EXPOSED: Jesse Gabriel, who works at Halo Tattoos
Every week here, you’ll be introduced to someone who’s somehow intriguing. This person might have an unusual profession or an odd hobby, and whoever it is can be found around campus or downtown.
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Profession: Tattoo-artist at Halo Tattoos
Jerk Magazine: What is the most memorable tattoo you’ve done here at Halo?
Jesse Gabriel: I did a girl who wanted her boyfriend’s nickname tattooed on her lower-back and his nickname was Jizz. I wish I was kidding. I asked her: “His name is Jizz?” She was like “Yeah.” Whatever they want me to do, I’ll do.
JM: A lot of people with tattoos say tattoos are addicting. Why do you think they say that?
JG: I think it has to do with getting over the fear of getting a tattoo. I think people that have one tattoo actually want multiple tattoos because they obviously like the way tattoos look. So once you get over having your first tattoo, getting your second tattoo is easier.
JM: What advice do you have for people who want a tattoo but don’t know what they want?
JG: Get something you like. Look around at other tattoos, figure out what shop you want to get it done at, check out portfolios and just get stuff you like. Don’t worry about what it means, just get stuff you like looking at because in the end, you got to look at it. So if you like roses, awesome. If you like skulls, awesome. If you like monster trucks, awesome. Get those tattooed on you because that tattoo of the tribal symbol from some country you liked when you’re 18 probably won’t mean anything to you when you’re 38.
You change over time. But if you like roses, you’ll like roses when you’re 80. The thing with a tattoo is go for visual first and meaning second. It’s like when you’re getting dressed or decorating; you don’t think about what it means. When you’re looking at a tattoo, you think about what it looks like.
JM: How long have you been working at Halo?
JG: Four years.
JM: How did you get into being a tattoo-artist?
JG: I got out of college – I got my bachelor’s like I was supposed to – and I knew I wanted to be a tattoo artist so I came here (Halo) and I worked as a counter-person. I worked as a counter-person for two years, full-time, on top of another full-time job, an 80 hour week. Then I became an apprentice. When my apprenticeship ended, I became a tattooer. My apprenticeship lasted 18 months. So it was probably about three-and-a-half years (training). You start at the bottom, at the counter, and work your way up.
JM: How did you know this is what you were passionate about?
JG: Because I worked here for two years without getting paid and still wanted to do it. There was nothing else I wanted to be. I’m fortunate enough to do what I do but it’s through hard work and dedication. There’s two things in my life, my fiancé and tattoos, and that’s pretty much all I care about.
JM: What do you do when business is slow?
JG: I draw. We read, we draw, we wait for business.