My name is Robert Roberts. Since 1986, my tattoo nickname has been Mad Dog because that was the name of my tattoo shop in San Francisco for 21 years.
Where I'm At & How To Contact Me
I live and work in Palm Springs, CA. Top quality custom design is still the gold standard, along with free consultations. Just as each individual is unique, the ink you get should be unique.
Cell Phone : 916.897.1447 ||
I have always been able to draw, but didn't pay much attention to it at first, since my education was in music. Although a classically-trained pianist/harpsichordist, I've worn a lot of different hats. I was living in San Francisco when, in the mid-80s, my late partner asked me to design a tattoo for him. At first I declined, and offered to take him to a guy who had done some work on me. While we were at the shop, I began really looking at the wall flash and thought to myself "Hell - I could do that", so I did. I got my first tattoo lessons from that tattooer, Phil Payton, and later was able to get more pointers from the late great Cliff Raven.
In the mid-80s, San Francisco was like an AIDS war zone. People were freaked. My efforts to get a job at one of the major shops were turned down because the owner was so fearful, so I started on my own. As it happened, I got a lot of press in the gay leather magazine Drummer, and my tattoo career was off to a flying start. I was one of 80 tattoo artists chosen nationwide whose work was included in the 1995 New York exhibition "Pierced Hearts and True Love: A Century of Drawings for Tattoos", curated by Don Ed Hardy.
Like most tattooers, I've always remained rather maverick. In addition to tattooing, I also do fine art drawing and painting, and you can see my artwork online.
My advice to anyone trying to start out in this business is to draw, draw, draw. If you can't draw it, you can't ink it. Do it right - get an apprenticeship. Put together a portfolio of drawings and photos of any tattoos you might have done. Hang out at shops and show your work. Be persistent -- you will be turned down at first. But if you don't give up, they will begin to take notice. It takes a lot of work, and there are no shortcuts. But I can promise you that if you take the time to learn your craft - and its history- you will never be sorry.