Artists: Rich Pineda
What year did you start tattooing?
I started tattooing in January of 2010, so relatively a short time ago.
How did you get into tattooing?
Over the years I’ve had a number of good friends growing up in Hermosa Beach that were tattoo artists, so I had been exposed to it since I was around 16. My friend Todd Townsend was the first tattoo artist that truly made me fall in love with the art form, but I never thought at the time that I would one day be a tattoo artist
myself. I moved to the desert in Yucca Valley, CA, where I met some great artists, one of whom became a good friend, Jeff Cooper. I fell in love with his tattoo work and was soon getting work from him. After knowing Jeff for years, we started talking about the possibility of me apprenticing under him, and not too long after I began my apprenticeship.
Where did you apprentice?
At Solid Tattoo in 29 Palms under Jeff Cooper, and I’m currently working at his other shop, Liquid Tattoo in Yucca Valley, CA.
Do you have any special training?
Self-taught in most of the art forms I’ve done, I tend to hop into things headfirst and have had the luck of learning firsthand from other artists around me. I have been blessed with an artistic family, and they have been my teachers over the years.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards?
Since I’m so new to the industry I’ve only worked one. It was Ink for a Cause in Ventura, CA, last year. It was a great convention and experience, and I met a lot of amazing artists. I received first place in the rookie three years and under category. I will be doing Musink this year with my friend Dox Wondolowski in March and am very excited about doing it!
How do you describe your style?
I would say most of my work in and out of tattooing has always leaned towards realism.
What inspires you as an artist?
Music has always been a big inspiration in my life—it helps me to get into the right mind-set and focus on whatever I’m working on. Films have also been a big part of what steers my creativity. A big motivation for me is when someone appreciates the art I have done—it just makes me want to keep working harder and keep
growing as an artist.
What other media do you work in?
Well, I have been an artist since I was a child and have been fortunate to have been able to work as an artist through the years, whether it was wood and metal work, custom automotive and motorcycle painting, photography, writing, or recording music with my band, Heart of Eros. I truly love and appreciate art in every form and hope to keep venturing into other mediums. Right now I’m currently working on building custom grandfather clocks as well, called Grand Daddy’s. I have finished my first one—took me over 200 hours and 5,000 yards of thread. The frames are made from metal and are welded in my workshop. All the stitching is
done on my sewing machine by hand. It was so much fun to build. I am in the process of building a few more.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
I would have to say Jeff Cooper—I owe my start in tattooing to him and without him believing in my art I don’t know what I would be doing right now. I really love Nikko Hurtado’s and Mike DeVries’s work, as well as Cecil Porter, Joshua Carlton, Victor Portugal, Roman Abrego, and Franco Vescovi, to name a few. Anyone who
has a lot of depth to their work.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Larger pieces. I have yet to do an entire back piece. I will be doing a sleeve with a theme of The NeverEnding Story soon, and I’m really looking forward to doing that. Anything that was part of pop culture when I was
growing up I would love to do. Or horror film stuff as well!
Before someone gets a tattoo, what advice do you give them?
I always make sure that the person has really thought about what they are getting. Just to be patient in
their choice. I know what it’s like to make a quick decision just to be covering up a bad idea later.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
Oh, many! Many. I recently did a Boba Fett on my buddy Dillon, and we’re doing most of the old-school Star Wars cast on him for a full sleeve piece. I can’t wait to get to Han Solo, one of my favorite characters in the films! Or I would love to do a scene from Blade Runner—there are so many great shots from that movie you