We had the good fortune of connecting with Henry Cortez JR and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Henry, why did you pursue a creative career?
Art has been part of my life since I was a kid. Both my parents are artistic and creative, from traditional artwork to building cars to interior decorating it was always around. I’m grateful that my parents expressed themselves creatively and let me have the freedom to do so myself. So as far as choosing a career path it became easy that I knew I wanted to make a living doing art. It just so happened that I chose tattooing, Which in my opinion is a great way to make a living as an artist. The only difference is that I am creating permanent art on a human canvas.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Majority of my art that you’d see is in tattoos on the human canvas as my medium. In this industry it’s hard to stand apart from the others because there’s so many amazing artists especially locally. I like to pride myself in that I have a wide range of what I can do style wise. I may not have mastered each style, but I like to put my own twist on each type of tattoo. The road was not easy and I think I got where I am today by just having a good work ethic, when I first started I was working a full-time job and going to the tattoo shop every day. day and night I was living art until I became comfortable enough to quit my day job and pursue this full-time. When you’re essentially working for yourself you learn along the way that you are only as busy and creative as you want to be, only you can truly push yourself to go beyond the bare minimum. That’s far is what I want everyone to know about me or my story is that hard work does pay off and it may take several years to get where you’re comfortable or at least making a good living and doing what you love.But never forget where you came from and those that helped you along the way.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ve lived here my whole life and I’m still discovering new things to do and places to see. But in my opinion it’s in the small areas the barrios the hoods as some would call it is where you find the most authentic foods culture and community. For example my favorite Mexican spot mi nidito a lot of people might know it as the place that Bill Clinton visited. I try to support local as much as I can and that includes bars on fourth Avenue which is our main drag downtown like surlywench or COBRA arcade or Che’s lounge are all really cool places to drink. Or you may find me at barista feel barrio grabbing a breakfast burrito as well! I’m also a movie buff so I’ll probably end up taking someone around with some iconic movies were filmed like can’t buy me love and revenge of the nerds are filmed in Tucson.
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’d have to say there isn’t just one person that guided me in my path. There are many I’d like to think and give recognition to but I suppose I can’t name them all. First and foremost my parents. My mother guided me throughout my childhood and through school, My father later on really supported me in my pursuit of being a tattoo artist he has some of my first tattoos on him. But I did do a formal apprenticeship under Jon Lewis a Tucson local shop owner and where I spent most of my time nearly a decade learning my craft.