Brandon Jiménez, a junior peace, justice and conflict studies major, has been fascinated with tattoos since his childhood. Recently, he has become Goshen College’s most sought-after tattoo artist.“I have always been super intrigued by tattoos,” said Jiménez. “Growing up, I always saw people with tattoos and thought they were super cool.”
Katie Baer, a GC alum, taught Jiménez how to do stick and poke tattoos about a year ago.
“She taught me how to do them, and it all started from there,” said Jiménez. “I started practicing on myself and on my friends. I just fell in love with it.”
He started working with a tattoo gun in the past few months, thanks to a gift from his friends.
“There was a little bit of a learning curve,” he said. “Only because it is automatic, so you have to make sure you have a good stretch on the skin and know how fast to go. But overall, I don’t think it was that much harder to learn.”
Jiménez said: “I have tattooed a lot of my friends and those sessions are always really fun. It just feels like we are hanging out, but I am also tattooing them, which is a very intimate thing.”
“It feels like we are getting closer because they are trusting me to put this art on their body,” he continued. “It’s also kind of that way for everyone I tattoo.”
Jiménez charging for tattoos when his friends suggested it as a way to make money. A lighter class schedule this semester gave him the opportunity to start working.
“I am a broke college student, so I was like, ‘I need to figure out another way to make some money,’” Jiménez said. “All my friends were like, ‘Well you’re really good at these tattoos, why don’t you do that?’”
Jiménez would like to complete an apprenticeship someday and become a professional. For now, he said, “I am most comfortable with doing linework tattoos. Those have been easier to learn and [are] what I have the most practice with.”
Jiménez is flexible when it comes to designing a piece. There is no single way that a final design is created.
“People will either show me a reference photo and I will try to do it exactly, or I will sketch something similar,” he said. “Other times I just create something from my own mind. We will sometimes end up with a completely different design. I enjoy a challenge.”
Jiménez understands that college is expensive, so he tries to set his prices with that in mind.
“I am catering to the campus, and I know that we are all students paying for our college,” he said. “I also hope that people realize that I am also doing this to pay for college. It is an art and a service that not a lot of people know.”
Jiménez’s Instagram page serves as a resource to interested individuals, but word of mouth has also helped to keep him booked.
Emi Garza, a junior psychology major, has two tattoos by Jiménez.
“I heard about Brandon’s tattoos through one of my best friends, who had multiple tattoos done by him already,” she said. “I also saw his business page on Instagram, which is also where I learned more about his work.”
Instagram is also the easiest way to book appointments. “People usually reach out to me through my Instagram,” Jiménez said, “which is usually easier for me too since it’s all in one place. But if someone wanted to email me, we would make it work!”
Garza echoed the sentiment. “The booking process was super simple! All I did was direct message him on Instagram, told him I wanted some tattoos and the response time was super fast. His times are super convenient. I loved how easy it was.”
Victor Vegas, a first-year music major, has had two of four tattoos done by Jiménez.
Although he was nervous for his session, he said, “Brandon is super easy to talk to.” Vegas continued, “I hadn’t met him until our appointment. I felt comfortable the entire time.”
Both Vegas and Garza recommended Jiménez without hesitation.
“He is very open, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you want,” said Vegas.
“I highly recommend getting tattooed by Brandon. The entire process was super smooth and not stressful at all, plus he is a very talented artist,” said Garza.
Brandon typically offers this piece of advice to first-timers: “It hurts a lot less than we think it will. So, it’s good that they are nervous because, by the time we get started, they realize it’s not as bad as they were expecting.”
If you would like to see Jiménez’s work or book an appointment, you can find him on Instagram as @ink_by_iggy.