If you’re not familiar with the artwork of L.A.-based tattoo artist Nikko Hurtado, that’s likely to change. Or maybe it already has. Just yesterday, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson showed off a newly completed tattoo — inked by Hurtado over the course of 30 hours — to his 96.2 million Instagram followers. The piece, a hyper-realistic bull’s skull that covered up an older bull tattoo on the Rock’s upper arm, illustrates why Hurtado is largely considered to be one of the top color-realism and fine-art tattooers in the world these days. But, like many modern tattooers, he was drawn to the art form by more rudimentary styles.
“My first interest in tattooing just came from looking at people’s tattoos when I was younger,” Hurtado says. “My grandfather had tattoos on his forearm and hand, and my cousin was the first fully sleeved person I’d ever seen.