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

Hi Mikel, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Deep down inside I have always had a passion for creative outlets, and my mediums have changed over the years. After high school, I pursued a career in culinary arts and climbed that ladder for 12 years,
I made a lot of mistakes during those years; excessively partied which ultimately led to my struggle and downfall with addiction.
During that time my recreational interest in graffiti landed me in the legal system. This gave me an ultimatum between rehab and the less desirable. After getting clean, I felt that the culinary industry was not my correct path. I then followed my passion for tattooing and tattoo art.
It was a transition from being engulfed in recovery programs to turning my focus fully on tattooing. This accelerated my decision to pursue it as a full-time career. Today I sit proudly almost 8 years sober in a job that gave me gifts beyond what I could imagine. .

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is derived from hundreds of years of tradition, passed down through generations of indigenous tribes, carnival acts, military soldiers, and the outcasts that have made tattooing what it is today. I don’t often veer from the fundamentals of this art that have proven to be tried and true.

I pride myself on being a versatile tattooer and came up in a street shop where I learned to execute many different styles. With this background, I am able to meet customers’ expectations and steer them towards a tattoo that will hold up to the test of time. Not all styles of tattooing age desirably.

After starting in the tattoo industry at a later age than most, I felt the need to work twice as hard and immersed myself in everything tattoo-related. Paving my own path was not easy, but failure brought many lessons. I was reminded along the way not to compare myself with peers and to focus on the task at hand. In the end, hard work is paying off.

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?
dog park, pho, and snowboarding.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Jon Deanda – Owner of True at Heart Tattoo Original Crew at the True at Heart Tattoo in Lake Forrest, CA: Ivan, Mike, Jason, Paul, Hugo, Richard, Brian R.I.P
Frank Ball
Josh Ross
Drew Linden

These are the people that encouraged and influenced me.

Instagram: @mikeltattoos

Other: Flagstaff Tattoo Co. is my home shop, you can also find me on the road from time to time. mikeltattoos1983@gmail.com for all tattoo related inquiries

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.