There are a handfull of elite tattoo artists in this area, and once a month I will spotlight one of those, using their own words and samples of their work.

Meet Robbie Hernandez:

"I began my tattooing career in the spring of 1995 and it was an exciting time. The popularity of tattoo had exploded; artists were developing mind-blowing techniques never seen before and the medium was finally being respected as a true art form. Tattoo was still a well-guarded art, clean was the name of the game and back then, unlike today, aspiring apprentices weren’t allowed to take any shortcuts.

I was a draftsman for about 25 years so the technical side has always been important to me in hand with the artistic aspect. You have to learn to walk before you can run and in tattoo you have to work hard to build a solid foundation before you can begin to properly apply artistic technique. I have always been influenced by and admired artists like Di Vinci for example, who were technicians and engineers as well as artists, who desired to really understand the mechanics behind things. Bruce Lee said “Seek to understand the root. It is futile to argue as to which single leaf, which design of branch, or which attractive flower you like; when you understand the root, you understand all its blossoming” and I connect with that. One of my favorite books, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance deals with the struggle to fuse these two worlds, the classic and the romantic or better, the technical and the artistic. It also deals with the recognition of quality, which is also very important to me.

Today I feel really fortunate to have been properly apprenticed by some of the best, to have worked with some of the artists I have and to have had the work history I do. The education and experience allows me to naturally connect with my clients, understand them and then really affords a wide repertoire technically and artistically to draw from when creating and executing their designs. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean you’re not always learning, growing and striving. It simply means I’m happy I’ve already come this far and I can bring this to the table for my clients, comfortably. I owe them that for allowing me to what I love to do and trusting me.

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce the upcoming opening of my own studio, 7 Shangri-Las Art Emporium located at 8044B Robin Hill Rd. in Newburgh. On May 12th we will be hosting an arts and craft show with our friend Jamie Gish-Bates to kick things off. She has really worked hard and we really appreciate her. I will also be collaborating with my mentor and long time friend, Jesse Boren of Earthborn fame in a partnership of these studios to diversify our respective art fields and to advance the quality of the tattoo industry as a whole for both clients and artists alike.

In closing I would like to thank GBF for featuring my work and as always to extend a deep gratitude to all my past, present and future clients for all the love and skin."

Find Robbie on Facebook here.