A Conversation with Southbay Mike – Blackwater Tattoo Club

Southbay Mike, a veteran of tattooing since the 90’s, has great news for anyone seeking a tattoo from one of the true masters of the art. New to Chula Vista, CA is Blackwater Tattoo Club, located at 323 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA  91910. Blackwater Tattoo Club shop is not just a brick and mortar building.  Southbay Mike describes the new shop this way, “ We are really excited about this shop and it has a good vibe. It is weird… the first thing people say when they come into the shop is “man, it is peaceful in here”.  It is kind of like “come into my home and I will tattoo you”.  I have a full living room set up for clients. I make coffee for them. It is one way to really show the client you are really worth something.  I have a flat screen tv in here, I’ve got a coffee table a recliner couch -that is wonderful. I love this shop.”

Here is the rest of the conversation I had with Mike about the new shop.  Be sure to check out his work and make your appointment today.

Mischievous Mel: What made you open up Blackwater Tattoo Club?

Mike: My previous shop that was on 3rd Ave I was just leasing because I travel so much. I still had the shop and the lease and my private clients. A long story short, my landlady did not want to sublease anymore. So I was kind of forced into opening a new shop. She wanted to raise the rent an ungodly number. And I was like “Are you kidding me?”. I was like, I have been at this location for 10 years.  She wanted the rent raised like a thousand dollars. I was like NO – no, I will find a bigger place. So I did. I found a larger place. I was going to bring the guys over from the shop, but they were being knuckleheads. I have been in this business a long time so I decided not to. Only 1 guy in that group came over and it was the head guy. He told me “I just know that Blackwater is where it is at, I know you, know what you are doing, and I want to follow this business”. So I did, I welcomed him in.

Mischievous Mel: What were the first few weeks like at Blackwater Tattoo Club?

Mike: The first week it actually started before I was open. I had a Sailor come in… he had some nice work on him. So I took the time to talk to him. He scheduled an appointment for the end of July. In 2 days he came back with his girlfriend or wife. It was cool.  The first week was good the second weekend was busier than busy.

Mischievous Mel: Do you do body piercing?

Mike: We do body piercing… yes.

Mischievous Mel: What is your schedule like right now?

Mike: Well for ShipRocked (2018) I have had 20 people contact me already and it is not even until January. They are just telling me they missed me last time. The one girl who won the first place competition was so excited, so she asked if she could schedule and make sure she got an appointment. She told me, “I want you to do my next piece”. Just a lot of people contacting me and saying that they missed me last time on the ship and they really want to get in this time.  It is insane. Like I said before, I want to bring it (tattooing) to a higher level.

Mischievous Mel: You have a way of putting people at ease, being professional and approachable. That is one thing that I really noticed about you on the boat (ShipRocked). There are some tattoo artist that are not approachable. There are some tattoo artists that do not give 2 f*cks about the person getting the tattoo. You have a way of making the client and the environment comfortable. And wow… your shop you had me at coffee and ink.  With the new shop open do you plan on traveling still?

Mike:  Yeah. I will be going out to Oklahoma on August 18th, and Virginia. Always in the Spring as well. I am going to see the eclipse in Wyoming when that happens – that is going to be really cool and I am going to take the family, that way I have some family time.

Mischievous Mel: Do you have any advice for someone who is looking into getting ink?

Mike:  I’ll end this way because this really crawls up my skin. The kids today trying to tattoo with their rotary machines…. And they say “I am booked – I am booked.” But you know sometimes they are booked doing touch ups and they are saying this to people who don’t understand. You should not have to have a touch-up. You should pay for it once, be happy when you leave, and it should last for over 20 years. And if you got to come back in a week and the artist says “yeah… just come back in a week and we will just touch this up” then RUN AWAY. GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.

If you are seeking some new ink, I recommend Southbay Mike and Blackwater Tattoo Club.

Give them a call at 619-863-0557. Stop by the club located at 323 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA – and Mike does travel if you can’t make it to SoCal

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