There are thousands of talented tattoo artists around the world, so to be picked by a celebrity you not only need to be at the top of your game, you also need to be chill. Celebrities want to feel at home in a tattooer’s chair and put their trust in an artist who can kick it like a homie. Ganga is one of those world-class artists who has impressed the likes of Hollywood with his top-tier skillset, notably chart-topping musicians Drake, Post Malone, Chris Brown and Nicky Jam. We sat down with Ganga to uncover his meteoric rise in the industry and understand why he’s decided to make Los Angeles home.
Take us through your start in the tattoo industry.
The beginning of my tattoo career was difficult. Initially, nobody wants to get tattooed by you because you don’t have experience. I had to begin by tattooing all of my close friends until I started to get a name for myself and people began to trust my work.
How did you develop your signature style and what drew you to black-and-grey?
Practice. I spent every day working and eventually started to feel comfortable with my specific style. I tried every style, and it’s paved the way for what I do today. There's no specific reason behind why I do black-and-grey, I guess it’s the style I feel most comfortable doing.
How did you meet some of your well-known clientele and what was your experience like tattooing them?
It’s been a life-changing experience getting to know them personally and growing relationships. I met Odell [Beckham Jr.] back in the day while I was on Drake’s tour and from there, we’ve grown a friendship.
What advice would you give to your fellow tattoo artists about getting a celebrity in your chair?
Stay calm. It has been difficult for me not to get nervous while I’m tattooing Drake, Odell, Chris Brown or Post Malone. But at the end of the day, you have to do what you do every day—tattoo.
How has your celebrity clientele impacted your business and changed the way you work?
[Tattooing celebrities] has benefited me very positively. They all have huge platforms, so if they show that they trust your work then a lot of people will see that. The impact can be huge if your work is good.
What are some of the biggest differences in tattoo culture between Spain and the United States?
I feel that people in Spain still don’t accept tattoos the way they do in the U.S. We still have a lot to learn in Spain about if someone has or doesn’t have tattoos. It doesn’t change a person on the inside.
How would you describe the tattoo culture of L.A. and where do you fit into it?
I think it’s the tattoo capital of the world. I love it here and I'm learning a lot of things about the industry that I wouldn’t be able to learn back in Spain.
What’s your favorite thing to tattoo?
I would say portraits of movie characters are my favorite.
What’s something you’d like to tattoo in the future that you haven’t gotten around to yet?
I can’t think of a specific one now, but probably a movie character. I love tattooing Johnny Depp, since I’m a big fan of his work, so maybe one of his characters that I haven’t done yet.