Zombie Tattoo

Posted July 16, 2009 in Feature Story

With a name like “Zombie Tattoo,” one might think of a shop that specializes in imagery related to monsters, trance-like creatures and other-dimensional minutiae. But talk with tat master Joe Chavez, and he’ll be the first to tell you that Zombie Tattoo’s intention is to have a comprehensive shop with all its bases covered—zombies or otherwise.


In fact owner-artist Chavez has been a veteran of the Inland Empire ink-slinging scenes for several years, earning his keep while working at Norco Tattoo for a chunk of time. He also trained under his brother, Poison, riding his coattails while working in San Antonio, Texas, at Honest Charlie’s Tattooing.


However, getting the itch to become his own boss and start his own shop was a dream he wanted to pursue—and with his passion in top gear, that’s exactly what he did a year-and-a-half ago, moving south of his old stomping grounds after generating a decade’s worth of experience with the gun.


Though his personal specialty is black and grey work (for which he’s landed awards, including one at a recent Rat Fink car show) plus traditional art, Chavez says that Zombie is equipped to handle all sorts of tattoo requests presented to its cache of talented skin inkers.


“We’re like family,” he says of his fellow shop artists. “We’re running it where everyone’s happy, working without having to do the regular, old 9-to-5 . . . Our work speaks for itself, as everyone here is pretty versatile.”


Despite the fact that Chavez doesn’t advertise much (instead he relies on good old-fashioned word of mouth to get the message out, or he taps into the clientele he’s long established), and is admittedly in a low visibility location (“We’re pretty hidden in the industrial buildings,” he notes), he says he’s still keeping quite busy.


“It’s every tattoo artist’s dream to have their own business,” Chavez notes. And he’s just fortunate to be living the dream every day.


Zombie Tattoo, 1805 Commerce St #F, Norco, (951) 272-4132, (951) 906-2843, www.myspace.com/zombie_tat2.


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