The best horror movies, like the best tattoos, are the ones that capture your attention and your imagination. Marissa Gray exists at the intersection where these two weird, wonderful and beautiful worlds collide.
She is one of the best horror-themed tattoo artists in San Diego. Horror tattoos fall under the stylistic umbrella of “realism,” and that’s exactly where Marissa’s artistic talents shine. She also specializes in watercolor tattoos and loves working on some of the sweeter subjects in life, like flowers, gaming and Disney characters.
If you’re looking for something more traditional or along the lines of mandala or henna tattoos, Marissa recommends checking out some of the other amazing artists at Diego Tattoo. Otherwise, if it’s realism you’re into (the spookier the better) say hello to your new favorite artist.
Marissa can be pretty shy in the “real world,” but you wouldn’t know it while getting tattooed by her. She wants her clients to have a great experience and a really good time. That’s the story of Diego Tattoo Gallery, and it’s why Marissa’s clients come back to her time and time again.
Interested in working with Marissa? Submit a request for consult below or connect with Marissa on Instagram to talk about your tattoo ideas.
Talk about Tattoo Ideas with Marissa
Get to Know Marissa:
What made you want to be a tattoo artist?
When I was in the fifth grade, I would draw a lot and already knew that I wanted to have a career in the arts, but I didn’t have a specific job in mind. What initially sparked my interest in tattoos was music. My favorite band at the time, all of the members were covered in tattoos and I remember being so intrigued. Then I started watching TV shows about tattooing with my mom and noticing how women could flourish in such a male-dominated industry. It was truly inspiring and that really solidified my decision to pursue tattooing as a profession.
What’s your background?
I started my apprenticeship at a shop in Lemon Grove, CA. I would draw all the time and I was constantly observing my peers and mentors while they worked. Eventually I started tattooing walk-ins. The apprenticeship was challenging, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. It shaped me into the tattoo artists I am today, and I’m truly grateful.
What styles do you specialize in or prefer to work on?
I really love working on black and grey realism, color realism and watercolor tattoos. Also, any subjects along the lines of horror, floral, gaming and Disney. My favorite kind of pieces are anything horror related. I don’t get to do them often, but when I do, I enjoy the overall process so much.
What are your goals as a tattoo artist?
My goals are to eventually have a private studio where I can play whatever weird music I like and be booked out enough to buy as many Funko POPS! I want without feeling guilty. I would also love to mainly do more dark/horror pieces in the future.
Are there any requests that you turn down?
Normally if I turn down a piece, it’s because I know another artist is more qualified to properly execute it. For me, that would be traditional, new school, lettering, mandala and henna. Pretty much anything that’s not within my main styles, I try to stay away from those pieces for the benefit of the client.
How do you work with your clients?
With my clients I try to be as attentive as possible to their needs and concerns while also giving them guidance to help with their design and elevate the overall tattoo experience. I’m normally shy, but when I’m with a client I leave my shell to interact and entertain the best I can. I want them to have a great time, and it makes me really happy when they do!
Who is your ideal client?
The ideal client for me is someone who is completely trusting and gives me reign to do whatever I want as an artist. It’s always a more enjoyable process when you’re not confined to certain guidelines and a strict design. I’ve had a handful of people allow me the privilege and they’re some of my all-time favorite pieces.
Do you have advice for first timers?
First timers, definitely do your research before getting your first tattoo. Look at different shops and artists that you think will fit the style you want, set up a consultation and listen to any advice they suggest to make your tattoo better. Don’t be late to your appointment. Stay clam and find something to distract you while getting tattooed if it becomes too much. Listen to your artist when it comes to tattoo aftercare. And don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the process. We’re here to answer your questions and make you feel more comfortable, so don’t be afraid to ask!
What makes Diego Tattoo Studio the best tattoo shop in San Diego?
Diego Tattoo Gallery is by far the best shop I could ever ask to be apart of. All of the amazing tattoo artists are really good at what they do, and such awesome people in general. We’re all very supportive of each other as well, and that’s my favorite quality in a work environment. In general, we’re all just weird art kids that were able to make a career out of doodling on the sides of our homework.
How do we connect with you online?
IG – @disneylandacid