Today we’d like to introduce you to Goonies Ulloa.
Goonies, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been tattooing for nine years, 7 of those years have been at Old Towne Tattoo Parlor. I apprenticed at a small shop in Fullerton called Sleepy Lagoon Tattoo. My apprenticeship was pretty standard; food/supply runs, hovering artists, cleaning, and some good old fashioned hazing. As part of my learning experience, I wasn’t allowed to tattoo anyone unless I tattooed myself first, resulting in a very crooked bow on my ankle that I attempted to “fix” shortly after. My brother and sister helped me buy my first machine when I was given the ok to start practicing on friends (a huge thank you to those poor friends haha). I worked at a couple of shops between then and Old Towne and picked up styles and techniques from a wide variety of artists along the way, from Chicano black and gray to American traditional.
I definitely couldn’t have gotten to where I am without the never ending support from my family. My mom, brother and sister have been super encouraging throughout my career from the beginning and it definitely helped me tremendously. Momma Goons doesn’t have tattoos, she doesn’t even curse, but I live for the times I visit her and she scans me up and down and goes “quando agarraste este? Te dolio?”
Has it been a smooth road?
I think any tattoo artist can tell you it wasn’t easy to get to where they are now. We all have some horror stories, some worse than others. I remember during my apprenticeship, driving home at night crying out of frustration, getting yelled at, or being told I was never gonna make it in the industry, only to wake up and do it all over again the next day. But I knew it was what I wanted and no one was gonna tell me otherwise. It accidentally turned into a lesson on how to take the good with the bad and let it light a fire under my ass so I can crank out cool tattoos. The industry is a lot like getting a tattoo; if it were easy, everyone would do it and it definitely isn’t for everyone.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I have a hard time sticking to one specific style, I tend to blend different kinds together when I’m indecisive, and, weirdly enough, I feel like that’s what caught a lot of my clientele’s attention over the years. But I do love traditional the most. Bold will hold!
It’s very hard to stick to a style when you work with nine other artists, all with their own style. If you walk into the shop and skim through the portfolios, you can tell apart a Thea Warden piece from a Paul Reza without batting an eye and I love it. The growth and dynamic at Old Towne is, not only my favorite, but a lot of our clients’ as well, and I think that’s very important in a shop. We all walk around and hover each other during tattoos, talk and joke with each other’s clients, and help each other out. It’s home away from home.
Shout out to Paul Reza, Tiffany Hüber, Nathan Yoon, Amanda Armstrong, Medea Castruita, Jeff Riley, Thea Warden, Mike Ortiz, and Chelsea Jane! Look them up, you won’t be disappointed.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I love Old Town Orange. If you’ve never been to the Circle, it’s worth the trip. Almost everything worth seeing in the area is at least a couple freeway exits of each other. There’s always something going on nearby. It’s a great places to start out, there are people everywhere. A gift and a curse sometimes, but it would be hard to not be able to build a business here.
- Address: Old Towne Tattoo Parlor
722 W Chapman Ave
Orange ca 92868
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @Ohmy_gooniesIG: @oldtownetattooparlor