Tattoo Apprenticeship: Interview with Tina Mikhealpour
Written by Dianna Khudoyan Photography by Maoqiang Li
Stencils waiting to be picked out by clients
The red and white lights shined brightly through the exterior window and stood out in the mids of closed shops after 6 p.m. Immediately upon walking in, you can hear “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. blasting through the shop. The red walls are covered in artwork and stencils waiting to be picked out by indecisive clients. Everyone instantly smiles the second the door opens and you are greeted with, “Hey, how can I help you?” by an apprentice. Welcoming faces and a vary of designs covering the shop walls areinspiring new art to be put into action. Rich Ink Tattoo and Piercingis Los Angeles’ little hidden secret in the valley for high quality body art.
The shop has many different stations with different lookbooks and types of art scattered around. Tina Mikhaelpour, 19, has been a tattoo apprentice for almost a year and is about to get fully licensed in doing the work she loves. Tina got into the art of tattooing when she got her first one.
From a young age, Tina loved drawing and artwork, every free second she has she would be doodling all over a piece of paper or eventually her arms when she ran out of room.
Edrik Abnous gets Persian Script tattooed by Tina
As a young teenage girl, Tina often gets the question of how her family feels about her taking on this field, where she replies, “My family supports everything I do. As long as I’m safe and happy, they’re happy with me doing something that brings me joy and smiles in life”.
Tina’s mentor, Bryon, goes by his stage name Calavera and has been tattooing for decades and also happens to be an artist at Rich Ink Tattoo & Piercing. “I’m lucky enough to work with an artist that has so much experience and can help me better my technique eventually to the point where I can work as an actual artist alone,” says Tina addressing her relationship with her mentor Calavera.
Tina’s latest client wanted his family name tattooed in his native language on his arm. She had the spelling confirmed by three natives and worked hard to agree on a design with the client.
“At the end of the day, I love what I do, and I love working at this shop because everyone is so supportive and encouraging,” says Tina giving her thoughts on the shop she’s currently working at. The client was very pleased with the artwork he received after she finished.
“It’s definitely a bold move to let an apprentice tattoo you, that’s for sure. But many people don’t understand that an apprentice has already has enough training to make sure they can safely tattoo a person without hurting them, not to mention that their mentor is standing right there, so they can jump in if they need anything. I’m lucky enough to have my friends eager enough to let me tattoo them. I’m actually booked for the next couple of weeks with my friends and fans I’ve made on Instagram,” Tina comments on the process of a tattoo apprenticeship.
Rich Ink Tattoo has a pretty popular Instagram pagewith almost 7,000 followers and a 4.5 star rating on Yelp. Tina’s work is featured on her Instagram page @ti.mikhael. The shop is incredibly clean and offers a pricing sheet for all types of tattoos and piercings upon arrival. Many different artists work in the shop with their different techniques and specialties, with all of their look books not only available in the shop but also tagged onto the shops Instagram Account, @RichInkTattoo.
Rich Ink Tattoo & Piercing Shop Sunday-Saturday, 11:00 am-10:00 pm Address: 13434 Sherman Way North Hollywood, CA 91605 United States Phone Number: +1 (818) 670-8577