He specializes in regional cholo lettering, a Los Angeles nativist tradition with its roots in gang culture dating back to the 1940s.
A few years later he got involved in tattooing at Modern Ink in Westchester and a few others, but he had visions of grandeur and dreamt of something bigger, rather than being stuck within the confines of the tattoo parlor cubicle.
His stature, his grooming habits, his shaved scalp, and the oversized tattoo on the back of his head, a self-portrait with beaming eyes symbolizing he is always watching his back, can be a bit daunting.
However, he is one of the most gregarious, friendly, humble and approachable artists I have ever met.
At the encouragement of his wife, he put together a lettering scrapbook from notebooks, envelopes, and handwritten letters, that came with instructions and was basically a font manual focused on regional lettering to be used at tattoo parlors across California, They put together an idea and shopped it around at the Ink-N-Iron Tattoo Convention, and it was immediately picked up by Wendy Belzel of Belzel Books, which proved more successful than what he imagined as it took off internationally.
As Big Sleeps and I were discussing this topic at a Beverly Center restaurant, a young man interrupted us kindly and lifted up his shirt to show us a tattoo Big Sleeps did on his stomach a few years ago, it was a classic moment and rightly deserved. and was a bit hesitant, mostly out of a fear of the unknown, like the idea that it was too good to be true.