Head to toe, finger tip to finger tip—there is no missing the tattoos on Edgar Acevedo.
Those tattoos often come with discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices.
Where do these stigma arise?
Jose Martinez, a security officer at the Pierce College Sheriff’s Station, said tattoos were originally used to keep track of slaves in Ancient Greece.
Certainly, things have changed. But Acevedo, 27, a native of Van Nuys, Calif., understands that his extreme tattooing means many people may judge him negatively at first glance.
A Mexican-American raised in Pacoima, Acevedo grew up an orphan. He was taken in by his great-aunt and uncle.
At 15, Acevedo received his first tattoo—an entire back piece.
For some years he hid the tattoos, but when he was 18 he stopped hiding the work. His following piece was a tattoo covering most of his neck.
“The rest came easy,” he said. “The hard part is the other people—the assumptions they make. I don’t really see any adversities. That’s the thing, I don’t really care what people have to say.”
Acevedo embraced traditionalist tattooing and became a body artist. The first tattoo he made was on his brother.
After leaving his first job, which he had held onto for five years at Red Zone, a local punkrock store inside the Panorama City Mall, Edgar toiled as a henna artist on the Venice Beach boardwalk along with picking up side gigs.
Acevedo was offered an apprenticeship by Rockabilly Ray, where he worked as his apprentice for three years. Rockabilly Ray has been a storied pioneer in the Latino-punk tattooing community.
His third year of working at the shop he met a girl, who became the mother to his daughter.
“I left the shop when Jazzmine was born,” he said. “I’m an orphan. That was the best day of my life.”
Acevedo said he doesn’t care what people think.
“Once they hear my voice it all changes,” he said. “Plus you can’t be a bad person when you love your daughter as much as I do.”
Long time friend Daniel Mooney said, “He’s kind of like a pit bull. If you’re nice to him, he’ll be nice back. He’s always been this way.”
As a junior in high school, Acevedo pushed to break the stereotype, bypassing his final semester with a 4.1 grade point average.
Jazzmine shares her dad’s passion.
“She tends to be nicer to people with tattoos than without,” Acevedo said.
He rarely adds a new piece to his collection.
“Times are rough,” he said.
He’s worked as a bodyguard and head of security at former jobs prior to finding his most recent and full-time job as a maintenance mechanic for Moultan Logistics Management.
”I was very fortunate to apply to an agency that got me the job,” he said. “Neither the agency or the company cared.”
But Acevedo’s co-workers did have an issue with it.
“They first thought that I was a white supremacist,” he said.
According to Pierce College Adjunct Professor of Philosophy Paul Hicks, who has several tattoos, more people are accepting of them.
“But there are exceptions and I have to worry about those exceptions.” Hicks said. “I want to offend people in the right way, the way they should be offended.”