Featured Tattoo Artist: Leo Cardenas

Tattooing since 2007 Leo Cardenas (Revolution Ink) is quickly making a name for himself in the tattoo world. His artwork is top quality and yet he is aware that he will always be learning. Raised within the world of tattooing (father, Mando Cardenas) and always surrounded by legends, Leo strives daily to be the best that he can be as he continues his journey of gaining as much knowledge as possible.

Joey: Who has been the biggest influence in your tattooing and who gave you your first shot?

Leo: I have a ton of influences, sometimes I feel like I’m over consumed with things that I like. I’m really influenced by Filip Leu, and Shiges tattooing. Growing up in the Bay Area I feel my favorite artist were all around this area. Ever since I was small I remember my dad’s old band Insolence throwing house parties and playing shows at our house. All of my dads band mates and friends were all getting tattooed by guys like GRIME, Adrian Lee, Paco Excel, Schmoe, and I was always intrigued by their tattoos. At that the time it was a lot of graffiti style influence. I find new inspirations all the time, and there always changing and growing. I think when I get tattooed by some of my friends they become a big influence on me, almost like there artwork becomes a part of me too. I’ve been tattooed my Taki of S.O.G, Schmoe, my good friend Mac does great portraits, my friends Gary from L.A does really cool traditional stuff with a realistic feel. Some of those guys were the only people who would help me learn a lot about tattooing and still do.

Joey: Your Japanese work is very well done, as is all your work. Where did the passion for the Japanese arts come from?

Leo: Thank You, I feel like my Japanese influence came from when I was a kid. Even though my dad was Mexican, and my mom white, my parents always had Japanese artwork and statues around the house. I grew up kind of knowing about dragons, tigers, and buddhas. The artwork has appealed to me since then and I always find a sense of peace in Japanese culture. I remember falling on my skateboard and breaking both of my arms, and my dad drew dragons on my cast like tattoos sleeves, with cholo style lettering too lol!

Joey: Tell us about your shop Revolution Ink?

Leo: Revolution Ink tattoo Studio is owned by my dad and is family operated. I work along side my sister Alix, my brother and dad. We also have guest artist sometimes. We opened up the shop in 2009 so were going on three years now. This is the perfect place for me. I get to really focus on my artwork and getting better as an artist and tattooer. You have to have a lot of self drive and motivation getting started. A lot of people don’t want to help you out at all at first, almost like they would try to shut you down or push you away from getting into it. It’s almost like a secret society in some ways. I had to pretty much start from the bottom up. I’m still hungry and trying to build my name and progress as not only an artist and tattooer, but a person too. So when I get the chance to do something cool, I really try to give it my all. I still have not got any where close to what I truly want to achieve, but I’m working everyday to get there and do the best work possible on clients. I’m growing everyday and getting better.

Joey: Name three of your favorite bands?

Leo: Three of my favorite bands are The Smiths, Deftones, and the Misfits!

Joey: What three celebs would you invite over for dinner?

Leo: I would have to say I would invite Morrissey over for dinner because he’s vegan like I am and doesn’t drink like me so we would be on the same page for dinner haha! I think I would invite the Dalai Lama and Karen O because I’m secretly in love with her. That would be a random group of people to get together.

Joey: If you weren’t a tattooist you would be…?

Leo: I hate to think of what I would be doing if I wasn’t  tattooing but I would probably do what I was doing before I started, whatever it takes to provide for my girl and son. I would have a good paying job with benefits, working 9-5 as a delivery truck driver but truly not being happy, so I’m blessed to be doing what I’m doing.

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Leo Cardenas

Revolution Ink 

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