A tattoo artist for over 15 years, many awards and accolades for his work, Master Mike has perservered to get to where he is at. Not only a struggle to land an apprenticeship while starting out, but more profound than that a life of poverty, growing up in the war torn nation of Cambodia.
A tale of a tattoo artist that does not begin with graffiti in the streets or black book sessions but growing up very poor in the killing fields of Cambodia. The youngest of four brothers he felt the deep sorrow of losing two brothers; one from starvation and another who at the age of 10 was forced to fight alongside the Khmer Rouge. With his parents and older brother, Mike fled and escaped to the US in 1979. The one thing his parents instilled in him was to always be proud and not accept handouts, to work hard and be dedicated and determined.
Master Mike always had a love of art and drawing and not having much money for toys made it easy to grab some paper and a pencil and use his imagination. Living in Los Angeles’ China town, Mike was influenced by Chinese and Japanese art. He was fascinated with the bigger yakuza pieces he would see, along with the L.A. black and grey style tattoos.
Master Mike does not consider himself a master of tattooing but a Master (a respected wise teacher) to his many students/apprentices he has had through the years. Master Mike had a rough go of it in the beginning trying to get an apprenticeship always being turned down. That did not stop his work ethic with his drawings and his continuous practicing on orange peels and pig skins. Finally landing spots with various tattoo shops, Mike learned the ins and outs of being a professional tattoo artist.
Fast forward to 2004 and the opening of Inkfiend Art, his tattoo shop in Alhambra, CA. Mike has a philosophy for the shop and his artists: more huslin’ and less fussin’! He has instilled the same values his parents gave him to work hard and not complain, to be dedicated and appreciate what you are doing. With that said Master Mike has made an apprenticeship program available at his shop. Something he struggled to receive he offers to those that are interested and dedicated to the art of tattooing. Master Mike is first to say that he will never stop learning and what he does know he is more than happy to share with those that show the same desires and aspirations as he and the rest of the crew at Inkfiend Art.
Master Mikes tattoo work has been recognized on many occassions with awards. He is truely a “master” of Asain influenced tattoos. His work speaks volumes of his dedication in learning and desire to be the best that he can be. He prides himself in creating custom tattoos with the Inkfiend flair. His favorite type of designs are of dark imagery, like the macabre and to put an evil twist to his tattoos with an asian art flow.
I highly suggest you visit the Inkfiend website to really appreciate the work being done there by Master Mike and his crew. Of course if you are in the area drop by and say hello and see what all the fuss is about.
Inkfiend Art Studio
2428 W. Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, CA 91803
Source: Joey Voodoo from February 15, 2011