattoo artist. Anything in the creative department I try and lockdown. Staying active with strategic scheduling is the key to all my success.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Every day, I crave inspiration as fuel for each of my jobs. I can’t tattoo someone who is going to get a permanent piece of art on them if I am not putting out positive energy. I can’t direct a show and treat actors and crew negatively. I can’t write, teach, or even paint with negative intentions.
All of my jobs are purely creative, so I need to constantly feed a healthy mindset. My routine intentionally consists of listening to positive influences; a lot of those influences have come from the help of my closest friends. It’s a priority for me to listen to positive entrepreneurs and self-help experts on podcasts, YouTube, and social media. It’s simple, but it’s not easy: just use any tools you have.
- $100 for custom shoes (That does not include the shoe itself)
- Custom Bow-ties: $40
- $60 to $100 for Logos/Flyers ( 3 try- system)
- Improv classes are $15 an hour LINK: https://www.meetup.com/VIDAimprov/
- Website: www.trovador360.com
- Email: Christrovador@gmail.com
- Instagram: @Chrisso_art @Tattoo_Comics @Trovador360
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/electric-pen-tattoo-studio-north-hollywood