We had the good fortune of connecting with Travis “Jucebox” Meisenzahl and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Travis, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I’d say the biggest and most important factor behind my success as a tattoo artist is motivation and drive. in any art industry self-sufficiency and motivation are definitely important. I don’t have a boss making my schedule or making sure I get things done, it’s all me, and it’s definitely a lot easier to relax and not do as much as I could than it is to stay motivated. to own your own brand and ensure its success is more than a full-time job, it’s a constant day and night endeavor. I’m answering calls, texts, emails… every hour of the day. I have to stay motivated to do the best I can whether is drawing or doing the actual tattoo for a client, every step of the process is just as important as the others and sometimes it’s easy to forget that so it’s important to remain focused and motivated for the entire process without losing sight of the end goal. if I start losing motivation then I start losing clients.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I just recently hit my ten year anniversary as a tattooer and it has been a long and complicated journey to get to where I am now. most of the biggest lessons I’ve learned have come as a result of “learning the hard way”. I was kind of randomly thrown into tattooing, but it was never something I intended to do, it was the result of right place, right time, right people. and right when I started tattooing I was working in such a busy area in Los Angeles and because of that I thought id automatically be busy and happy, and while that was somewhat true it wasn’t what I expected. I definitely stayed busy but it was absolutely mind numbing. most of what I did as an artist there was not very artistic at all. lots of small, fast easy tattoos. lots of stars, little palm tree silhouettes. boring mundane stuff, and it didn’t allow me to grow or learn as an artist. I probably stuck around there longer than I should have but it definitely was a learning experience and taught me what I didn’t want as an artist. I feel like if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t be as motivated and determined as I am today. it helped me understand the harsh reality of tattooing in the 21st century and the struggles and truths that come with it. in the 21st century there is a tattoo shop on every corner, everyone knows a tattoo artist. now there or a lot more tattooed people than there was ten or even 20 years ago. tattooing has become so common and so many people want one. and as the demand for tattoos rise the demand for tattooers rises as well, and unfortunately its attracted a lot of people who aren’t in it for the art or the passion. people are becoming tattooers now because they think it will make them famous, or because they think it will get them women, or even because they think its an easy job and they just get to dick around all day. TV hasn’t done tattooing any favors as an industry either. there are so many shows that make a false or inaccurate portrayal of the tattoo industry and in turn sets unrealistic expectations for clients. so now my job has become not only a tattooer but in some capacities a teacher as well because as a tattooer its my job to make sure people know what they’re getting into, and the responsibilities and realities that come with getting a tattoo. so the challenges to set yourself apart have grown tenfold. I feel like as a tattooer I do a really good job at standing out and setting myself apart from all the nonsense. a big part of it comes from my background as an artist outside of tattooing and understanding the principles of art. another part of standing out I guess just goes to my ability to get along with people and not put myself on a pedestal. there’s a pretty accurate stereotype of tattooers being hard to get along with or being a**holes and unfortunately that is mostly true. there are a lot of mean, stubborn tattooers out there and to be honest I really don’t understand why. I feel like a big part of my success comes from understanding that without my clients I would literally be nothing but broke and sad. its such a crazy thing to me that people come to me and allow me to permanently alter their body. so I always try to give them the same respect and gratitude as I am shown by them as well as giving them my maximum effort and attention on the tattoo I am creating for them no matter how big or how small. every tattoo is permanent and every tattoo is important so every tattoo gets my maximum effort. and people see that and that’s a big part of what keeps people coming back and keeps me and my brand successful.

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 always take visitors to certain food and drink spots that showcase the local scene pretty well, drunken tiger, makitto sushi, and deez buns are all pretty high up on my list for food, they’re locally owned and very unique, high quality places to get some awesome food. for drinks I really enjoy killer whale sex club for some unique cocktails and a menu that is always changing and bringing incredibly tasty and well thought out drinks to the table. I really enjoy valley bar for its ambience, aesthetic, and vast landscape of classic drinks combined with some cool events for both local and touring musicians. valley bar is a great place to get a drink and hang out or enjoy a more energetic crowd depending on the day. one last favorite is casey Moores oyster house in tempe. it is a cornerstone of the mill avenue area and has been around ages. they have a good quality “barfood menu” (not to mention oysters!) and Is a good place to go sit down and hang with friends. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
All the people who allow me to permanently mark their body with my tattoos. I would be nothing without them.

Instagram: @jucebox

Image Credits
First two photos of myself by Yeshua Flores. The last one of me tattooing Slobby Robby is by Hans Terslin

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