Not many people have done good enough work in their industry to be known by just one name. Think about it; there just aren’t that many people who have become icons at what they do to render themselves instant name recognition.
Sting, Madonna, Cher, Prince. And… The Todd?
The owner of the Velvet Grip Tattoo Shop in Hollywood, The Todd is kind of like the male version of Kat Von D, but with a little different attitude and an altogether amazing resume of celebrities with whom he has worked. He’s done tattoo work on Drew Barrymore, Adam Lambert, Tommy Lee, Bam Margera, Dave Navarro, and Jason Momoa. Plus, The Todd is the guy who famously pierced Tommy Lee’s penis… and it just doesn’t get any bigger than that (pun intended!).
More than being a celebrity tattoo artist and piercer extraordinaire, though, The Todd has appeared and competed on Fear Factor as a guest contestant, and on a few other reality shows for which he’s received some critical acclaim. Plus, he’s gotten a ton of notice in major body art publications for his unique and impressive application of different tattooing styles and custom tattoo needs to the bodies of those wishing to showcase his ink on their flesh.
The Todd’s been running the Velvet Grip since 2004, and helms a talented group of artists there who do amazing work that is both unique and original, and also painstakingly professional and high quality. From body jewelry, to implant quality body additions, to the most complicated of tattoo patterns, The Todd has been doing it for years, and he’s been rockin’ the attitude and job like he was meant to be.
Velvet Grip Family (as they call themselves at the tattoo parlor) has become one of the must-sees for people in the Los Angeles area who want to get a tattoo, and it’s become one of the establishments that you’ve got to visit if you want high quality ink and the very best care from the best professionals.
It doesn’t matter your style, or your interests, or what you’re looking to have done on your body – rest assured that The Todd has likely already been there, done that, tattooed it, and perfected it in his years of experience with the best.
The Todd is the perfect person to navigate a celebrity town like Los Angeles, filled with movie stars and wannabe celebrities; he’s finally a person comfortable enough with himself that he doesn’t need to pretend that he’s something other than that.
So the next time you are in LA, make it a point to check out Velvet Grip Family, and get yourself some ink from the very best – The Todd, himself! Plan ahead, though – his popularity is off the charts and he books up pretty quickly when it comes to inking the best from all around sunny southern California!
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Levity Ball presents…”THE TODD”!
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
“I grew up in Coon Rapids, MN. My childhood was white trash 80’s style. Hairspray, spandex, half shirts…. Sums it up.”
How long have you been tattooing?
“I’ve been in the industry for about 22 years now. Started with piercing and body mod.”
What was your first tattoo experience?
“My Uncle Dave came over to show off his new tattoo when I was a kid; it was a super man emblem on his hand. I just thought it was the most badass thing, and was hooked ever since.”
What is your favorite tattoo on your body?
What got you interested in the business?
“I saw it being done and thought to myself, “Hey, I bet I could do this better” And here I am, getting better everyday!”
What would you say is your favorite part of the profession?
“Bonding with clients and seeing them react to their new piece of art.”
Are there any famous artists, tattooists or not, that have influenced you down the path of your career?
“I wouldn’t say any particular famous artist. I definitely took a lot of inspiration from the tattooists around me when I started off, and made my own way.”
What would you say to someone looking to get into the tattoo business?
“Do your homework and get a good, long apprenticeship with a quality tattoo artist. If you get any good, come see me in five years.”
What differences do you see, if any, when working with celebrities?
“I don’t really see a difference. People are my canvas and everyone is different in their own way.”
What, at this point in your career, are you most proud of?
“I’m very proud of my Velvet Grip Family.”
What is a common misconception people have about you and what you do?
“I’ll have to say that many people assume that tattoo artists are printers and can draw up your sleeve in five minutes while you’re in the lobby. It’s gonna be there forever, let’s take our time and make it awesome.”
If you could name one specific ‘goal’ which you hope to achieve in your lifetime with respect to your career, what is it and how do you plan on achieving it?
“Retiring in style! I’ve built a great little shop and a good family to work it, I’ll see some come and go but I know that my Family will thrive as we continually grow and improve.”
If you could describe your art in one word, what would it be?
Any other projects we should anxiously be watching for?
“A few things here and there, we’re constantly doing events with local vendors and businesses. Gotta get on our mailing list to be in the know!”