Florida carries some of the most intuitive and creative tattoo artists, and we aren't just rooting for the home team. There's plenty of proof out there, so we decided to make that the basis for our next Tattooed and Employed Story. Meet Ron Givens AKA Ronstafari.
I got my start in tattooing basically by accident. I'm from Oklahoma where, until November 1st, 2006, the art of tattooing was illegal. So that left only two ways to get tattooed: at a house or in another state. This means lots of terrible tattoos. I received a few of those terrible tattoos, one which I really regret. So when a chance came up for me to tattoo, my first thought was "I get to keep others from getting those regrettable tattoos."
Ink Master was a pretty crazy experience. It's been an instant change to my life, seeing as a lot more people know who I am now. Also, it wasn't exactly what I thought it was gonna be. I figured it was gonna be more about tattooing and not so much drama. Given the chance to do it again, I'd have a different game plan going into it.
Working at H&H in Universal Studios definitely has its perks. Number one is heavy traffic flow. It stays pretty busy year-round. Our slow seasons are busy compared to others. Second, my work travels to places near and far. I do miss having a regular client base that I see all the time, but seeing people return 6-12 months later for another piece is just as gratifying.
I really don't have any crazy shop stories from there because it's a corporate shop, but we do have few clowns (including myself) that work there. We try to make it entertaining for ourselves and the clients.
The name Ronstafari actually began as a joke. When I worked in Dallas, a guy by the name of Aaron Goolsby started calling me that and telling customers that was my name. I was just Ron before I had dreads, but I started growing my hair out and he gave me the moniker. It was catchy so I ran with it.
When I'm not working, my time is devoted to my family. That's my reason for doing what I do now. They inspire me to be a better person. Seeing their eyes light up every time we take on a new adventure, there's just no words for it. I just want to give my kids the world.
I'm taking part in an art show called Flavor of the Month : A Melting Menagerie put on by Mark Richards and myself. It's a charity event for Pet Alliance of Orlando. It's been really hectic getting ready for that, building the social network pages and tracking down artists, all while working on my paintings and tattooing. The show will feature some top-notch, lesser-known artists and a few bigger names, as well.
Well, in a nutshell, not letting anything stand in your way. Staying the course and leading a life that you want to live. Making your own way and, if possible, bringing a few friends along with you. Chris Collins gave me some advice once because I was in an awful mood and complaining. He said, "Where did that positive attitude go? Why would you let someone or something steal that from you? There's got to be something that you can do to change it, and if you can't, you're not trying." Ever since that day, I've remained steadfast.
Ron has been tight with the Steadfast crew for quite some time. His artistic ability most certainly speaks for itself, and he continues to amaze us with the collaborations for which he is known. Just check that Calvin and Hobbes meets Han Solo and Chewy! Keep an eye out for more on Ron and the upcoming art show, which you can check out here.
Ink Mania Con Tattoo and Art Expo will be hosted in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida from July 29th-31st!! This incredible event, which was held in West Palm Beach last year, has returned under new management and with a new name.