Anthony Diaz realized when he was just a little kid that he wanted to be some kind of artist, but he didn't really consider tattooing until his coworkers started asking him for tattoos.
"Ever since I was little, I was always drawing," Diaz says. "I always wanted to do art, but I went to a mechanics school. While I was there, the other guys would see me drawing on my papers and started asking me to do tattoos on them."
Diaz admits that his first handful of tattoos might not have been his best, but they were enough to get him interested in tattooing professionally. Just before his 19th birthday, Diaz decided to take an apprenticeship to see where tattooing would lead him.
"That was eight years ago already," says Diaz, who now works at Knucklehead Tattoo & Piercing in Glendale. "It doesn't seem like it though."
Diaz specializes in biomechanical tattoos, a form that many artists don't even dare to touch because of how difficult and complicated it can be. Diaz says that a lot of his pieces are based out of actual mechanics, focusing on the aerodynamics of each piece and how it looks as a whole on the canvas.
"I like how it fits the body," Diaz says. "My tattoos have bold lines and a good saturation of color so it'll last. They have a lot of depth, and the flow is pretty good."
So far, Diaz hasn't entered any big tattoo competitions, but it's something he'd like to do in the future when he has some more sleeves and bigger pieces completed to enter into the contests. For now, Diaz is happy enough with his new Wacom interface that allows him to design everything digitally.
"I don't think I've drawn on paper since I got it," Diaz says. "I can draw something out and then see what it'll look like on a body. It's pretty cool."
What are some of your tattoos? I got my neck and sleeve done by Adrian Dominic [currently at Memoir Tattoo in Los Angeles], which was cool because I learned so much from him just by getting tattooed and asking questions. He's one of the best biomechanical artists, so it was a real learning experience.
What's a memorable tattooing experience you've had? Well, I got my neck tattoo at 20, and it was kind of a big deal because it's my neck. Like I said, that was by Adrian who's world-renowned for his biomechanical style. It was a big inspiration, because I never really liked biomechanical stuff before, but after I saw his I knew it was what I wanted to do.
What's the most important thing to you about a tattoo? Probably that it looks cool and that it lasts. You don't want it to fade out. Bold lines in certain places, too.
What do you look for in an artist or a tattoo shop? Solid work and a strong portfolio. I like saturated colors and deep rich blacks, so that's what I go for. It's also just something unique or something different that I like.
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Would you change anything about your tattoos or tattooing if you could? Every time I do one, like two months to a year later I see it and I don't like it. I'm always like 'Man, I should've done this differently,' but that's just how it is.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to someone getting their first tattoo? Just to do their research and don't get one based on price. Find who is the best in the field they're looking to get. Talk to them and work something out.