Maybe you don’t like them, maybe you want one, maybe you have many. However you feel about tattoos, they have been part of human history since time immemorial, though their significance changes depending on cultural context and time-period. According to, evidence of tattooing goes back at least to Neolithic times, in tools from the Upper Paleolithic period in Europe, and exists in the records and remains of cultures around the world.


Though they may be seen as controversial or rebellious in modern Western culture, tattooing has been practiced for many reasons. Cultures have used tattoos to denote special skills or royalty, to mark prisoners or criminals, for religious rights, to signify belonging to a particular group or family, for healing, and as art and creative expression.


Today, many people tattoo themselves to connect to their cultural heritage or find a sense of belonging within a larger group.  Also for many, it’s a form of self-expression, and for some, it’s a way to commemorate relationships, past experiences, or lost loved ones. It is said that millennials especially have embraced the art.  These permanent markings become woven into the fabric of the individual’s life, interactions, and stories.


A tattoo is applied by introducing ink to the subdermal layer. The top layer of skin peels away in the healing process, while new tissues form in the under layer that trap the ink. According to, some cultures traditionally created tattoos (and some still do) by cutting markings into the skin and then rubbing ash or other agents into the wounds. In other places, the ink is hand-tapped into the skin using a sharp tool. The method with the most widespread popularity today is tattoo machines, or guns, which rapidly drive a set of needles in and out of the skin and apply the ink directly. However, in some sub-cultures, “stick and poke” tattoos are making a comeback.


All application types involve one common factor—pain! Many people say the endorphin rush is enjoyable, even addictive, and for some it’s an initiation process (formal or informal). Some pieces can be completed in one sitting, while more complicated pieces may require multiple visits to a tattoo artist.


Tattoo artists typically take great pride in their work, and have studied and practiced extensively. Some even train within specific lineages, and most will have particular specialties. If you’re considering a first piece, decide if you want a specific design, or just something cool. Most shops will have books of “stock” designs that you can browse through. If you have a clear vision of what you want, do some research on style and find an artist with a portfolio that matches the look and feel of what you want. You can also work directly with the artist to get clarity on specifics. Make sure you do your due diligence, as a tattoo is not the kind of decision you can go back on later!


Below is a partial list of local tattoo studios for inspiration.


Bombshell Hair and Ink
120 E G Street, Benicia, CA 94510

Bulletproof Ink
674 Parker Rd
Fairfield, CA 94533
707. 229.1573

Zebra Tattoo and Body Piercing
1419 N Broadway
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Extreme Tattoos
3760 Sonoma Blvd
Vallejo, CA 94590

Hot Ink Tattoos and Body Piercing
818 Marin St
Vallejo, CA 94590

Invictus Tattoo Studio
1614 Sonoma Blvd
Vallejo, CA 94590

Ghosttown Body Art
402 Virginia St
Vallejo, CA 94590

Allied Ink Tattoos and Piercings
1415 Georgia St
Vallejo, CA 94590

Shipyard Tattoo Company
2700 Sonoma Blvd
Vallejo, CA 94590

Pop’s Old Town Tattoo
800 Tennessee St
Vallejo, CA 94590

Creative Illustrations
1509 Marin St
Vallejo, CA 94590

Only Skin Deep Tattooing
622 Tuolumne St
Vallejo, CA 94590

Sugar City Tattoo 
1410 Pomona St.
Crockett, CA 94525

Monica Painter Tattoo
Tattoo & Piercing
1410 Pomona St.
Crockett, CA CA 94525