Anthony Diaz of Glendale's Knucklehead Tattoo on Biomechanical Tattoos and Wacom Tablets

Josh Chesler
Anthony Diaz of Knucklehead Tattoo & Piercing takes on another detailed biomechanical piece.

Anthony Diaz realized when he was just a little kid that he wanted to be some kind of artist, but he didn't really consider tattooing until his coworkers started asking him for tattoos.

"Ever since I was little, I was always drawing," Diaz says. "I always wanted to do art, but I went to a mechanics school. While I was there, the other guys would see me drawing on my papers and started asking me to do tattoos on them."

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Ian Loughlin of Chandler's Disciple Tattoo on Realism and Gangster Unicorn Tattoos

Josh Chesler
Loughlin's black and grey realism work is some of the best in the Valley.

When Ian Loughlin's brother bought him a tattoo kit and asked for a tattoo, he probably didn't expect it to lead to a career.

"I was just doing graffiti and drawing at the time, and I was getting tattooed myself a lot, so my brother just asked me to tattoo him," says Loughlin, now one of the Valley's top artists at Disciple Tattoo in Chandler. "The kit came with some fake skin to practice tattooing on, but I wanted to really learn how to tattoo before I tattooed my brother."

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Mario G. of Tempe's Lady Luck Tattoo Gallery on His Maleficent, Starbucks, and Spongebob Tattoos

Josh Chesler
Mario G is one of Metro Phoenix's top young tattoo artists.

When 26-year-old Mario G. stopped by a tattoo shop to watch his buddy get tattooed, he didn't think it would lead him to tattooing as a career.

It just so happened that on that particular day in 2007, Mario was wearing a T-shirt that he had designed and silkscreened. The artists at the shop took notice of the shirt and asked him who drew the design.

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Mikey Sarratt of Phoenix's High Noon Tattoo on Tattooing the Arizona Coyotes

Courtesy of Mikey Sarratt
Mikey Sarratt of High Noon Tattoos focuses on the traditional fundamentals of tattoos in all forms of his art.

When Mikey Sarratt was growing up, he wanted to be a hockey player. Sarratt's NHL aspirations didn't work out, but now, after a stint in semi-pro hockey, he gets to be involved with the Arizona Coyotes in a different way. He tattoos most of them.

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Meg McNiel of Phoenix's Love and Hate Tattoo & Piercing on Straight-Up Old-School Tattoos

Courtesy of Meg McNiel
Meg McNiel is one of Phoenix's most experienced and accomplished "old school" tattoo artists

When she was 13, Meg McNiel, now co-owner of Love and Hate Tattoo & Piercing in Phoenix, hand-poked a moon tattoo on her ankle in her home outside Seattle.

"I don't even know how I knew it, but I knew that if you wrapped a sewing needle in thread so just the end was exposed and dipped it in India ink, the ink would stay when you poked yourself with it," McNiel says.

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Stephanie Flannery of Phoenix's Golden Rule Tattoo on Why She Loves Pet Tattoos

Josh Chesler
Flannery is one of Central Phoenix's most popular up-and-coming tattoo artists.

Some tattoo artists specialize in Japanese-style bodysuits, while others focus on more traditional Americana pieces. Golden Rule Tattoo's Stephanie Flannery thinks those are cool and all, but she's more interested in creating tattoos of a different subject matter.

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Tony Klett of Mesa's Immaculate Tattoo on Why There's No Excuse for Bad Ink

Josh Chesler
Klett has a Raijin and Fujin Japanese-style sleeve on his left arm done by legendary tattoo artist Mike Roper.

Tony Klett has seen the growth of the tattoo culture firsthand. When Klett began his tattoo apprenticeship in 1999, there were only three tattoo shops around the portion of Ohio he lived in, now Klett says there are about 20.

"Tattooing is mainstream now. It's in everybody's face," Klett, 37, says. "Back then, the attitude was different. There were just the three shops in town, two good ones and the cheap one."

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Mark Walters of Tempe's Living Canvas Tattoos on His One Tattoo Regret

Josh Chesler
Mark Walters is one of the most highly regarded Japanese-style tattoo artists in Metro Phoenix.

Mark Walters is just another victim of the evil subject known as math.

The owner and one of the artists at Living Canvas Tattoos in Tempe didn't intend to go into tattooing, he wanted to work with his dad as an architect, but he always found himself struggling with the numbers side of the architecture business. When he began his first apprenticeship in 1987, Walters, 44, says people's views on tattoos were quite a bit different than they are today.

"It wasn't the cool thing, having tattoos or being an artist. I think celebrities, athletes, public personas getting tattoos really changed how people look at them," Walters says. "I used to go places and people would be like 'Holy shit!' because of my sleeves, now if you go somewhere and you don't have sleeves, people are surprised."

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Tempe Stylist Justin Kimberlin's Androgynous Look Is Inspired by BDSM and the Olsen Twins

Andie Flores
Justin Kimberlin rocks a modern androgynous look.

Believe it or not, Justin Kimberlin went through an Abercrombie & Fitch phase.

Don't ask him to see pictures -- the 23-year-old Nashville native burned them a long time ago. Now based in Tempe, the stylist's current look is a gender-bending parade where fear is irrelevant and freak flags fly high.

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Ashley Denton Wants Phoenix to Express Itself with Fashion -- And Be Less Judgmental

Andie Flores
Ashley Denton shows off her style in front of a neighborhood mural by Gennaro Garcia.

All of Ashley Eaton Denton's interests are beginning to come full circle.

The 28-year-old -- born and raised in Phoenix -- used to run her own mobile vintage shop and is now focusing on shaping Field & Fellow, the new fitness, vintage, art, and D.I.Y. blog she runs with her husband, Trevor. It's a lifestyle.

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