Interviewed by Carlos Torres
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Carlos: So, Alan Padilla, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where were you born, how old are you?

Alan: I like corn! I just turned 36, and I’m from Hidalgo, Mexico.

Carlos: At what age did you come to the US? Did you start tattooing in Mexico?

Alan: I think I had just turned 20, maybe 19 going on 20. I tattooed in Mexico, but it was a homemade machine and didn’t work that great. So I actually consider when I started here in the states as when I started tattooing.

Carlos: How long you been tattooing? Did you serve an apprenticeship?

Alan: Shit, I don’t know, I can’t say exactly how long cause it was like back and forth, but uh, I’d say 13 years. An apprenticeship, I did in a way that I worked with this badass artist, and that’s how I learned to make needles, build machines, paint and draw and tattoo. So I really didn’t do an actual apprenticeship but I considered it an apprenticeship. (Asks Carlos, “Si? Esta bien? Or no?”)

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Carlos: So, Alan Padilla, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where were you born, how old are you?

Alan: I like corn! I just turned 36, and I’m from Hidalgo, Mexico.

Carlos: At what age did you come to the US? Did you start tattooing in Mexico?

Alan: I think I had just turned 20, maybe 19 going on 20. I tattooed in Mexico, but it was a homemade machine and didn’t work that great. So I actually consider when I started here in the states as when I started tattooing.

Carlos: How long you been tattooing? Did you serve an apprenticeship?

Alan: Shit, I don’t know, I can’t say exactly how long cause it was like back and forth, but uh, I’d say 13 years. An apprenticeship, I did in a way that I worked with this badass artist, and that’s how I learned to make needles, build machines, paint and draw and tattoo. So I really didn’t do an actual apprenticeship but I considered it an apprenticeship. (Asks Carlos, “Si? Esta bien? Or no?”)

Alan: Not really what I wanted to do, but I’d see these artists and awesome drawings on people, and I thought that if you could have that drawing on your body forever it was really interesting.

Carlos: That’s awesome, right on. So when you came from Mexico, you kind of had a little taste of tattooing?

Alan: Yeah.

Carlos: What’s the first shop you worked at?

Alan: The first shop I worked at was Body & Mind in Huntington Park, California.

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Carlos: So you bounced around a bit before ending up in San Pedro, California?

Alan: Yeah, I worked at a few shops, worked with some nice people and some not so nice people, but I learned from those people. I learned what to do and what not to do in this industry.

Carlos: I think that’s an important part of learning..haha. So where do you work now?

Alan: I work at Timeline Gallery in San Pedro, California. It was established about six years ago and I have an awesome team.

Carlos: You just saying that cause I’m interviewing you?

Alan: I thought you were gonna give me some money for saying that… or a free tattoo, hahahahah!

Carlos: So I’ve known you for quite some time now, I don’t recall how we met, I think it might have been at Ink & Iron and you were showing me some of your flash, and I remember it being some of the most incredible drawings I’d seen. I’ll get back to that in a second. I think one of the coolest things of why we’re such good friends is you have one of the most relaxed attitude that I’ve ever come across in this industry. So easy going, I’m envious of it cause I stress out on things. Like I gotta get this done or I gotta get that done. How do you maintain such a calm attitude in this industry and what do you think of this industry?

More of this interview inside Tattoo Society Magazine back issue #38