The sun is out and the palm trees are swaying in the backdrop for The Tattoo Shop. Episode Three opens up with Chris Nunez preparing a big cobra for a side panel on his long-time friend, Brett. While designing the tattoo, Nunez asks Ami James for his input and the artists get talking about the many pros of working side by side with incredibly talented artists. This includes being able to highlight the skills of each individual artist through working collaboration. “...everybody’s got something they’re better at than the other” says Ami. Nunez agrees, “that’s the point of working with your brother.” Once the design has been perfected, the stencil is applied and the artists get to work.
While tattooing, Nunez talks about not only perfecting designs, but creating designs that match the clients. Making sure that symbolism and philosophies merge seamlessly with the finished art piece is part of what makes a great tattoo. Nunez explains that for the particular piece in this episode he was inspired by Ayahuasca, a traditional spiritual medicine with psychoactive effects, the vines of which are thought to represent the spirit of the snake. Keeping that in mind, “It seemed pretty perfect to do a snake for Brett.”
“You have to choose to move on. You have to choose to live.” - Patience Carter
We also got to meet Patience Carter, a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub shooting that happened in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016. She told the incredible and heart wrenching story behind her tattoo and explains, “You have to choose to move on. You have to choose to live.” To memorialize her experience, Nunez creates for her a clean, minimalist heart with a pulse line. They each talk about the therapeutic aspects of tattoos, and how, sometimes, tattoos help us move on.
Jacob Wiman guest spots this week, making a stop in the US all the way from Sweden. He talks about his artistic background, and how growing up watching his father tattoo, he fell in love with the art form. Although his considers the first tattoo he gave to be awful, he says, “It was so much fun I couldn’t stop, ya know? Found my next victim and went at it.” Jacob also talks about his work ethic, and what he finds to be essential to tattooing. “To me, it’s really important to balance the clients request with me enjoying the tattoo and the design so it will come out as something that we both love and enjoy because if I enjoy doing it, they’re gonna enjoy the end result.”
Episode Three wraps up with Nunez revisiting his past and illuminating his present, ”I had this big changing point where I ended up kind of hitting a wall. My health was bad, my relationships were bad, nothing was going well…” Instead of continuing this unhealthy trajectory he turned to spiritual enlightenment, meditation, and a deeper understanding of the world. Although some may have their doubts about his personal beliefs, he explains that his love for his kids and his artwork makes him confident. “Having things like beads, and sage, all this stuff...everybody’s like ‘Oh, it’s hocus pocus’ or whatever. Not for me, you know? It works for me.”
This episode is another example of how clients and tattoo artists, with their personal backgrounds and stories, create the kind of place that’s empowering and special. Tune in next week to Facebook Watch for another in depth look at the inspiring clients, artists, and tattoos that make up The Tattoo Shop.