PROSSER — One doesn’t ordinarily go online to Yelp or walk downtown looking for a tattoo shop in Prosser, Wash., but it’s time to change that. The little can-do town with an agricultural bent, high stakes high school football and non-stop community events can add a serious tattoo stop to its’ credentials.
The sign already reads: Studio 11
David Gonzalez, tattoo artist, is the son of a single mother who raised her six children in his Prosser hometown. He knows hardship, connection and making do. He also understands art fulfills him, so does connection to people, family and diversity in his day. From this knowledge, he’s created a busy, balanced and happy life for himself.
In November of 2017, Gonzalez and his wife, Rebekah, took possession of a studio on the busy Sixth Street in Prosser. It’s nestled in the food and libation part of downtown. “The partners in crime,” as David describes the partnership, opened for business in March of 2018.
Gonzalez’ tattoo art is diverse as his customer’s imagination and his own. Rebekah is a by appointment eyebrow microblading artist. The couple have five children, ages 21 to 4.
Gonzalez grew up drawing. As a young boy, he and his art were featured in his hometown paper special section. He has dabbled in art, kept it central in his life and completed an art design course. It took a visit to the small town’s only tattoo artist 14 years ago that the ‘I can do this as a professional’ epiphany hit.
The next day, according to Gonzalez, he purchased his tattoo apprenticeship training kit, began learning the process. In time, he became state licensed and certified, and has learned to work the tattooing in and around his existing job, as the New Car Manager for Tom Denchel Ford of Prosser.
After 13 years, Gonzalez is both a manager and the owner of a highly respected, hip body art shop. According to Gonzalez, a self-professed people person, “I’m no ordinary car guy.”
The art is the piece of the tattoo process which gives the work its standing and longevity. But according to Gonzalez, customers bring their stories and emotions to him and want those translated in ink onto their bodies. In exchange for the customer’s story, Gonzalez gives them information about the art’s placement, care, touch ups, perceptions, and then gets down to the art side of things.
“I’ve had to talk a few people down. At 18, some have wanted that full skeleton piece on the neck. I educate. I don’t rush. It’s like, let’s think this thing through,” said Gonzalez.
There is no preferred style or medium for Gonzalez. He welcomes the small to the elaborate. “I will take on anything. From the black and white fine point to the bold color. I don’t want to be put into a corner,” said Gonzalez.
“I get bored fast,” according to Gonzalez. So, every day in the artist’s life is very different. “It’s part of the fun. I meet people, make friends, friends refer friends. I take care of art for families,” said Gonzalez.
His life plan is operating well, with the ability to tailor his two work schedules around both his work responsibilities, his family and his art.
“The tattoo time is a personal time. I don’t ever want rush it; this way I don’t have to,” said Gonzalez.