Tiffany Perez — more commonly known as Tiffany Tattooz — has been wowing folks with her tattoo artwork for some time now. Not only an artist but a business woman, with her own tattoo shop, Ink Gallery in Woodland Park, NJ, being just one of many ventures. However, before the rainbow came the rain, as the ink slinger’s journey was one filled with tragedy, tribulations and ultimately triumph.
‘LLERO linked up with Tiffany to chat about her world before ink, the life changing moment that pushed her to pursue her dreams and the new goals that she’s set for herself. She also gave us the scoop on the kind of ‘LLERO it takes to court a beautiful, intelligent and talented Latina like herself.
‘LL: What were you doing before tattooing, and what sparked the interest in you to pursue it as a career?
Tiffany: I was going to Montclair State University to become an art teacher. I believe it was my junior year in college that my father bought me a tattoo machine for my birthday as a gift. For a little while, I was trying to figure it out, how to learn to tattoo, but it wasn’t really working. I knew nothing about tattoo; I had never even stepped foot into a tattoo shop. I decided to do an apprenticeship, but one wasn’t available until I went into a shop and they looked at my portfolio, and they took me in. After that, I stuck with it. I fell in love with it. I finished college, but as soon as I was done with college, I made tattooing full time.
‘LL: Where did you apprentice?
Tiffany: I apprenticed at a shop called Riders Ink in Newark, NJ.
‘LL: What was the next step after you graduated and took on tattooing full time?
Tiffany: After that I was just tattooing in Newark, but I kind of knew that I wanted to get out of Jersey to see what else was out there. So, I ended up moving to Miami for about a year, and before I even moved, I already had a job in Miami. I started working their full time in the same week.
‘LL: What shop in Miami were you working in?
Tiffany: It’s called Chico’s Marked 4 Life. Have you heard of them?
‘LL: Yeah. Almost every artist that I’ve ever interviewed from Miami tells me that they started at Chico’s Marked 4 Life.
Tiffany: [Laughs] that’s so crazy. Tatu Baby started there, too, and we worked together. Chico’s the type of person that just senses the good in people, like good artists and hustlers. He always gets these good artists that end up getting on TV or do crazy stuff.