Uncle Josh doesn’t just specialize in one area of tattooing, he prefers doing both traditional and portrait work. Josh Chesler Much of America’s tattooing tradition comes from the military, with Navy sailors being a strong part of tattooing history. It so happens that Josh Gargalione’s interest in tattoos was sparked before his service time, but he still sees the clear connection.
"A lot of it has to do with the rite of passage," says Gargalione, who goes by the name "Uncle Josh" and tattoos out of Phoenix’s Leap of Faith Tattoo and Body Piercing . "Young men join the military, and the tattoos are a way of solidifying their masculinity and adulthood."
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Uncle Josh spent over four years on active duty in the Navy, which happened to lead to him getting his first tattoo while in Singapore from legendary tattooer Johnny Two Thumbs, but that wasn’t what initially got the 37-year-old artist interested in tattooing.
"I got interested in tattoos from my grandfather, who was a World War II veteran and got his tattoos in Hawaii," Gargalione says. "I’d always been interested in tattoos. I’ve been drawing since I was 8, and I used to draw designs on myself. Then I started doing some hand-poked stuff on myself."
These days, the Los Angeles native has been tattooing for over 13 years and enjoys the traveling aspect of tattooing, particularly when it allows him to go see the members of his family who still live in Southern California. As much as he enjoys heading out to Orange County to do guest spots at shops like American Vintage, Uncle Josh says the real benefit of tattooing is the people you meet through the art form.
"I met my wife through tattooing. I did her first tattoo when she was 18," Gargalione says. "It’s crazy how many cool people I’ve met through tattooing that […]