I sat down with tattoo artist Christian Marek, based in Orange County, California this weekend for our interview and ended up getting a lot more than I bargained for. He is an OG and very well respected in the industry. Not only is Christian incredibly talented, he’s also one of the coolest, most genuine artists I have yet to have interviewed. Get ready for one amazing story, buckle up folks.
At the age of 7 Christian’s mom married the President of the infamous biker club, the Hell’s Angels. One day he stumbled upon his stepfather’s Easy Rider/Outlaw Biker magazines and began looking through one of them. He came across an article on tattooing that peaked his interest. This article had pictures and descriptions of actual tattoo equipment, and Christian started building his first homemade tattoo machine. At the age of 9 he started actually tattooing kids in his neighborhood around the same age. The only artistic references he had were images from the magazines, which back in the 80’s were mainly biker and jailhouse tats. These references made their way to the bodies of the neighborhood kids, which were not only permanent but some were images of skulls and naked women, not exactly the kind of art a mom wants inked on her child. Needless to say, Christian was somewhat of a hell raiser from an early age and the next few years had landed him in some trouble with the law. This shaped his life in more ways than one. Having lived in California all of his life, he was given the choice to leave the state or go to jail. Marek moved to Arizona and decided then and there that he wanted a different life, and he told his mother of his aspirations to become a tattoo artist. Her response? You better fuckin’ do it right then. This phrase seems to penetrate all aspects of Marek’s life, from how he approaches a tattoo to making the experience a lasting cherished memory for the client. You would be hard pressed to find an artist that seems to care more about his clients than he does.