interview Akos Banfalvi / photos Justice Howard
SG: For those who aren’t familiar with you, can you give us an outline of who you are and what you do.
DG: My name is Dejah Garcia, I am from a small town called Bullhead City, AZ. That is where I did my tattoo apprenticeship, I moved to Las Vegas, NV in 1997 where I got my first professional job as a tattooer from there I went to Southern California where I still live and own a shop called Trusted Tattoo
SG: What made you want to become a tattoo artist?
DG: I have drawn for as long as I can remember, my grandfather was in the Navy and had the Popeye like tattoos on his forearms, I always loved them. I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to do at a young age!
SG: What did your family and friends think about you getting into the business?
DG: When I first started tattooing my parents didn’t approve, they kicked me out of the house when I was 15. As adults they are fully supportive, they know how much hard work and how much I’ve sacrificed for my trade.
SG: Which tattoo style do you like best? And how would you describe your style?
DG: I try to be well rounded in all styles of tattooing. I like to mix black and grey with color, the black really makes the color pop. I respect the technique of Japanese tattooing and try to use some of those principals in my tattooing
SG: Please tell us about the most important or meaningful tattoos you ever did.
DG: I try to make every tattoo and every customer the most important at the time, I provide a service so sometimes what the customer wants is the most important thing to me.
SG: How did you get your start in modeling?
DG: Actually, my first modeling experience was posing for nude polaroids with an old boyfriend lol
SG: Do you work with any special photographers on a regular basis?
DG: I usually work with the amazing Justice Howard. I met her when I was 18 and I feel comfortable with her, not only do we work well together I consider her to be one of my closest friends. She can make any girl feel empowered & sexy!!
SG: What would you say in, in your opinion, is the biggest misconception
DG: The biggest misconception about modeling for me is that I am a model, I’m actually a full-time tattooer that is lucky to have artistic friends!
SG: Tell us about your first photo shoot. Were you nervous?
DG: My first photo shoot was when I finished my back piece by Ben Corn. I was proud of it that I could not wait to show it off! Justice Howard shot it so I was not nervous at all. When you shoot with her it’s usually just the two of us and maybe an assistant. Makeup artist Vera VanGuard helps also, she makes my eyes looks so fierce!
SG: How old were you when you got your first tattoo?
SG: Please talk us through some of your tattoos and the reason behind them.
DG: My left sleeve was all stuff I got before I turned 18 and I have been getting it lasered off and now I’m working on it getting it covered up. My right arm I call my “good arm” Guy Aitchison did the pumpkins on my hand. Tim Hendricks did the David Bowie portrait, most of that arm has a Halloween theme. I was born on Oct.27 so that is a significant time of year for me.
SG: What is your favorite tattoo so far, and why?
DG: My back piece was done by Ben Corn, that has been my favorite tattoo thus far! It is laid out like a Japanese tattoo but has a Mexican theme it is a Santa muerte skull holding a human heart with a sprout growing out of one of the valves. It represents life and rebirth to me..I love it!!
SG: How do you come up with the ideas for your pieces?
DG: Most of my tattoo ideas come from life experiences and others are just for fun.
SG: What do your tattoos mean to you?
DG: Tattoos mean everything to me, they’re a way to provide for myself and expess myself through my art and the tattoos I collect.
SG: Have you gotten any new work done?
DG: I have just started working on my legs I got a snake done on my right thigh by Clark North. I consider myself to be a desert dweller and love reptiles, in the future I will get a scorpion on my left thigh.
SG: Do you like to stick to one artist, or try a number of different ones?
DG: I consider myself to be a tattoo collector so I like to get tattooed by different people , although the majority of my tattoo work has been done by Ben Corn.
SG: Do you have any funny/weird stories about a tattoo experience?
DG: After this many years nothing surprises me, I love fun and laugh at pretty much everything!
SG: Do you think people treat you differently for being heavily tattooed?
DG: When I was younger people use to trip on my tattoos, I was really too young to have them It sucked cause it used to really upset my mom I carried a sweater everywhere I went so I didn’t have to hear it! As an adult people are more open to it and it has given me so many opportunities that I didn’t even know would be possible. I have always felt empowered by my tattoos and never cared if anyone liked them or not.
SG: What is your favorite part about your body?
DG: My favorite part of my body are my feet, I love feet! I’m kind of a freak like that!
SG: Final question…sex on the first date, yay or nay?
SG: No sex on the first date, I have to feel comfortable with a person to find them sexually attractive! that usually takes me a minute.
SG: Thanks for the interview and all the best in your career. Any final words?