It's almost as though John Ferrell was destined to fall into the lure of body modification. Growing up a motocross junkie, John raced a guy back in the day who owned a tattoo shop. After his initial introduction to the lifestyle, he developed an interest in piercing and quickly became an apprentice. "I was around tattoos every day and, when I was old enough, I started getting tattooed."
First on John's must-have ink list was his last name down the back of his leg, done at a parlor in Moreno Valley, California. That show of family pride might explain why John's dad appreciates his son's tattoos—his mom, not so much. "She still gives me grief about them."
We're sure mom will come around eventually, since John's turned his passion into a paying gig. Now an inkslinger at American Made Tattoo in 29 Palms, California, he's had the opportunity to work and travel with some of the greatest artists over the past five years. The insight he's garnered has led to a different approach in acquiring new work: "I used to pick things I thought I was into, but now I find artists whose style I like and give them a lot of freedom."
The big guys John places his trust in these days are Thatcher at Old Town Tattoo in Temecula, California, and Nate at 1st Amendment Tattoo & Body Piercing in Murrieta, California. "Thatcher is doing most of my work, but Nate is doing my back," John explains. Thatcher is also in the process of filling in the background on John's overall work with black and gray biomechanical designs. (The subdermal implant in the top of John's left hand comes courtesy of Shawn O'Hare, owner of Fillmore Tattoo in Fillmore, California.)
"I haven't been tattooed In a while," John admits, "but I'm looking to get back and start getting a lot of stuff finished."
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