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Day Of The Dead Tattoos
Transplanted Culture Shock
Tulsa, Oklahoma is my hometown. I grew up there, went to High School and have decades of memories that will last a lifetime.
In 2006, I uprooted and moved to Pasadena, California for a better climate, stronger church community and an opportunity to "shuffle the deck", focus on my health and take care of me, for a change.
Culture shock wouldn't be the appropriate term for what I've experienced. I think of the scene in the Matrix where Keanu Reeves is learning skills programs at incredible rates.
The Hispanic population is the majority here and in my opinion, this makes everything better. The food, culture, art and music that exists in the City of Angeles is my new soundtrack and I love it.
Due to the enormous size of Mexico and the other countries that make up Central and South America, the culture that I experience in Los Angeles is completely different than what I get back in Tulsa. I've been told that the culture is based on the regions and everything is different.
For example, Los Angeles prides itself on Baja/Coastal styles of cooking. Food is cooked fresh to order, fish tacos are the rage and black beans seem to be preferred. In Tulsa, the cuisine is more Tex-Mex/Sonoran, which is a different style altogether.
(All Images and Photos are used with permission and appear courtesy of Ink Shop Tattoo)
One of the things I noticed in my first year of residency in Pasadena was that shooting fireworks off on the 4th of July is a bad idea because the ground is so dry and major fires kick in, as a result.
Another thing that perplexed me was the fact that Halloween was much more celebrated than Christmas.
In the spirit of trying to figure out why Halloween was so popular, neighbors began telling me about the Day Of The Dead.
Evidently, in the Latino community, Day Of The Dead is celebrated from October 31st to November 2nd. The closest thing that America has to Day Of The Dead would be Memorial Day weekend.
The major difference is that the Dead celebrations focus on remembering their deceased family members, friends and neighbors, while Memorial Day pays tribute to our fallen war veterans that fight for our right to be free.
Many smaller cities in and around the greater Los Angeles area have parades and festivals that promote the weekend.
Some of the yard setups are really intricate and I'm amazed at how detailed they can get.
The thing that inspires me most about living in Los Angeles is the daily exposure to different cultures. My neighborhood has a high concentration of Armenian groceries, restaurants and shops.
There is a Korean, Filipino, Russian, Ethiopian and dozens of other neighborhoods that have been given the "Little" title. I could visit these areas 7 days a week for a year and still wouldn't get all of the exposure there is out there. The diversity is so fun to experience.
In Pasadena, Angelenos celebrate Day Of The Dead in grand style and I would say that this is much more celebrated than Christmas. It took me a few months to wrap my head around this idea, but I'm enjoying it more as I continue to live here.
The sadness that comes, when you lose a loved one is sometimes unbearable. Paying tribute to a fallen friend is the ultimate thing one could do, in my opinion. If anything, the tattoo gives comfort to the soul by knowing that the person is always with them in spirit.
Besides the ornately decorated yards, elaborate costumes and amazing food vendors, the most intriguing thing, for me, are the Day Of The Dead Tattoos!
I've always had a lot of respect for people that seek to be masters at their craft and occupations like Auto Mechanics, Tattoo Artists, Barristas, Master Chefs, Mixologists, Hair Stylists, Plumbers and Artisan Ice Cream Makers, just don't get the props or credit they deserve.
Several of my friends sport amazing tattoos. Some of these are made with colored inks, while others are black and white varieties with gray scale shading.
One day, I asked my friend who he used to get tattoos and he told me about this artist named Mike Moya. I'm always looking for interesting topics to write about here on Hubpages and other sites and wanted to try and give these amazing works of art some sort of justice.
As it turned out, Mike worked at a place called Ink Shop Tattoo in Arcadia. Pasadena is only 15 minutes away, so after talking to Mike, I decided to swing by and get a tour.
Admittedly, I don't ever plan on getting a tattoo, but learning about the process I found to be interesting and wanted to share it online.
The shop is owned by an artist, named Johnny Quintana. If you are into the tattooing community, some of you will have heard of him. He's one of the best Day Of The Dead Tattoo Artists in the country and has a crew that specializes in all sorts of tattoos.
The Ink Shop Crew
His shop features a crew of amazing artists that all seem to have their own flair and style.
I'm including samples of some of their handiwork to give you a sneak peak at the detail that goes into these tattoos.
I can't even imagine how long they would take to create or the pain that goes into the ink permanently going into the skin. I would probably need a fifth of whiskey to masque the pain!
I'm still learning about tattoos, the process and why people get them, but I better understand now why people sport them with pride.
My friends talk about their tattoos often and I never really understood the concept, until I got a tour of the shop and understood just how much skill goes into this craft.
The Ink Shop Tattoo Crew consists of Johnny Quintana, Natalie Quintana, Freddy Robles, Mike Moya, Marc Moya, Big Danny Lopez and Anthony Davis.
Any tattoo parlor worth their salt is going to be able to put together anything you can dream up.
Some of the designs that they showed me were not just Day Of The Dead. Religious, Caricature, Aztec, California Tattoos and pretty much anything else you can dream up.
I could easily see some of these designs on T-Shirts or clothing apparel.
I'm not sure I can do this topic much justice, but I wanted to try and show you some of the great artwork that these guys/gals are creating every day of the week.