We had the good fortune of connecting with Dean LaBoyd and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dean, how do you think about risk?
I look at risk as a motivation factor. I look at it like a do or die kinda situation, if I fail then I lose. As of recently I have purchased a tattoo shop with my business partner, San Tan Tattoo. We are working towards giving the team we’ve built a top tier work environment, and a chance to really achieve their goals. So for me the risk with the purchasing the shop, I was looking at having my teams careers in my hands so I feel the severe cost of failure with this one was the most motivation. If I lose, my team loses and that’s just something I can’t allow to happen. I’ve worked side by side with these guys for years now, and I feel now I have a personal reasonability to ensure their success. So I feel this has been one of the biggest risk I have taken in my life. I’ve always been a risk taker in my life, I was always that kid on a dirt bike making make shift jumps. I’ve always had the drive to push further in life, and no matter what the risk was it was always a motivator. Didn’t matter if it was from getting hurt to letting people who are counting on me down. So I would definitely say risk taking has been a huge role in my success throughout my life and career.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
How did I get to where I am today professionally? Well it honestly started back when I was 15. My friend Mark Melanson, who owns Darkart Tattoo Collective and myself started making tattoo machines from cd players trying to tattoo each other. That’s really where it all started, sitting there in my room at my moms house. We got caught a couple times, my mom was never happy about it. What parent would be happy that their 15 year old was trying to tattoo themselves. But it sparked a passion I never expected to propell me to where I am today! So once I was about 16 or 17 I started really trying to tattoo more, I order a tattoo kit from ebay and started tattooing on my friends and myself. I was by no means good, but luckily I had a lot of loyal friends that wanted free tattoos. It was around the age of 18 that I really tried to start getting better with my art because I realized I really wasn’t able to draw anything very well or even understood what a light sourcing was. But I kept pushing and trying to do what I could to get people to get a tattoo from me. I had actually got to a point of doing so many bad tattoos, that people weren’t really letting me tattoo on them so I realized I had to really step it up. So I kept trying to learn more about art and doing what I could to learn about tattooing. I never had a traditional apprenticeship, I just kinda taught myself how to do it. A lot of trial and error unfortunately. Fast forward to 2016, I was 24 and this is when I first started in a professional tattoo shop.

I was the low man on the totem pole, but I watched all the other guys tattooing and started seeing different techniques and tricks they would do. So I would apply that to how I would tattoo trying to improve, everyone was always better than me so I felt like I had to push harder to try and impress them. Eventually I started gaining a clientele for Disney characters, and this is when my career really started taking off. And from there I started building a name for myself, I finally felt like a real tattoo artist. I worked at that shop for 6 years, and eventually I came to the owner with a offer to purchase the business. We had some negotiations, but eventually came to a deal we both could be happy with. Now for the past month of owning San Tan Tattoo we have started renovation on the shop to make it a lot more of a place you can come to just for the experience of being there, we are all striving to just give everyone the best possible artwork we can, while having an environment they can feel comfortable and at home in.

I can say I have learned a lot of lessons along the way, honestly some of the most important lesson I’ve had was along this journey. Number 1 and I feel this is the most important, Just go for it! We always wanna try and wait for this golden opportunity of when we can do something like theres this golden hour we can finally be ready to take on these task to achieve our goals. But truth is there is no perfect time other than this moment right now. We will never be truly ready for anything in life so go ahead and chase after what you truly want!

Number 2 And this might sound corny, but stay true to yourself. Never try to hide yourself for anyone. The right people will come into your life. I wouldnt trade the team I have for any other team in the world! We all are a bunch of goofy misfits who have found a family together. Troy, Jess, Cody, Tyler, September, and Christy have been the greatest team I could have ever ask for!

And number 3 Never settle, always go for it 100% it might take time to be where you truly wanna be. It might be a lot of late nights and early mornings, but it is all worth it once you finally achieve it!

And what I would really want people to know from my story is that, it’s possible.
Anything you can set your mind to and work towards is achievable! If some kid from a small town can make his dream of owning a successful tattoo shop, having an amazing clientele and friends that support me in all this, than any one can do what they want if they set their mind to it!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Honestly I would say you have to go check out the Mogollon Rim up near Payson. It’s gorgeous out there, plenty of lakes throughout that whole area to check out! But the scenery up there is so beautiful, looking off the ledge out over the huge valley of evergreen trees. The wildlife is very acyive up there. Everything from elk to little horny toad lizards, its awesome to just walk around innthe forest exploring around to see what you can find. My buddy Tony and I even found a make shift house outnof logs out there one time. I just really enjoy getting out into nature and kinda forgetting about the normal day to day life back in the city. Go out kayaking, or fishing, or even like hiking.I always have a routine going out there. We go out exploring hit the lakes and after the weekend is over like clock work everytime on the way home I always stop at the Buffalo Bar and Grill and get a good home style cooked meal, they have bison burgers and all kinds of not your everyday burgers so I always stop in there and have anyone I’m with try it.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to give thanks to my mother Betty Goodman! Without her love and support throughout my whole life none of my accomplishments would have been possible! Thank you momma for all that you do!

Instagram: @laboyd5150

Facebook: @dean.laboyd

Other: Instagram.com/santantattoo Facebook.com/santantattoo

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