Marcus Pacheco
Where in the world is Marcus Pacheco?
Interview by Crash

Marcus Pacheco's colossal influence on the tattoo community is undeniable. Everywhere I travel I hear stories from fellow tattooers about how big an impact he had on their art or their approach to tattooing, and it continues to this day. Marcus' work exploded onto the tattoo world in the early 1990's, forever changing the landscape of modern tattooing. If we were to never see another piece of Marcus' work, he would still be designated as one of tattoo's all-time superstars. Thankfully, we have some new photos of Marcus' work, as well as some classic Marcus Pacheco pieces.

Crash: I think that probably everyone who reads this interview already knows who you are and easily recognizes a lot of your work, but I'm not sure that people really know your history. So I want to start with just a little bit of that history. Where did you start tattooing at?

Marcus: In New York; Brooklyn.

Did you do an actual apprenticeship?

No, I was all self taught. I saved my pennies and bought a Spaulding & Rogers tattoo kit.

Ha, those things sold well back then, didn't they?

Yep. That was before they had the A-Z book too. I remember thinking, "Why didn't that come with my shit?!"

Yeah... "Where's my manual?"

Then I saw the book afterwards, like a few years later, and I was really kinda glad I never saw it before that because it had some really questionable information in it.


What year did you start tattooing?

It was like 15 years ago. It was probably around '88 or '89 that I started getting serious about it. I ordered my kit around '87, but it just sorta sat around. I tooled around on myself a little bit and kinda put it on a shelf and it sat there for some time. Then I started getting serious. I think '89 was when I opened up my first studio...

What was that studio called?

Primal Urge. I've always used that name.

Anyone really influence you at that time?

Let's see ... first there was Mike McCabe. He basically kicked me out of his shop at one point. (Laughter). I had been tattooing for a few months and thought I should go in to a shop and actually see how people did this stuff. So I go into Mike's studio and started asking him questions. He asks me if I make my own needles yet, at that point - and I was still ordering pre-mades from wherever - when I told him that, he asked me not to come back into his shop until I could make my own needles. At first, I thought, "Man, what a hardass," but then I thought, "Y'know, he's right. I should have to work at this." I reminded him of all that stuff a few years ago in NY and he wanted to apologize for giving me a hard time, but I really learned from it. It shouldn't be easy to do or learn this, and that I would appreciate it so much more if it was hard and I had to earn all of it. Actually, he taught me a lot this way ... he made this whole speech about how I shouldn't be handed anything about tattooing, that I should work for every bit of it. And I respect him a lot for that.

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