LOS ANGELES, CA
Artists: Mister Cartoon and Carlitos Apprentice: Saul
“Everybody thinks I came into the tattoo world with a red carpet at my feet,” says venerated artist Mister Cartoon. It’s easy to understand why this misconception exists: Cartoon was already well known in as a muralist and illustrator before becoming interested in tattooing. “Being a professional artist was a handicap,” he says. “I would have had an easier time if I had been selling disk brakes for a living.” Cartoon worked out of his mom’s kitchen (“I don’t advocate it,” he warns) for years before beginning an apprenticeship with Baby Ray at Spotlight. Now he’s working out of an inconspicuous three-floor loft in downtown L.A., where he deals exclusively with black-and-gray work. Cartoon’s pieces can be seen on celebrities like Eminem and, most recently, Meena Suvari. And, while it’s rumored the wait for a piece by Cartoon is up to two years, he warns people not to believe the hype. “That two year bullshit is just a fantasy number coming out of people’s heads.” Generally he can see clients within two months.Drink: The Golden Gopher, 417 W. 8th Street, 213-614-8001. The outdoor patio and laid-back vibe makes this bar popular with hipsters and suits alike. It can be a little hard-to-find, but then again the good spots usually are.
Eat: Emerson’s, 606 S. Olive St., 213-623-3006. Have a prosciutto sandwich or one of the house-made soups from this café delivered to you during your session with Mister Cartoon. Or, wander around downtown on a sunny afternoon and hit one of the many taco stands for a cheap alternative.
Spend: No reason to shop elsewhere; with his fingers in almost every arena of pop culture, you can find everything from Nike sneakers to T-Mobile gadgets with designs from Mister Cartoon and partner Estevan Oriol.