When opportunity knocks, Anthony Gonzalez, better known as Antz, not only recognizes it, he answers. From his time as a graffiti artist on the streets of L.A., to the owner of House of Ink in Farmington, NM, Antz has focused on bettering himself and serving those around him. “I started doing some portraits with pen and pencil, and a few people asked me to tattoo on them, which I’d never done, so I scratched on my friends,” said Antz. He did a quarter sleeve, then a full sleeve, then a chest, “and after a few pointers from some local guys, I was good enough to get work at a shop,” he said.
But he wasn’t progressing as fast as he wanted to, so he thought it best to quit and try a different one. “I was fortunate enough to pick up a few more pointers, and they were doing conventions, so I started traveling a bit,” Antz said. He began taking college courses. “Painting, art, drafting, architecture, Photoshop – anything I could take that would help me improve my tattoo skill,” he said. He learned social media to promote himself, and was offered a guest spot in Farmington. “They offered me a full-time job, so I came out here, worked two years, and became really successful.” He promoted on Facebook and other social media venues that connect the Four Corners community and brought in a lot of clients.
He was looking for a new place to learn still more, when his father passed. “He left me a bunch of money, so I was fortunate enough to invest that and open my own shop,” Antz said. Two artists who had been working with him came along, one of whom had heard about Tatt2Away. “We’ve made the shop very successful, and we draw a lot of people. But there are a lot of scratchers and a lot of garbage ink going around, so there’s a lot of messed up tattoos,” he said. “We did further research, looked it up, had the online interview. It all sounded good, looked good, might as well take a bite!”
He already has about 20 clients lined up, and likes Tatt2Away not only for better art, but for full removal. “People are coming out of jail with these job stoppers on their face and hands. Ex-gang members who want to change their life – they don’t want a coverup. They want it gone,” said Antz. ”We can better people’s lives. That’s what I really like about it. That we can also use it to help a coverup, that’s the cherry on the top.” Especially because he hates coverups. “If I’m going to shade a rose, I’m going to do it based on my artist’s skill, not try to fix someone’s garbage in hopes it looks good. Tatt2Away will help me give a tattoo that’s an A+, because you can use a session or two to do a better cover up. I don’t want to just shoot for an A-, limited by what’s already there,” he said.
He has three tattoos on his face he wants to remove. There’s a laser option available nearby, but it isn’t run by artists and tattoo removal is secondary to hair treatments. “There are hundreds of thousands of people out here who need this. I’m thinking a little bigger, a little better,” said Antz. “We can use artwork to take the stigma away from the ‘That guy’s a troublemaker, because he’s got tattoos’ perception,” saying now the clients can have a choice. “They can either have them removed and live a sound life or have a beautiful piece of artwork they can represent and be happy with.”
He’s grateful he had this money to invest. “This wasn’t my money I started with, so I’m more of a trustee. I’m just managing it. In the meantime, I have a job,” said Antz. “And the four corners now has painless tattoo removal. How exciting is that?”
House of Ink is now scheduling consultations in their studio. Start today and get art from Antz and his team the way you want it!
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