WORK BY BRIAN GALLOWAY
Years Tattooing: 16
Specialty: Traditional Japanese
Worked at: Irezumi in Kansas City for 15 years and
Body Graphics in Philadelphia for 1 year
Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped- turned upside down.
I’d like to take a minute to inhale the succulent aroma
and then I’ll tell you how I ended up tattooing in Arizona.
Born in New Jersey, but Kansas City is where I was raised.
On a skateboard, was where I spent most of my days.
Chillin’ out maxin’, relaxin’ all cool.
Doing a bunch of kick-flips outside of the school.
When a couple of friends that were doin’ real good
started making tattoos in my neighborhood.
I got one little tat and I was changed right then.
So, I put down the skateboard and picked up the pen.
After eight years of art school and time off to play,
I got an apprenticeship at Irezumi,
where I was taught the old ways.
Mixing pigment, making needles, and tuning machines…
I practiced drawing everything to make sure my lines were real clean.
Fifteen years later, I needed space to grow.
Irezumi was great, but progression started to slow.
So we moved our family to Philly to start all over again,
where I could learn some new techniques and make some new friends.
After one year in the city, we learned it wasn’t right for us.
My wife suggested mountains and storms made of dust.
I made up my mind and packed up the house,
and moved to the desert with my kids and my spouse.
Well, the plane landed and when we came out
there was a dude who looked like a cop standing there with our name out.
We’re not trying to get arrested, we just got here.
We sprang with the quickness like lightning, disappeared.
We whistled for a cab and when it came near,
the license plate said “FRESH” and it had dice in the mirror.
If anything, I could say that this cab was focused.
But I thought, “Nah, forget it. Yo holmes! To Black Lotus!”
We pulled up to the shop around 7 or 8,
and I yelled to the cabbie, “Yo holmes! Smell ya later!”
The shop was filled with talent and it holds a great persona.
And, now I’m proud to work at the best shop in Arizona.