Next in our Artist Spotlight series, we interview Pro-Team Artist Albert "Mr. Beto" Huerta. Mr. Beto is currently at “My Pride Tattoo” in Lindon, Utah.
In part one we discuss how he grew into his tattooing career.
ID: How long have you been tattooing?
Mr. B: Professionally for 10 years, but I started long before that. When I was in 6th grade, I tattooed a classmate at school. When he went home, he got caught and told his parents who did it. I got suspended for 5 days!
When I was in LA, I worked construction and did tattooing on the side, out of my house. My style was more gang related. I tried a few shops in LA, but I was shot down. I never thought I would be a professional tattoo artist.
Moving to Utah, I changed my life and my career. I got a job in a local tattoo shop where I was given a chance as an artist, applying my style and learning new styles as well. The shop owner told me I had talent, he pushed me to expand what I could do. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Now I take appointments and really enjoy what I do. Our shop has won the Best of Utah, 3 years in a row.
ID: What is your favorite style of tattooing and why?
Mr. B: I grew up doing black and grey, Chicano-style because it was what I was used to.
Now I do other styles including realistic and color. I didn’t try color until I got to Utah and I love doing color. It takes more time, but it is worth it. I never imagined I would be able to do color that way I do it now.
ID: What makes you different?
Mr. B: I learned the old school way; make your own equipment and inks, do tattoos out of your house. When I was a kid, the only people who had tattoos where in the military, in gangs, or in prison. People were judged harshly if you had a tattoo. Tattooing was harder because you had to actually draw on people.
Today it is a very different world, everyone has ink! And there are better tools, too. Using computers and stencils has really changed the industry. The inks are so much better. Back in the day, ink was poor quality and it faded quickly. Tattooing today is better all-around then years ago.
ID: What has been your most interesting/unique tattooing experience as an artist?
Mr. B: I had an 18-year old man contact me. He sat for 8 hours, for his first tattoo. He had a purpose; he wanted to cover his scars. He was a cutter*. Those 8 hours I worked on his ribs and part of the design went up his neck and this only covered 1/3 of the scarred area. He kept coming back to cover the scars – we spent over 40 hours working on tattoos to cover the scars.
After covering the scars, he would call me when he had an urge to cut. He wanted to get tattoos instead of cutting. I would clear my schedule immediately to get him in and get to work on him ASAP.
Getting tattoos changed his life. He is happy and thriving. He doesn’t have urges to cut, but he does enjoy getting tattoos. Looking at the kid who came to me years ago to cover his scars and looking at him now, there is a big change for him, and it is a change for the good.
*According to Psychology Today, the technical term for cutting is non-suicidal self-injury, and it’s defined as the deliberate, self-inflicted destruction of body tissue.
Albert “Mr. Beto” Huerta is busy growing in his tattoo career while also being a single parent to a teenage son. He continues to expand his tattooing skills, while also learning airbrushing and pin-striping. He enjoys art, cars, and being creative in many aspects of his life.