Sergio Sanchez {E} Tattoo & Fine Artist Feature

by Christina Diaz

Sergio Sanchez tattoos and paints full time at Timeline Gallery in San Pedro, California. Born in Mexico City and raised in Los Angeles, Sergio has always been creative. He says, “I was always drawing and had a great family that supported being an artist.”

Inspired by comic books and graffiti, young Sergio’s interests soon led him to another medium, tattoos. “I have always loved visual imagery and the stimulation I get from it.” First exposed to tattoos when he was around 16 years old Sergio knew he wanted to have them. It wasn’t till around 1993 his friends persuaded him to start tattooing – he says mostly because they wanted them! So he had plenty of people to practice on and they trusted me because of his natural artistic ability, and that was how his tattoo career began – through trial and error.  Sergio admits, “In those years it was very difficult to find information equipment or learn how to tattoo from anyone, so I learned mostly on my own. I tattooed for about 6 years until 1999 at that point I was frustrated with my growth and ability and I felt like I was not improving anymore. I realized that it had more to do with my ability to draw then my knowledge of the tattoo equipment and process so I decided to stop tattooing and go to art school.”

He initially wanted to go to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena but couldn’t afford it so he went to a small private school in Los Angeles called Associates in Art, which unfortunately has since closed down. Sergio studied there from 2000 to 2003 and then began to teach classes for the school before it went out of business. He never earned a degree but says he learned from the best!

Sergio is now teaching at Art Center College of Design with no degree, all of his credibility is based off of his work and ability. “I have continued to teach for art colleges and I still do today, I teach for the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative art in Van Nuys CA, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and the Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach CA. I teach figure and portrait drawing and painting classes.”One of his long-term goals is to have a successful fine art career – I think it’s safe to say he’s well on his way.

As an artist, he declares, it can take a minimum of 5 years to learn classical ways of drawing and painting, another 5 years to develop a serious body of work 10-20 major paintings, and then another 5 years of promoting your work to gallery owners and museum curators so they know you exist and then proving to collectors that you are committed to being an artist for life by showing you are consistent and active for many years before you are a safe investment. So on a fast time line it can be 15 years before we, as artists, can get any major return for our investment, and during those years we have to make a living doing something else.

For Sergio teaching has been his passion, “Teaching has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me, it has allowed me to continue to refine and perfect my approach to creating art and has supported me while I work on my fine art career, and I probably will always teach art on some level for the rest of my life but at this point I am ready for some change, I have been teaching so much that I do not have enough time to focus on my own personal work.”

While Sergio’s tattoo career was put on hold during that time. As time passed, his students (some of whom are tattooers) urged him to pick up a machine again. He took a step back and realized that with all the amazing work being done nowadays and the fact that his students were making almost triple per hour what he was making teaching at the colleges Sergio decided to get back into it again!

Fresh from a 13-year break, Sergio began tattooing again in early 2012.  His goal is to transition some of his income from teaching art to tattooing so he can create more time to continue developing his fine art. “My focus with tattooing is to try and apply my fine art education to the skin and I am committed to tattooing for life as well, I realize now that I will be painting, teaching, and tattooing forever, all things that I love. In my opinion, we are all artists first, regardless of what medium or what tools you use paper, canvas, computer, or skin…”

Check out more of Sergio’s ink and art on his site at:
And follow him on Instagram: @sergiosanchezart

Sergio Sanchez {E} Tattoo & Fine Artist Feature