The Artistry of Derick Montez

Meet Derick Montez of  Picture Machine Tattoo in San Francisco. Whether it’s graffiti, fine art, or tattoos…Derick is pure talent.

Joey: Originally from Albuquerque, NM you were the youngest artist to be accepted to the Downtown Contemporary Art Center. Tell us more about that honor?

Derick: Yea, growing up in Albuquerque is a pretty weird experience. It’s not really a city as much as it is a large town. I had never really planned on making a living off of art but knew it was an outlet for myself at a young age. When the Art Center asked me to join the gallery/ studio space I was painting a lot of graffiti at the time and was just starting to make somewhat of a transition to painting on canvas with acrylics and broadening my subject matter to more then just Graffiti letters. Once I was in the space I worked along side fine art painters, sculptors, photographers and installation artist. I learned a wealth of knowledge at the DCAC that was more then I could have ever learned in some kind of University or art class.

Joey: You began your tattoo career apprenticing with an artist the Voodoo Crew admires very much…Mike Giant (Rebel8). How did that great opportunity come about?

Derick: I have known Mike for a long time now. He had just moved back to New mexico from San Francisco and opened up a great shop called Stay Gold that is still in place today. Being a big fan of his graffiti and the fact that he was a home town hero of sorts I knew I had to get tattooed by the guy. I think I was about 19 or 20 then. I had always thought to learn how to tattoo would be amazing but had no idea how to go about it. The only people I knew who tattooed were pretty bad ass guy’s and i would be terrified to ask. So I just put it out of mind. When I first met Mike to get tattooed we hit it off right away. I was pretty “up” in the city for my graffiti and when he found out who I was it opened a great door for conversation. We soon became friends, painted graffiti and contributed to art shows together in Albuquerque. It was not till several years later that he approached me if I would be interested in apprenticing under him do to he was cutting back a lot on tattooing and placing more energy  to Rebel8. Of course I said yes.

Joey: With a love for graffiti and studying under Giant, what or who else has influenced your artistic style?

Derick: Well Mike is number one for sure. His work ethic is humbling. Working at Picture Machine and being surrounded by all the flash from Pat Martynuik from the 70’s and 80’s and just the sheer volume of it very humbling. I feel like I get motivated from a lot of tattooers. To many to name but many that I have been tattooed by.

Joey: You relocated to San Francisco in 2008. How do you think San Francisco has helped you progressed in furthering your career?

Derick: I get influenced daily just by living in San Francisco. This city is a hot bed for creative people. If it’s graffiti, fine art, tattoos or architecture. I feel blessed to be tattooing here. We get a lot of tattooers guesting at are shop from all over the states as well as Europe and you just don’t see that kind of traffic in small places like Albuquerque. Also the clients in this city have always been known for being open minded to some pretty fun tattoos!

Joey: When you are not tattooing what can we find you doing?

Derick: Riding my 66 Honda dream, lost in Golden Gate Park, painting, or traveling.

Joey: How bad do you  miss the green chile from New Mexico? Red or Green?

Derick: I miss the chile every day! The right answer would be x-mas but at heart I’m a big red chile fan!

Joey: Derick thanks so much for your time. Any final words or shout-outs?

Derick: Thanks to my clients for supporting this craft and all the different tattooers who have helped me along the way. I still have a long way to go.

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Derick Montez

Picture Machine

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