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As a Jane of all trades, Cat Castro knows how to please any client who walks into the shop. Whether it be neo-traditional, black-and-grey or color realism, she’s ready to take on the challenge. Will she settle down with a signature style one day? Perhaps! Or instead, will she continue churning out versatile tattoos that run the gamut of genres? Who knows, only time will tell.

How were you introduced to tattooing as a career and did you have a formal apprenticeship?

I knew I wanted to get into tattooing since I was 12 years old. I practiced drawing as a portrait artist for years until I was 19 and a tattoo shop asked me to show my work at their art show. When the owner saw my work, he said, “If I can get you tattooing like that, you’re gonna make me a lot of money.” Consequently, I was offered an apprenticeship so it was perfect because I was already looking for one.

As far as apprenticeships go, I had a very traditional one. I started off working with coils and wasn’t allowed to tattoo until I learned to take my machine completely apart and put it back together. It was a lot of grunt work, paying my dues and learning how to go from paper to skin.

Why do you like to tattoo in different styles and do you have a favorite?

Tattooing in so many different styles was never something I planned for. Somewhere along the way, I liked the challenge of giving the client exactly what they asked for. I wanted to know I could do it and I didn’t want to disappoint. It’s hard to choose a favorite but I noticed that I have a lot of fun doing large-scale black-and-grey, color realism and portraits.What techniques, rules or approaches to tattooing do you carry throughout your tattoos no matter the style? No matter what, I always aim to produce the best quality that I can. I pay attention to the details and always “washline” my tattoos. I try to consistently keep things looking sharp.

As someone who’s mastered so many styles, how do you think you would fare on “Ink Master?”

It’s hard to say because I know I can be my own worst enemy and critic. No matter how many skills I’ve mastered, working under pressure makes me afraid that I won’t perform well. With that said, in the past, whenever something was thrown my way, I made it my mission to step up to the challenge and apply myself to achieve things I didn’t know I could. Who knows, for the sake of the show, it might actually help for me to be used to tattooing in different styles.

What is the tattoo scene like in SoCal and how does it compare to other cities that you’ve visited for work?

It’s funny, everything in the tattoo scene is so well connected with amazing artists always traveling and everyone meeting at expos and on social media. I’ve had the privilege of traveling to multiple countries across seas and still found that the same trendy tattoos were popular and being tattooed all over the world. Nowadays, you can find every different style of tattoo being done in SoCal and every other city. The differences usually lie in the tattoo shops and the way that owners design and run their businesses. It even varies between tattoo shops on the same street.

As a SoCal native, how do you recommend clients take care of their fresh and healed tattoos when spending time in the sun?

Don’t go in the sun. But of course, if they’re in the sun anyway, I recommend having the tattoo completely covered and avoiding any direct sunlight if it’s still healing. Use Dial soap to wash off any sweat immediately after. If it’s healed, definitely aim for a higher SPF sunscreen and concentrate it directly on the tattoo. If the skin gets burned, use aloe vera. If the skin gets dry, argan oil will do wonders. People underestimate how much longer lasting and how much more vibrant tattoos will be if they take the time to really take care of them.