Today we’d like to introduce you to Zara Solava.
Zara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
After I got my bachelor’s degree in the Arts from Chicago, I moved back home to Los Angeles and stumbled into an apprenticeship opportunity at a tattoo shop. August 2014, everything changed. I was working three other jobs and learning to tattoo. In the tattoo industry you have to pay your dues before you get to tattoo anyone. Once you start tattooing friends and family you feel that initial tattoo rush or high and that’s how I knew I wouldn’t be able to give it up. I did everything I had to advance myself in the industry. Drawing every day, creating a portfolio, cleaning everything in the shop and running errands for the other tattoo artists. After being in the tattoo industry now for six years, I realize that you will always be an apprentice in a lot of aspects. There is always something to learn and the shop always has to stay clean and the client needs to be happy.
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?
I can’t complain too much. I’ve always been a hard worker. If someone asked me to do something at a job, I wouldn’t second guess it, I just knew it needed to be done. I approached tattooing the same way. I did ask questions along the way to get a complete understanding of why certain tattoo artist did things such as set up, technique and after care. Everything I tell my clients is based off my personal experience and what I’ve learned. I would not tell them something I didn’t believe. When I started learning to tattoo, I had a crazy schedule. I would leave the house at 9 am, go to the tattoo shop by 10 am. Doors opened at 12 pm. I had to nanny from 3 pm to 6pm nearby and then head back to the shop to close around 10/11pm. I also had some random photography gigs mixed in. I did this seven days a week but I knew if I put the hours in and learned quickly, I could make this my career and that’s what happened.
Opal Tattoo – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am Opal, a Los Angeles tattoo artist and owner of Opal Tattoo LLC. I currently work out of a shop on Melrose called Through Your Skin. This is the shop I not only learned to tattoo at but I grew up there. I use to come hang out when I was 14 and watch the artist tattoo my older brothers and tried to get as many piercings as possible before I was 18. Working out of a shop on Melrose is a great. Through Your Skin has a great reputation and we work hard. You don’t leave the shop disappointed. My priority is to make sure that my clients have a great, safe and memorable experience with me. I tattoo and pierce but tattooing is my main focus.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moments of my career is every time I see that smile on my client face when the tattoo is complete and they stare at it in the mirror. They get a rush of emotions. Some people cry tears of joy, some turn red and can’t stop smiling and some don’t have many words but I can see in their eyes and body language that they feel more complete. I like being able to provide people with a perminant reminder of their story.
- Tattoo Minimum $120
- Address: 7353 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
- Website: www.opaltattooink.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @opal_tattoo