In 2002, Nikko stopped into Art Junkies Tattoo Studio in Hesperia to see how Mike was doing. Mike had been tattooing for a while and offered Nikko an apprenticeship. The only experience Nikko had with tattoos was the gang or prison tattoos he had seen on friends and family. He didn’t even have a tattoo himself. Regardless, the next day Nikko picked up a machine and started tattooing soon after.
After just a year of tattooing Nikko did a tattoo that would change his career forever – a Batman color portrait. This was his first color portrait that he ever attempted and when it was complete the client entered it into the Pomona Tattoo Portrait Contest and took home First Place. It would be one of many awards he would collect over the years, but that portrait put him on the map.
Nikko started being featured on numerous TV shows such as LA Ink, Tattoo Wars, Tori & Dean, and Spike TV’s Ink Master. His TV appearances drew attention from celebrities and allowed him to tattoo Musicians Drake, The Game, Fred Durst, Wes Borland, Brandon Boyd, Jose Pasillas, Wale, Andrew WK, and Cheryl Cole; Athletes Carlos Boozer and Chris Cole; Actors Guillermo Diaz and Jenna Jameson; and celebrities Jeffree Star, Jesse James, and Kat Von D.
Right in the middle of his career boom, Nikko started the Black Anchor Collective tattoo studio in 2009. “I noticed that many of my clients were flying in from all over the World to get tattooed,” he says “I want my clients to feel special and to know that I appreciate them. I just wanted to give them more of myself.”
And he did give more of himself by implementing the anchor as the centerpiece for the studio and his brand. The anchor is a very personal symbol for Nikko, not only does it pay homage to classic tattooing iconography, but it also represents friendship, family, and love. It reminds him to stay grounded and focused on what is important.www.nikkohurtado.com