Do you have an affinity for Frida Kahlo and Invader Zim? Banksy and Bad Religion? Strangers with Candy and Tom of Finland? Meet Cari Coleman, proprietor of sarcastic art for the sensitive heart.
A lifelong visual artist, Cari went from delivering pizzas in Florida to delivering some of the very best high-detail tattoos in San Diego. She’s been tattooing since 2005, but she’s been honing her distinct sarcastic style and colorful personality her whole life. The result? Tattoos for the eradication of seemingly endless sadness.
Cari specializes in Neo-traditional, traditional and cartoon style tattoos. She loves kawaii-style tattoos—a Japanese pop-culture term for things that are adorable, cuddly and cute. Of course, Cari puts a spin on the “traditional” kawaii style tattoo: like meat blenders, chihuahua-shrimp and octocats. Cari is also your go to if you’re wanting a Soundwave tattoo – you know, the tattoos you can hear.
Talk about Tattoo Ideas with Cari
Get to Know Cari:
What made you want to be a tattoo artist?
My intentions were to go to art school for animation, but I couldn’t afford tuition, so I did what anyone would do—I moved from Georgia to Florida and began delivering pizzas. The pizza place was next door to a tattoo shop. After being tattooed there for a year or so and developing relationships the artists, I began an apprenticeship and started tattooing in 2005.
What’s your background?
I’ve been creating visual art my entire life. I started drawing around the age of 6, bugs mostly. I progressed to high-detail pen and ink drawings through high school. The portfolio I had built in that time got second place in a competition by the Atlanta College of Art. Once I started tattooing, I immersed myself in the techniques used to create body art. It has significantly affected my work, as I now use a ton of color and I’m always thinking of what would look good on the skin for a very long time.
What styles do you specialize in or prefer to work on?
Neo-traditional, traditional, kawaii, and cartoon. I prefer full color, sarcasm and subversive imagery.
Are there any requests that you turn down?
Very rarely. Usually, if I turn something down, it’s because I’m not comfortable with the style, at which point I refer the client to another artist better suited for the job. I will not tattoo gang related or racist tattoos.
How do you work with your clients?
Once the client contacts me, I set up an in-person consultation if needed. At that time, we go over all possible options, locations, cost, etc. Based on that info, I create a tattoo design which is ready the day of the appointment, or earlier if necessary.
Who is your ideal client?
A client who is open to my interpretation and is excited about their work. Good tippers are awesome, too!
Do you have advice for first timers?
Come in with an open mind and make a tattoo budget. Good tattoos are expensive but totally worth it. I’ve never seen anyone regret a well-made tattoo.
What makes Diego Tattoo Studio the best tattoo shop in San Diego?
Our perpetual learning as artists, genuine care for our clients and pride in our work.