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Rising Stars: Meet Highbie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Highbie.

Hi Highbie, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’m a tattoo artist who owns BadHands LA tattoo shop in Korea Town. I’m from Japan and I moved to Los Angeles in 2005. Eventually, I discovered my passion for tattooing. Beforehand, I was working in the entertainment industry, and while I was working there, I became inspired by artists in the industry. I was seeing so many people with tattoos, and I wasn’t used to seeing that in Japan. It was so fascinating that I became inspired.

I did an apprenticeship for a year at a tattoo shop while also working at a sushi restaurant. After I finished the apprenticeship, I started only working in a tattoo shop. It took a while to build up my clientele, but eventually, I had enough clientele to open my first shop called TRA ink, which stands for True Real Artist. After two years, I got an offer from Bad Hands to open a shop with them in Los Angeles called Bad Hands LA.

Ever since I became a tattoo artist, it has given me the opportunity to express my art, and it gives me the chance to care about quality. Tattoos are permanent, and here at BadHands LA, we want to give people the best quality tattoos.


最初は知り合いのタトゥーショップで一年修行をして、後に色々なお店でゲストワークをしながらお客さんを作る事に長い時間がかかりましたが自分のお店が開けれるようになり、TRA inkをオープン。

オープンして2年後には、Bad Handsからのオファーでロサンゼルスに店を一緒に開ける事になりました。それからは、自分の芸術を上質的に表現できるお店を経営させていただいてます。

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It was a struggle actually. I started off working in a rough area, and I had to deal with ruffian type people. One of the major things I had to deal with was someone coming into the shop with a weapon on them during a consultation. I would have to ask them to leave their weapon elsewhere. This was challenging for me because it never happened in Japan. The experience made me stronger because they actually supported my work too, and a lot of them became lifelong friends. I really appreciate that part of my life because they helped me grow.

As for the challenges right now, I would say the biggest challenge is myself. I always want to learn new styles of tattooing and I want to learn different art types. So, I’m constantly challenging myself to become better and better.



Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As a tattoo artist, I am known for high-quality, clean artwork. Also, I specialize in the style of traditional, realistic, and colorful tattoos. I specialize in piercings as well. I am most proud of how far I have gotten as a tattoo artist because it has been a long journey. I believe what sets me apart from others are my clean customized tattoos.


Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
First of all, for those who are first starting out, it is best to do research about tattoos, from traditional to new style. I suggest you learn about drawing and practice a lot because practice increases your skills. If you are really serious about it, then pull up to BadHands LA.


Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Photos by IG: @yksfoto IG: @stoneshoot1979 Workers IG: @highbie IG: @inkbarbie94 IG: @iam_mmm

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