Another very young tattoo artist

I’ve seen so many kids tattooing their friends and family, either directly, or even just having their drawings applied that I almost think I need to dedicate a section to it. Brett and Mike went on weekend trip, and Brett got a tattoo from a diminutive source… He writes,

“My friends Bob and Joy Roughton were at the show — I used to work with Bob down in Newport Beach and in Pico Rivera for a while. I was at their wedding, and have known their son Kai since his birth. I knew Kai had tattooed his name on Bob about two years ago, but when I got to the show on Friday I found out he was preparing to tattoo his uncle Al. I joked around with him about what his hourly rate was and all that stuff, and was really impressed with his maturity. I started honestly considering getting tattooed by him. Of my friends that I’ve made since being in California, the Roughtons/Garcias have been a few of the dearest. We don’t see each other often because they moved up to Oregon, but I would definitely put them on my list of trustworthy family. I just didn’t have a clue what I would get tattooed by Kai if I did let him do it.

As the weekend progressed I met some nice folks from Hayward, CA that work at a shop called Black Wing. They were all a lot of fun to hang out with, and for a while our whole booth took turns playing with their children Lili and Jens. They had a big bag of prehistoric animals and I kept thinking about how the sabertooth cats actually resembled a werewolf head I used to draw as a small child. By the end of the weekend I decided that was the image Kai would tattoo. It was a lot of fun, and his parents did as much as they could to not stifle Kai’s natural ability. That is of course a very kind way of saying my tattoo is extremely shaky and looks like a character from the squiggle-vision cartoon Dr. Katz. But come on people, do you think I expected a six year old to tattoo clean lines with a machine that weighs almost as much as him? Hahaha. I had Kai sign the piece and paid him for his work — I had found out that back home someone broke into their car and stole his video games, and thought maybe this would help replace one or two. Lots of people got video and photos and I entered the piece in Tattoo of the Day context just so Kai could get a little recognition and feel special. He’s a really awesome kid — so much so that the promoters made a special ‘Best tattoo by an artist under twelve’ category which of course he won, being the only one present that fit the criteria.”

I like Mike’s facial stripe as well!


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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

42 thoughts on “Another very young tattoo artist

  1. Haha, thats such a great story. I’m gonna have to remember the name Kai, who knows, in 20 years he might be the new Johnny Thief or something!

  2. For six years old, that’s damn fine. Kudos to Brett as well for putting it in such a visible spot. I like the attitude shown here by all involved.

  3. Hah. He is waving to the camera? That’s cute.

    This whole thing is just too cute.
    I want a little Kai of my own.

  4. I went on that trip with brett and mike, a whole shit ton of fun. i have a really cut pic of Kai just before tattooing ill put up on my IAM. I already booked my appointment with Kai for when hes 22 :)

  5. I went on that trip with brett and mike, a whole shit ton of fun. i have a really cut pic of Kai just before tattooing ill put up on my IAM. I already booked my appointment with Kai for when hes 22 :)

    I would like to see a better shot of the facial stripe as well, it looks great!

  7. I was also going to ask about the stripe. Interesting! Perhaps a tan? :D

    It actually looks very good. Niceeee :D

  8. “Shannon, why are kids and animals put in the same section?”

    they’re both cute, squishy and it’s illegal to leave them in a car unattended?

  9. I love how in the last picture, he is holding like 5 dollars. IS THAT ALL HE GOT PAID? :]

  10. That is so awesome. I am the father of the 9 year old girl featured here on modblog a couple years ago now. She tattooed the kanji for father on my calf and also did her name which is Sativa underneath with “9 Yrs” to show her age at the time and also wrote Daddy above it. She did everything but set up the machuine. She picked the design. Lined the stencil from the book of Kanji to stencil paper. Applied the stencil. Washed up, Gloved up and began to work,. She used both a liner and a shader. SDid thre whole thing without the help ogf any adult. The most I did was helped her streatch the skin. After doing the kanji she wanted to do more so I let her use a skin Scribe and write Daddy, Sativa 9 yrs. in her own handwritting then she tattooed that as well.

    I am fully sleeved out on both arms got a chect piece stomach piece, full back and a bit of my right leg. I have work from some really famous and great artist from around the country and world. However this is considered my best piece. The funny thing is I have worked with alot of artist. Some of them were great. however my daughter at 9 years old and for the first time ever picking up a machine tattooes better then them.

    Anyway I love seeing kids getting to tattoo. This is the new thing and makes for a very special tattoo.

    Steve Bennett
    Father of Sativa Bennett Professional Tattoo artist at 9 now turnign 11 on the 31st of March, 2008

    Neon on March 25th, 2008 at 2:26 am

    Yeah! That’s child exploitation!

    haha just jokin’

  12. What a nice idea…alot of people get them for memories… this combines both. What a cute kid.

  13. I figured it’s down to the “Never work with” factor?

    And kudos to the kid, thats better drawing skillz than I have nowadays.

  14. hah i love the way the gloves barly fit on his tiny little hands hahah aww he looks so cute he did an awesome job thou and $5 is alot for a kid at his age

    over here i got paid a £1 for anbything lol aww bk in the day gd times

  15. #20- lol! ^^

    #26- that’s a great story as well :) I love seeing stories like this…

    What could be more sentimental than a tattoo done by your kid, or in this case, a kid who’s like family to you? I can’t think of anything more worthy of ink than that :) Warms the heart, it does!

  16. i highly doubt the kid only got paid 5 bucks.. the guy said something like, ‘his video games were stolen. hopefully this can replace one or two’ so… yeah, if the lil’ artist was only paid $5 the guy is seriously delusional.

  17. This is wonderful.and it is so nice to see all the positive feedback on this posting.much better than all the negative shit posted the last time I remember seeing a young artist blogged about on here.Much respect to the little man!
    Oh! and #26,Steve,my son will be turning 1 on March 28th!

  18. that kid did awesomely! i’m so impressed, especially since his dexterity is completely hindered by those huge gloves. i think if we find him some kid-sized surgical gloves, he would be uber-amazing.

  19. Yes that’s me (Brett) with the white facial stripe. It was done about a year and a half ago by Splat Ter who works at High Priestess Tattoo in Eugene, OR. Splat worked with Bob (Kai’s dad) and I in Newport Beach and was present at Bob and Joy’s wedding as well. The tattoo is white ink done as a 5/8″ thick horizontal white stripe. It was done at the last inkslinger’s ball convention, it seems like that’s about the only time I get to see old friends anymore – at conventions. I knew Splat would be the right guy for the piece because he is extremely fast and intrigued by the idea. The older I get the more apprehensive I get about the tattooing process. Splat also did the pi and pilcrow black circles that are on my hands.

    Not that it is really important, but Kai charged $30 for the tattoo of the sabertooth. It was a price he told me before he knew I was serious about getting tattooed. I knew he and his parents would not charge me for the piece, so I had to figure out some sort of price ahead of time. We were on the road doing suspension shows, so I had little to no money and just let him set the price. I tipped him extra as well. When I said I hoped he could replace a couple of his games, I figured he may have to buy them used with the price of video games these days.

  20. BRETT ROCKS!! Kai is my son and he loves Brett very much. He tells everyone about the tattoo he did for brett. Thanks again to Brett for letting Kai the tattoo you. I think Next is going to be me! We Love you Brett!!!!

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