Name: Javier Rivera
Shop: Live Free
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Specialty: Traditional-based illustrative
Years tattooing: 11-12
How did you get your start as an artist?
I grew up around art all my life. My aunt was a really good artist all throughout her youth and my older brother was a really great artist all throughout grade school. Couple that with a young love for comic books and I think that was the beginning.
How did you get your start tattooing?
I was going to school at a technical college to be an auto tech. It just so happened that one of my instructors had a daughter who was a piercer at a local shop. One day I had some drawings laying around and unbeknownst to me, she took them to the shop to show the dude. Long story short, the dude invited me in. I hung around for a few weeks or so. He showed me how to set up a machine once and put me to work.
There’s an incredible diversity in your portfolio, something that is even more surprising, considering your lack of formal training. What would you attribute that too?
I’ve been so lucky to have had some really great people take me in and share their knowledge with me, especially two dudes from my home town to whom I’m forever grateful (Kris Dillworth and Sean Rhodes of Tough Luck Lewes DE). If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve also worked, and guest-spotted with a lot of very gracious people.
Rotary or Coil and why?
Both. I believe every tool has its job.
If the Javi Rivera from now could go back and tell the Javi from 12 years ago one thing, what would it be?
Do more psychedelics.
Any parting words of wisdom?
THANK YOU! Thank you to everyone I’ve met, tattooed, learned from, and hopefully taught. From the past, in the present, and in the future.