We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniel Reyes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daniel, what role has risk played in your life or career?
This is a tricky one, one I’ve struggled with through my tattooing career. I’m the type of person that can get comfortable in a situation if it’s not entirely horrible. But I will say that my masochism for these bad situations has made me reach breaking points where I find myself taking big risks that really paid off and have improved my life immensely. My even being in the industry I’m in was a risk. I had initially wanted to be an art teacher but it didn’t play out that way. I started apprenticing and doing horrible tattoos on my myself and my friends. My parents never thought it was a good idea and didnt agree with what I was doing with my life. Tattooing isn’t the first thing you think of when you bring up the topic of financial success but the hard work has paid off. Leaving my first shop was a scary risk. I didn’t know if I was going to get much business because I was planning on working out of a private studio where I wouldn’t have any walk-in clientele. Risk paid off though and my business continued to flow and it allowed me the luxury of having freedom with my schedule. My mental health as well as my skills improved because of this freedom. Moving to another state, away from the clientele I built for years was another big risk I took. I wanted a better life for my wife and I and the family we were planning on having. The gamble totally paid off, I found a shop that I love working at, clients that have allowed me to continue to evolve as an artist, as well as a better financial situation for my family and I. Without risks there aren’t often rewards.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started off painting and drawing and then transitioned into tattooing in my twenties. I feel like my years in martial arts, and wrestling in particular cultivated a discipline and grind hard type of work ethic in me. I feel like a large part of my success is due to that work ethic and goal setting mindset I’ve developed. Looking back at what I went through to get to where I’m at today, I’d have to say it wasn’t easy, sucked even. It took years for me to get comfortable with tattooing people, make any decent money or have any self confidence in my abilities as a tattooer. As I mentioned earlier, wrestling practices were horrible but I kept at it and I noticed how each month I felt better in there, more comfortable. I applied this same strategy to my career and life. Exposure therapy. That’s what I guess I’d like for my people to get from my story. The cliche’ sayings are true. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. A life lived in fear is a life half lived. Hard work pays off. No pain, no gain. They’re well known sayings for a reason.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I’m not much of a party person so you won’t be reading anything about clubs here. We would definitely have to hit Flanigan’s for some cheese steak sandwiches, ribs and cheap drinks. Finka has amazing food but they’re cocktails are the main thing to try there. Have to stop by Pinecrest bakery for pastelitos. Obviously we’d have to spend a couple days at the beach. What’s a trip to Miami without a trip or two to the beach. One day would be dedicated to some kayaking at John Pennekamp park and some beer drinking at MIA brewery. Last but not least we would have to hang out at Wynwood. It’s not what it used to be but it still has great art from all over the spectrum to be enjoyed.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am where I am today because of many different people at different stages of my life. My parents, although at first didn’t approve of the direction I was going were still supportive enough to drive me to the train to go to art school, let me tattoo out of my bedroom at first and now shout me out on Facebook and have even referred clients over to me when I was still based in Miami. I would have never even thought to consider tattooing as a career if it wasn’t for my little brother, who went so far as to let me tattoo his entire arm knowing that I was still pretty much new to it. Same goes for my buddies who sacrificed their limbs to let me practice and thought I was amazing when I knew I was far from that. My wife who always has my back and is always encouraging even when I’m doubting myself. To the shop owners who gave me a chance to work with them and allowed me grow as an artist and person. And last but not least all the art teachers that helped shape my understanding, love and execution of art since I was a kid. Shout out to all of you, and the other Reyes artists (Daniel Reyes Sr. Grandpa Reyes and Miguel Angel Reyes!
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