“Tattooing is a form of personal self-expression and today, there’s something for everybody.” – Mo

Creativity runs in the Bernal family. Born in Central Phoenix, Mo has always worked in a family business and now employs his own son Robert. Mo’s Dad was a chef, Mom a cake decorator and his sister owned a dress shop. He remembers working for his family from an early age and is repeating that cycle now with son Robert. Mo owns two tattoo shops in Santa Rosa; Avenue Tattoo and Anchor Rose Tattoo, which just opened in February of this year. His 32-year-old son Robert is a second generation tattoo artist and they’ve worked side by side for years.

IMG_3158Mo’s original art

The self-described black sheep in the family, Mo gravitated to punk rock and skateboarding as a kid. As a young teen he remembers making his own rigs and giving his neighborhood friends small cross tattoos on their hands. Fast forward to adulthood and after a stint in the air force and later in construction, Mo knew his true calling was professional tattooing. He recalls his own father coming into his first shop saying “I never knew what you were going to do with your funny haircuts and shoes, and now I see you’re exactly where you belong. You hit the gold mine.”

Robert's workRobert’s original art

Now Mo is equally proud of his son Robert who has followed in his footsteps. Robert started tattooing at a young age. At 14 he was making his own “stick and poke” tattoos on friends and Mo realized that he needed to step in and teach his son the safe, proper method. On Robert’s 15th birthday, Mo bought him a set of professional equipment and gave him a two week crash course. Robert still remembers the first customer he tattooed; a security guard who asked for a set of boxing gloves. Robert loves that his job means he gets to draw everyday. The best part? Seeing how happy people are after he completes their piece. He says; “it’s not like being a mechanic who sees people on a bad day. I get to see people who are happy and having fun.” Father and son agree the work is never boring, always challenging and extra fun when a customer asks them to draw a custom art piece. Mo is a sentimental guy…he still has a picture of Robert giving his first tattoo and keeps a framed photo of his father on the wall of the shop.

Mo's DadMo’s Dad/Robert’s Grandfather

Avenue Tattoo, 3020 Santa Rosa Avenue, 707-544-8288,  Instagram @avenuetattoos, www.avenuetattoo.com
Anchor Rose Tattoo, 532 College Avenue 707-890-5288,  Instagram @anchorrosetattoo, www.anchorrosetattoo.com