At a young age, Rudy valued the very colorful cultures and customs of his home country of Guatemala. From the different indigenous arts and textiles, to the prominent catholic imagery and statues, there were many things around him to grab inspiration from. This is where Rudy would have his first personal experience looking at a fresh tattoo that his cousin Joaquin Nuñez had gotten in secret. Tattoos were very taboo in Guatemala at the time due to the bad reputation that gang culture would give them, so Rudy was entrusted with his cousins secret. However taboo it may have been, Rudy found the idea to be just about the coolest shit he’d ever seen.
Later at the age of 7, Rudy would move up to the mountains of Santa Cruz, CA. He would live within the Redwoods of Mount Madonna Center, a yoga community started by the late guru, Baba Haridas. This is where he would be submerged in the Hindu culture and be exposed to a whole new world of art that would play a big roll in his development as an artist.
Even though Rudy drew from the time he was in diapers, he didn’t take his art seriously until he was admitted to the California State Summer School of the Arts (CSSSA) during the summer before his junior year of high school. Even though he was accepted into the program for acting, he found himself drawn towards the incredible drawing and paintings that were being done by the art students there.
During his senior year of high school Rudy reignited his interest in tattoos that he’d discovered during his youth and began redrawing old American traditional Sailor Jerry Collins designs. He went even further into his studies of the art when he chose tattooing as the topic of his capstone project.
Rudy didn’t have the credits sufficient enough to graduate his senior year so in order to make up for lost time he would attend classes at Cabrillo Community College after his regular day of school. He would enroll in Drawing Composition 101 where he would meet his first art mentor John Maxon, a well known and respected local oil painter. Rudy would also take Color and Design and Digital Design classes as well.
Rudy started getting tattooed at the age of 18, but it wasn’t till a couple years later that he’d walk into Freedom Tattoo and meet his biggest influence. Rudy would start getting tattooed by local tattooer Nolan Hatton (who would later become his mentor)and the rest as they say is history.
Since his start, Rudy has tattooed across the state and across the country at different tattoo expos and conventions along side his comrades. He locked down a second place award for his American traditional style at the 2020 Santa Cruz Tattoo Expo put on by Tattoo Tour.
Aside from expos and conventions Rudy also throws smaller scale benefit events in order to support and do his part in the community. Events such as “Tattoos for Tots” that was aimed to raise money for toy for underprivileged kids for the holidays, and “Helping Hearts” that raised money for the Jacobs Heart a non profit that raises money for kids and families affect by cancer. He will continue to put on these types of events.
Rudy currently works at Freedom Tattoo in Aptos, CA where he further refines the American Traditional and Fine Line Black & Grey styles of tattooing.
Tattoos for Tots is a fundraiser to help kids in need get the Christmas they deserve! We will be getting down on Saturday 17th from 11am-7pm and 100% of the proceeds will be going to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz County. This organization gives kids a place to grow and develop in safe and positive environments. Come by and get zapped for a good cause!