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

Hi Jara, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I remember when I was in Kindergarten, the teacher asked the usual “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was a little arts and crafts project. On my project , I wrote that I wanted to be an artist or a power ranger when I became an adult . Needless to say, it all worked out. At a young age I was drawn to being able to create something from my mind. Whether that be a drawing, painting, etc. I enjoyed the freedom of it all. But also the discipline on what I needed to do to elevate the creations I was making. Becoming a tattooer has made me challenge myself to be better. Pushing those comfort boundaries I set myself into years ago. And seeing small-large improvements motivates me even more. It’s very rewarding in itself to be able to always improve yourself and your artistic abilities over time.

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.
I’ve always had this goal to be a tattooer in high school but I didn’t know where to start nor did I have any tattoos. So I decided the more practical solution for me was to go to college for graphic design to fulfill that creative career (but with always having the idea of being a tattooer in the back of my head). I went to NAU and graduated with my degree. After I graduated I got my first tattoo. It was a Sailor Jerry flash design. Nothing was planned. I just got it. And after that tattoo, I was sold . I knew I wanted to be a tattooer for the rest of my life. After 3 years of getting tattooed and learning how to paint tattoo flash, I was able to land an apprenticeship at my favorite tattoo shop in Flagstaff. I quit my 8am-5pm graphic design job and decided to work multiple PT jobs before or after my shifts at the tattoo shop. I did whatever I needed to do to prove I was serious about it.

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?
My favorite coffee shops would be Cedar House or Late for the Train. They are best. The downtown area is definitely the most exciting since there’s a lot of a different shops that cater to different hobbies and interests. And the best places to be downtown is my work – Flagstaff Tattoo Co . And our sister shop – Mirror Gallery Tattoo. One of my favorite places to get food is Pato Thai.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to give thanks to Cam who knew I was too shy to ask for an apprenticeship and saw some type of potential in me to pursue tattooing as a career and lifestyle .

Instagram: @jxrad_

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