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This months Artist Spotlight shimmers down on J Trip, resident body art master at Funhouse Tattoo: International Guesthouse. We sat down with J and picked his brain on a couple things to see how his creative mind works. Check out the interview below. 

Questions: Every artist has taken a journey to get where they are. Can you briefly walk us through yours and how you got to this point in time?

My dad taught how me to tattoo. I grew up in tattoo shops. He opened his first shop when I was 7 and I did my first tattoo (on him) on my thirteenth birthday. By sixteen, I was helping him run the shop while he opened a second location. And when I was eighteen I helped him open a third location. A few years later at twenty-two, I opened up my own shop and it was really a big moment for me. After a few years, I sold it and took my craft on the road and spent a year or so tattooing in different places. It was an awesome journey and met some pretty incredible people. It was on that adventure that I met the Funhouse tattoo family and did what I could to help build what has become the International Guesthouse, where I’m working as the manager of the shop. And there you have it!”

Questions: It’s been said that art is 1% an idea and 99% effort to follow through with that idea. Do you find this is the case when you create new designs?

No, not at all. The nature of body art is that once it’s created, following through is all up to the client. Almost my entire job is to help my clients crystallize their ideas into viable concepts for body art they had envisioned. Every piece is designed specifically for the one client who commissioned it and will wear it. Every detail is worked out ahead of time. By the time we get to the follow-through, my job is all but done. It’s then all up to the client to maintain the mental fortitude needed to complete the piece.”

Question: What do you think was the biggest inspiration for cultivating your unique style?

Aside from my father, nature has been the biggest influence on me. I make most of my decisions based on the knowledge I’ve compiled throughout my life on how skin reacts, heals, and ages. I take the lessons were passed down and experienced first-hand and use them as guidance and inspiration. The rest, I base on the way human anatomy flows, in terms of the way elements of a landscape flow, to create a whole from many parts.”

Question: Can you tell us about the Holocene project?

There have been 5 major extinction events in the history of the planet. Most famous, the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs, was The K-T extinction. We are currently part of the sixth, known as The Holocene Extinction. It is being caused primarily by humans. Habitat loss and climate change are driving as many as 70% of the planet’s species into endangerment, and have already resulted in hundreds of species going extinct. The Holocene Project is my attempt to tattoo as many of our beautiful, Earthly co-habitators as possible before we lose them all and hope to spread awareness. Each piece is marked with an hourglass in some way, to symbolize the dwindling time of the species, and becomes a conversation starter for the client. Any time the hourglass prompts a question, they get to explain why they chose the species they wear, and how it became endangered. I use my experience and knowledge in tattooing in hopes of creating a platform to help people talk about the effects we are having on the environment and what we might do to help save our planet.”


Question: Being a professional artist comes with a fair amount of challenges. How do you balance your career as a tattoo artist and all the other aspects of your life?

I’m lucky enough to have a very supportive wife. She allows me to focus solely on the things that make me a better tattoo artist and supports me on almost everything else. Without her, I don’t think I’d have a good balance at all.”

Question: What are the things you enjoy most about working at Funhouse Guesthouse?

The constant variety of people is definitely what made me want to stay here. The artists we have here are among the most talented I’ve ever worked with, and it’s definitely the most diverse group. The clients come from all over the world with all kinds of motivations and ideas. “Dull” doesn’t exist here! That, and San Diego weather..”

Question: What is your favorite spot to eat at in San Diego?

Costa Brava, right here on Garnet in Pacific Beach! Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!”

Question: Where can people learn more about your artwork and what’s the best way to get in touch with you?

@JTrip360 is my Instagram. That’s definitely the easiest place to see my work and shoot me a message. Or you can reach out to me through the website on my artist page. Come check out my work!”

You can visit J Trip’s artist page to see all of his latest and greatest works on body art and to reach out if you’d like to schedule a free consultation.