“I’m here to continue to love what I do, and work with people who give me the opportunity to express myself as an artist. As long as I’m content, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a big crowd or a small crowd, as long as people love what I give them and as long as I’m able to enjoy what I do, it doesn’t matter where.” Said Juan Alvarez a professional tattoo artist based out in a studio in Davenport, IA
Originally from Santa Ana, California, Alvarez moved to Moline, IL. with his family when he was in his junior year in high school.
Though the change to the Quad Cities was a bit of a culture shock for him, with time the “smaller town feeling” grew on Alvarez and observing the interaction of the people in this community is something he appreciated seeing. But whether it be a big city or a small town, his purpose is clear,
Based out of the Red Owl Collective studio in Davenport, IA., Alvarez has delivered his professional tattoo services to a growing list of clients – many, now established and returning clients who have loyally continued with Alvarez since their first session with the tattoo artist.
Alvarez’s journey to becoming a tattoo artist started 6 years ago as an apprentice at a local shop. Alvarez, known for his ability to create defined and clean tattoos, his personal touch and uniqueness to his work has proven to be a reflection of how deep his dedication is to the originality of his craft. It comes as no surprise that his name and his work would be making a wave in the community before long.
Alvarez has taken advantage of every opportunity. Whether it was watching videos or reading forums on the craft of tattooing; Alvarez dedicated all the time he could to become prepared.
“Party time, hanging out with friends, relationships. Nothing mattered besides this.” Says Alvarez.
Those sacrifices have certainly been paying off – requests for a tattoo session with the artist continue to be in high demand. Many people are hoping to make the cut for a session whenever his appointment book opens – which is typically booked out 3-4months.
Though Alvarez continues to establish his name even more in the tattoo industry here in the Quad Cities, he doesn’t allow himself to get comfortable. Even with the experience he’s gained and the impressive resume under his belt, Alvarez still considers himself a student in this craft.
“I’m still not satisfied at all. I’m as good as my last tattoo, so if I have a resume of great tattoos but if the tattoo I did yesterday was bad, nothing else matters but the tattoo I did yesterday. I have to keep on setting the bar higher than I did before..” said Alvarez
Alvarez continues “…I’m never comfortable with what I do. People can say ‘this [tattoo] is amazing!’ – I don’t care, because I know I can do better. I want to be one of the best in the world.”
Alvarez has experimented with different styles and methods of tattooing like colors, black and grey, and stippling to name a few, but his style is not defined to a specific one for now.
“Since day one what I’ve always gravitated to is realism. To be particular, more specific, the style I have been playing with more is with double exposure, where you put one image inside of another, or a morph – where you transition one image to another.” said Alvarez
Alvarez definitely welcomes requests that are different or out of his norm but being given the artistic freedom to provide his clients with something original, is always a must!
“I want to give you something that you would be proud of, that not anyone has. I want to keep pushing the envelope and stay innovative and not follow trends…” said Alvarez
When speaking of his clients, Alvarez expresses his devotion to providing them with the best experience possible.
Alvarez continued “…I genuinely care about what I put on my clients. I care about the way the tattoo looks and the way it looks on them. At each consultation I talk about the in and out’s, what looks good, what doesn’t look good based off their skin; their ideas and how I approach it, just to really custom tailor everything to them.”
To Alvarez, tattoos aren’t just a “tattoo” anymore, they’re a fashion statement. Seeing how his client’s confidence boosts when getting their tattoo is something that Alvarez truly values.
“You’re changing someone’s attitude for the better. That’s one of the most important things for me, to make them feel good, more confident, make them feel better in their skin…” said Alvarez
Alvarez continues “…one of the biggest accomplishments for me, is that I’m slowly seeing the success that all of this hard work I have been putting in is finally surfacing. People seeking me out, people finding me and telling me I’m worth the wait, I’m worth the price. Things that people say like ‘I’ve heard about you’ or ‘I love your work.’ – those things validate the work I put in.” Said Alvarez
Amongst his accomplishments this year as well, Alvarez became one of “INDUSTRY INKS” Sponsored Artists.
Alvarez and the Red Owl Team have also brought in quite a few wins from their recent participation at a tattoo convention in Iowa.