Tattoo artist Jhon Gutti has been interested in art since he was a child. Tattoos grabbed his interest when he was watching martial arts movies and saw a fighter with a tattoo. He immediately began working on drawings and cartoons, and then get his first tattoo when he was 15.
At 21, Jhon bought his first machine and started practicing; in 2006 he did his very first tattoo. He had a friend who was a tattoo artist and taught him the basics - like how set up and use the machine, how to apply colors, and how to be clean. However, he told us that most of the skills he has now, he developed by studying pictures from artists he admired, "learning how they worked helped me find my own style."
Today, Jhon works at Outer Limits Tattoo in Long Beach, California. Outer Limits opened it's doors in 1927 and is the oldest continuously operated tattoo shop in America and the second oldest in the world!
On working at Outer Limits, he told us, "It's the most amazing place I've ever worked" and that "being surrounded by a lot of amazing tattoo artists makes you challenge yourself everyday." The shop is owned by Kari Barba who Jhon cites as one of the biggest influences in his career, "working alongside her has been such a great experience to me."
Jhon's preferred style to tattoo is realism - color as well as black and grey (although he prefers to work in black and grey). "When the client says 'it looks better than the picture,' that's the best, that's when you realize you did a good job."
Jhon's advice for someone looking to get their first tattoo:
"Be sure of what [you] want, give freedom to the artist to create something cool with [your] idea, and don’t be afraid of it. Plus, check the portfolios— being the first tattoo, you don’t want to be disappointed for the rest of your life."
Jhon's advice for tattoo artists who are just getting started:
"For those who want to pursue tattooing as a career, it is important that they enter it with plenty of passion and respect. Sometimes we want to learn quickly, but in this art you have to do it slowly because it is something that takes a lot of time to do it right and a whole lifetime to perfect it. It is important to realize that you learn new things every day—not just with tattooing, drawing, or painting. It is important to show respect for other artists and find your own style to characterize you personally."