SA Hardcore Tattoos
We like a bit of ink here at the Dojo. And there’s only one place we trust to cut us up good and proper. Introducing Pepi and Dazz, and their legendary Parkhurst shop, SA Hardcore Tattoos…
Ink is a pretty personal thing. And, if your tattoos mean something to you, it helps to have a good relationship with your tattoo artist. Our Gord’s been getting inked by Pepi from SA Hardcore Tattoos since 2006, and he’s only just getting started. Getting cut by Pepi is a real honour for Gord, and he’s really proud that Pepi’s done almost all of his artwork.
Together with fellow awesome artist Daron “Dazz” Gregor, Pepi runs SA Hardcore Tattoos. Their awesome shop is situated on 4th Avenue and 11th Street, Parkhurst, just behind Espresso’s. Check out some of Pepi’s work, pics of the shop, and a bit of commentary from Gord about some of his tattoos…
Painting With Blood…
Every couple of weeks, I head out to Parkhurst for my little inking ritual. It’s really exciting for me. I make regular one-hour, or hour-and-a-half appointments with Pepi (he doesn’t like to book longer sessions than that, because he digs to stay really focused on each specific piece.)
Pepi’s in heavy demand, and you’ve gotta book him long in advance. I have a lot of designs that I want done, so I generally have four or five standing appointments with him, and I make a few more after every two or three. That way, I never have to wait more than a couple of weeks or so between sessions.
Pepi and Dazz, with help from their apprentices, run the shop together. There’s two tattoo chairs, a waiting area, reception desk, state-of-the-art hygiene gear in the back, and a hi-fi that pumps out rock, hardcore and old-skool punk tunes. Aside from some rad retro decor, that’s it.
Pepi’s a friend, and a really talented artist. Widely regarded as one of the very best in South Africa. And world-class at his artform. So is Dazz, even if I haven’t (yet) had the pleasure of going under his gun. I will soon enough, but I have a lot of planned work to get through with Pepi first. I’ve had to wait a lot of years to get the ink I want (we’ll get to that later) and now there’s no stopping me.
The shop has a very cool vibe. Pepi’s not just a tattoo artist. He’s also the guitarist (and former drummer) of heavyweight SA hardcore band Bloodline LTD, as well as punk ensemble Last Bout (which also features Rockwell from Fuzigish and Vossie from Bloodline.)
He also collects classic American muscle cars, as well as motorbikes and guitars. The shop has an awesome rockabilly vibe as a result. It’s a place where I really like to hang out. Even if it’s just to say hi to my friends. I never pass through Parkhurst without at least saying hi and offering the boys a coffee.
Tattoos are a pretty personal thing. And you have to trust your artist. I go to Pepi with reference-pictures and an idea. He’ll let me know whether it’s a good move, the pros and cons, and suggest alternative ideas, colours and placement positions.
Then, once we’ve agreed on the general vibe, I just leave him to it. I trust him implicitly. It’s cool to see how it turns out once he’s done. It’s always that little bit radder than what I originally had in mind.
You’ve gotta book pretty far in advance if you want work from Pepi or Dazz. So, if you’re thinking about it, go see the guys, and take your artwork references. They can also draw something up for you, or show you some examples of what you describe if you’re not completely certain what you’re after.
Once you’ve discussed the work and the price, and everyone’s happy, book your appointment. This prevents cold feet or endless pondering, and gives you something to look forward to. Also, a longer wait gives you time to really consider the work, discuss it with friends, and make changes before you commit.
I’m more of a decide-and-go type. But I’ve had years to think about it. I’ve wanted so many tattoos since I was a teenager, but I used to be really fat (check out that story here if you wanna know more) and I was forced to hold off on almost all of them for long years.
It’s kinda spiritual for me when I get cut now. The longer I stay on top of my weight, the more I can reward myself by executing more and more of my plan. The short(ish) sessions with Pepi mean doing bigger pieces in increments, which I also really like; seeing a piece develop over three or four phases. From outlines, to preliminary shading, to final colour and then, later, additional detail and touch-ups.
The pic above is of the work I had done yesterday afternoon. Pic by my Mojo-partner, iDale.
It’s the logo of Death by Ninja – the hardcore/metal band for whom I’m honoured to play bass guitar. We just released our first single for free. Listen to it or download it here. This tattoo is my tribute
to my bandmates, and our music. It’s also awesome that Pepi has done the work, because his band Bloodline LTD are a huge influence on us and we really look up to them. Check ‘em out if you like the heavy stuff.
This piece was outlined about four weeks ago, and is the first phase in a half-sleeve I have planned. Next, I’ll get an image of Sub-Zero and Scorpion from Mortal Kombat (check out our review of the new MK game here) underneath. I can’t wait.
This piece (above) is the dearest of all my tattoos. I got it shortly after October 10 2009, when I lost the 52nd kilogram of my 65-odd I needed to shed, and weighed less than 100kg for the first time in my adult life. Like the Death By Ninja logo, it was designed by my wonderful friend Shane Forbes from Pestroy.
Perseverance is the name of a song and an album by the band Hatebreed, whose music was vital to my weight-loss mission (their name might not suggest it, but it’s really uplifting, positive, empowering music.) Shane designed it using the same font as Hatebreed’s own band logo. Pepi suggested the black-to-red fade. It reminds me every day of where I have come from, and where I must never go back to.
These are a few more pieces Pepi’s “painted” onto me. On the left, my mech warrior, whom I’ve lovingly dubbed “Metal Lord Gump” in tribute to my best friend Greg Russell. It’s taken two sessions so far (three if you count the “many weapons” text beneath, which Pepi designed) and still needs two more sittings for colour and additional detail.
The pic in the middle is of me in Pepi’s chair. A place I really enjoying spending time. It’s always a privilege.
Finally, the one on the right is the picture from a poster-flag I had in my bedroom from age 14 or so, until my then-girlfriend made me take it down when I was 21-ish. I still have it. My love of Metallica runs deep (and is too long and boring a story to tell here.) That picture was taken after the second last session I had done on it. Pepi knew what it meant to me, and, in the end, did a job that I treasure.
So, that’s my story. I can’t recommend SA Hardcore highly enough. Both artists there are just that – true artists. And really good dudes. Respect and gratitude.
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