Southern California is world-recognized for tattoo art and innovation. Melrose Avenue has been at the center of that attention for decades as the place for boundary-pushing, quality work. Generation 8 Tattoo continues the tradition as the place to celebrate ink individuality and piercing creativity (See store on this site).
Dave Hatton broke ground on his Melrose Avenue tattoo shop in 2013, but it was already steeped in more than a century of Los Angeles history. Dave is his family’s eighth L.A. generation. His grandfather, I.M. Hattem, built and operated what is widely considered the country’s first supermarket at 43rd and Western in 1927. “His motto was ‘Constant Courtesy’ and he put it on everything – signs, merchandise. So I’m trying to re-do what my grandfather did,” recalls Dave.
Dave went to the supermarket’s site, which is now a historical landmark, to get design inspiration for the build-out of the shop. He used similar wood and metal. “The floor is exactly the same as he had.” While he had the contract work done by professionals, everything else was done by Dave, a few friends, and his girlfriend. The result is a classic, warm workroom with great lighting. Both retro and modern details reflect the art being created within.
Though he’s been tattooing since age 15 (of course, experimentally then), and apprenticed for many years before going pro, science comes before art. He was dedicated to learning the equipment and the very basic skill set, which is the difference between good work and regretted work. Dave honed his technique and developed styles at shops throughout Hollywood before settling on Melrose. It’s the perfect place for artists of all kinds.
“I used to come to Melrose just to see the street art. This is a really diverse neighborhood. People come in from all over the country. We’re part of a real artistic community, which is amazing,” says Dave.
Generation 8 Tattoo is home to four full-time artists, and hosts six or seven guest artists throughout the year, some coming from Korea, Japan, Spain, and Australia.
A tattoo artist’s calling card is his/her work. Generation 8’s social media sites are fed with beautiful and sometimes jaw-dropping needleship. Dave’s rep is not just attracting customers and visiting artists, it’s attracting celebrities. “We did a photo shoot for British GQ with Will Ferrell. They liked the vibe here. We didn’t tattoo him, but we had a great time. Charlie Hunnam, Drew Barrymore. Miley Cyrus was really cool. I mean, we’re on Melrose. On any given day, you can see the biggest celebrity walking down the street.”
Allen Dabbs, Generation 8’s piercing artist adds, “There’s no better place to be. You can find everything that you want between La Brea and Fairfax. I love it here.”
Generation 8 Tattoo artists are trained and experienced in diverse styles from American Traditional and Neo to Ornamental and Realism. The also do cover-ups and cosmetic/medical tattoos. Military, Wounded Warrior, Police, and Fire special rates are offered.
By Deborah Brosseau
Generation 8 Tattoo Shop
7216 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, California 90046
Shop Phone: 323.591.0808
Tuesday to Sunday
12pm – 12am