Shop spotlight

American Graffiti Tattoo

American Graffiti Tattoo
1617 J Street, (916) 443-7778

How long has the shop been in business?

Thea Hogan (tattoo artist): Twenty years.

Do the artists have portfolios?


How many years of experience do tattoo artists at your shop have, on average?

Eight to 10 years.

Did the artists serve an apprenticeship in a shop?

Yes, they did, and [the place] varies person to person. I have two artists that this is the only place they’ve ever tattooed, and they both have tattooed for over eight years.

Do you sterilize your equipment in a professional autoclave?

Yes, everything goes through a form of sterilization. We’re a single-service shop, so the needles are only used once; the tubes are autoclaved, they’re cleaned, they’re bagged, and then they go through the sterilization process, and then we use different chemicals to spray the rest of our equipment.

Do your artists specialize in any type of art: realism, traditional, etc.?

We do portraits, we do a lot of traditional tattoos and we’re a custom tattoo shop. So anything you have a preference for, we can draw up anything.

If a customer isn’t satisfied with the design or sketch of the tattoo, what is your policy?

Oh, we redraw it until they are happy with what they have.

Do you accept walk-ins or just appointments?


How much is a deposit? Is it refundable?

They’re $60 for a drawing deposit. They go towards the tattoo, and they are refundable.

Do you charge by the hour or by the piece?

By the piece.

Are touch-ups free? Do you guarantee your shop’s work?

We guarantee our tattoos for life, and all touch-ups are free.

Do your artists work in other mediums: acrylic, oils, charcoal?

Yes, we all do different forms of art. I think everybody here is an artist for sure. I do ceramics. There’s art all over the shop, watercolor, acrylics, woodworking—everybody has different forms of art, I think, maybe coming from artistic backgrounds. I think we all find pleasure in it.

What makes a good customer?

Somebody who sits still and has knowledge of tattooing, so they know what they’re getting themselves into before they’re here.

What would you want to know about a shop if you were the customer?

I would want to know about sterilization, how long they’ve been in business, [I would] look at portfolios, cleanliness of the shop. Personally, I would like to get along with my tattoo artist, so I would want to definitely talk to them and make sure that I’m comfortable with whoever would be working on me.