Six Questions with Tattoo Artist Carlos Montiel Jr.

Carlos Montiel of Pain4Pleasure Tattoos

Carlos Montiel of Pain4Pleasure Tattoos

Carlos Montiel runs a small tattoo studio called Pain4Pleasure Tattoos in Azusa, CA, where he’s been tattooing for about seven years.

Carlos has also been riding for about 25 years and he currently owns a 2008 Can Am Spyder. He is a member of Forbidden Kings M.C. and you can typically find him riding in the canyons, on the streets or going the distance to Vegas. “As long as I’m on the road,” he says. “I’m happy.”

Carlos got into tattooing because he has always been into drawing and had friends that tattooed. One day, he showed a friend his work and his friend suggested Carlos pick up a tattoo gun. At that point, Carlos got all his own tattoo equipment and apprenticed under his friend until he was able to tattoo on his own. Read on to find out more about Carlos and life as a tattoo artist.

Pain4Pleasure Tattoo shop flyer.

Pain4Pleasure Tattoo shop flyer.

What did it take for you to become a tattoo artist? 

I practiced a lot before I started tattooing. I was working as a graphic designer at the time, so I had to make time between family, work, riding and traveling. But I just knew i had to do it because it was something i had a passion for. It came easy to me and once I made the time to get started, I was unstoppable.

What do you love about tattooing? 

I love the freedom and the chance to meet new and interesting people. I get bored doing the same thing every day but with tattooing and body piercing, the routine is never the same. I travel around California from San Diego to the bay in Northern Cali. I do a lot of work in Las Vegas as well.

What are your favorite types of tattoos to do? 

I like to do color tattoos but I’ll do all kinds. All I care about is that the customer is happy with the finished tattoo.

Any crazy stories about a tattoo you’ve done? 

This guy wanted his last name down his back. It was going to be a big tattoo. I warned him that it was going to hurt and that he should think about it, but he insisted on moving forward. About half way through the tattoo, he tapped out and never came back to finish. Every time I see him, I ask him when he’s going to finish the tattoo and he just says ‘I should have listened to you. It hurt.’

Carlos on his Can Am Spyder.

Carlos on his Can Am Spyder.

How do you think your passion for riding and tattoos are related to each other?

Just like tattooing, I get out there and meet new people all the time. I don’t like to blend into the crowd. That’s why I have a Can Am that’s customized. It represents me and and my work.

If you could a spend a day riding or a day tattooing, which would it be and why? 

This is a hard question to answer, so I’ll just say this: I would take a ride out to Vegas early in the morning, which would be a good three to four hour ride. Then I’d go to work on some tattoos and piercings for the next six to seven hours then hit the night life to end my night!

Femmewalla: A Bunch of Chicks on Fast Bikes

Femmewalla 2012 group shot. Olay!

Femmewalla 2012 group shot. Olay!

Giggling through the bowl at Chuckwalla

Giggling through the bowl at Chuckwalla

So I attended my one and only track day this year at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway for the Femmewalla event. More than 52 ladies showed up and all money made from raffle tickets, track day fees, photos, tires and suspension services were donated to the Unforgettables Foundation, an organization that provides burial assistance for parents who have lost children. Jason Pridmore track instructors were there to give some advice as well and Jason Pridmore provided two-up rides for the ladies to find out just how low you can go.

Despite some cold weather and patchy grey clouds, it was a great day to ride and the track was in primo condition. The first session was kinda sketchy, as it was still wet since it rained the night before. It was like riding around on ice and the back tire would not stick coming out of the corners. But once the water dried up, it was balls, or should I say boobs (?) to the walls. There were some very fast Chuckwalla Valley Racing Association (CVMA) and AMA road racers out there, among them Christin Voros, Sofia Amadio, Krystyna Kubran, Melissa Paris and others.

I felt rusty and out of shape, but boy did it feel awesome to feel the g’s at mach WFO through the bowl. I had a great time.

I was lucky to have my loving husband Sal with me and to spend time with my friends Jenn and Pete Jaynes from M1 Sportriders, Jorie and Jerry Starr, Jenn Bauer and Janet Wang. Can’t wait to see what happens with next year’s event. At the end of the day, we even got a free ride around the track in a Ford Shelby GT Mustang. Epic!

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It rained like hell when we arrived the night before. Everything was wet. Luckily, Jorie and Jerry brought their camper so we didn’t have to sleep in the freezing cold. We were thankful as we listened to the rain pound on it all night long.

I installed a light, Lithium battery on my Dad's gixxer 1K that's about half the size of the stock battery. Normally, I have no problems, but it did not like the cold. At least we got our morning work out in. Thanks Jenn and Pete for the bump start!

I installed a light, Lithium battery on my Dad’s gixxer 1K that’s about half the size of the stock battery. Normally, I have no problems, but it did not like the cold. At least we got our morning work out in. Thanks Jenn and Pete for the bump start!

From left to ride: Me, Janet, Jenn and Jorie.

From left to ride: Me, Janet, Jenn and Jorie.

This is Oliver Kho's dog. It could also be mistaken for a pony. Anyway, this guy had drool that would make 'Hooch' jealous. Yummy.

This is Oliver Kho’s dog. It could also be mistaken for a pony. Anyway, this guy had drool that would make ‘Hooch’ jealous. Yummy.

Coolest camping chair ever. I called it the throne. Jenn and I took advantage of the rare sunshine and lounged like lizards in this chair to absorb the warmth.

Coolest camping chair ever. I called it the throne. Jenn and I took advantage of the rare sunshine and lounged like lizards in this chair to absorb the warmth.

Where else will you ever see a tutu at the track?

Where else will you ever see a tutu at the track?

Janet rode on the back with Jason Pridmore a whopping three times. We practically had to peel her off the back seat at the end of the day. But Jason didn't seem to mind.

Janet rode on the back with Jason Pridmore a whopping three times. We practically had to peel her off the back seat at the end of the day. But Jason didn’t seem to mind.

Jenn and I posing for the camera in the hot pit lane, about to lay down some hot laps, or warm ones. But who cares.

Jenn and I posing for the camera in the hot pit lane, about to lay down some hot laps, or warm ones. But who cares.

Me and Jenn in the bowl. Good times! Photo by CaliPhotography

Me and Jenn in the bowl. Good times! Photo by CaliPhotography

Dec-14-2012-Femmewalla A Group Bowl RG__3847

My leathers are about seven years old now. They were made by Bates Leathers in Long Beach. Best investment I ever made. I love them.

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The highlight of my day was getting a few laps around Chuckwalla in my dream car, a Shelby GT Mustang. I had a grin from ear to ear. The guys were jealous of us girls getting escorted around in style. It was great.

Five Questions with Tina Sulano

“I think riding and tattoos are similar because like a tattoo, your bike is an expression of who you are.” 

Tina with her Ninja 250R

Tina with her Ninja 250R

 

Tina dressed in 50's style

Tina dressed in 50’s style

Tina is a tattoo artist and motorcycle rider who lives in Roxbury, New Jersey. Here are some of her thoughts about riding and tattooing.

What is it about body ink that fascinates you and how does it inspire you as an artist?

Tattoos are fascinating because it’s something that is forever (well almost). People can express themselves through tattoos as well as remember a certain time or honor a certain person in their life. Everyone seems to have a story for their tattoos, more so now that it has gone so main stream. I like being a part of their story. My customers inspire me, and my main goal is to make them happy. I want to make sure I can create the image they have in their head. When I see their eyes light up when they see the final result, I’m happy.

Do you prefer to do color or black and grey tattoos? Why?

Me, personally, I like both. I have mostly black and grey for the soul purpose that it matches everything you wear. I enjoy doing color tattoos because you can really make things “pop,” especially if the tattoo is a decent size and the customer is willing to let me do my thing and add my touch. They still get what they want, but there are some things that can be done to make color look so much better. I enjoy doing black and grey tattoos because I know even after baking in the sun for a couple years it will still look pretty good. Just remember, sun block is your friend people!

What’s the most fascinating story you’ve heard about a tattoo so far?

I have heard so many stories I can’t pick just one off the top of my head. I have tattooed a whole family because they lost someone close to them – a 24-year-old that died of lung cancer. Most of the stories I remember are the ones about loosing a family member because they touch my heart more than anything

With tattoos being more accepted, do you think it is more difficult for artists to continue to create something unique? 

The creation comes from the clients head, I help elaborate but it’s pretty much their idea. There is still people that come in and pick a picture off the wall, but now it’s searching google and printing a tattoo that is already on someone else’s body. I try to draw something original for each person and I toss my drawings when I’m done. I don’t want anyone to copy something I already did. Even though I know how easy it is for people to print a picture of one of my tattoos and bring it somewhere, I would just hope the artist is kind enough to draw their own version of it. I don’t think it’s difficult to make something unique because each customer has their own image, as long as their not “picking off the wall”.

It is definitely more competitive now than when I started over 12 years ago.  There was three local shops back then, and now there is at least 12 shops in a 20-mile radius. With the way the economy is right now it’s tough for people to spend their money on something like a tattoo because it’s not something you need to have, it’s something you want. Some people make the mistake of shopping around for the cheapest price. About one percent of the customers that walk in the door ask to see my portfolio. I know some of them searched for the shop online and saw my work on the website, but that’s usually just the younger crowd. If customers went by what’s in your portfolio there wouldn’t be any competition, especially in my area.

Why do you love riding and why do you love tattoos? 

I love riding for the freedom. It’s like an escape from reality. I love tattoos because it makes me money and I make people happy. I think riding and tattoos are similar because like a tattoo, your bike is an expression of who you are. They both make people happy.