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Fit to Become a Tattoo Artist? Here's Advice From an Experienced Tattoo Artist From Montebello

Updated on January 30, 2020
ViieraMonica profile image

I'm a writer living in Los Angeles. In this article I discuss the craft of tattooing with Greg Millan.

Interview with Experienced Tattoo Artist Greg Millan from Carpe Diem in Montebello

It's interesting to note just how much tattooing has taking off in the past few years. Although it is still quite taboo in some industries/parts of the world, for the most part, this particular art form adorned on one's body has become a lot more acceptable in the United States. I myself have gotten over forty tattoos and have had the luxury to experience different kinds of tattoo artists. Over the years, I have come to favor Greg Millan, owner of Carpe Diem in Montebello, simply because his style and abilities have such a large range. Greg Millan agreed to a Q and A regarding what it takes to become a successful tattoo artist. Although there are many tattoo artists out there, it's a lot harder than it looks.

Me: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your own experience when it comes to tattoos. When did you start tattooing?

Greg Millan: I started tattooing around 1999 in Pico Rivera, California. I was inspired by the first tattoo I got when I was 16 in a garage.

Me: So from your experience, what is it that makes a good tattoo artist?
GM: The best tattoo artists that I know are humble hard working, open to suggestions and willing to grow at every point of their career. I see younger tattoo artists who have been tattooing for two years talking about my apprentice is on his way! It's ridiculous. you are not a real professional until you have been tattooing in a shop for at least five years. The reason being is you just wont know what your work looks like when its healed and worn for a while!

Me: That makes sense. What are some of the wrong reasons that people get into tattooing?
GM: I see way too many people trying to get into tattooing because its “cool”, or they want to be on “Ink masters” lol. If you want to be a rockstar, pick up a guitar or a bass. if you are ok with forsaking everything just to tattoo, than you can make it.

Me: What advice would you give to artists out there that are considering a career in tattooing?
GM: Find a reputable shop, and get yourself an apprenticeship. Don't think its gonna be easy because its not. Research the tattoo artists that came before you. Take some art classes and work hard.

Me: Who influenced you in tattooing?

GM: There are are so many Jack Rudy, Charlie Cartwright, Mike Brown, Frank Ball, Norman “Salor Jerry” Collins, Tommy Montoya, Chente Rios, Cory Miller, Chris Garver, Clay Decker, Eric Maaske. The list can go on and on. So
many dierent styles. Old timers and New tattooers all have something to oer and can be learned from.

Me: What made you choose to become
a tattoo artist?
GM: I was always doing artwork for people to take to shops and get my artwork tattooed on them. My little sister said to me one day, “why don't you just tattoo it on them”? Fate led me to Lou “Bone” Salinas from art to the bone and Frank Ball. Those two guys have changed my life and given me a career. For that I am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL.

To learn more about what it takes to become a tattoo artist, come over to Carpe Diem in Montebello to get a tattoo and ask for Greg Millan. Every once in a while he is open to an apprenticeship. If you liked this article regarding becoming a tattoo artist, stay tuned for more in the series!

Visit Greg at Carpe Diem!

874 1/2 N Garfield Ave, Montebello, CA 90640:
874 1/2 N Garfield Ave, Montebello, CA 90640, USA

get directions

Interested in visiting Carpe Diem and meeting Greg? Here's the address and phone number. 323-477-1666.


So if you're interested in becoming a tattoo artist, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. Make sure you are doing it because you want to expand your artistry and cover other people with amazing art. If you're interested in an apprenticeship at a tattoo shop to see if it's something you could really do, call your local tattoo shop and ask if they could use an apprentice. There's sometimes a high turnover rate, since not many people are cut out to be SERIOUS tattoo artists, so you'll probably find a great opportunity.


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