“Freddy is featured as the first professional Chicano tattoo artist and pioneer of the black-and-grey style in the theatrical documentary Tattoo Nation produced by John Corry and directed by Eric Schwarz (released in April, 2013.) Freddy has been featured in numerous print and online magazines, blogs and video interviews including Bound by Ink, Inked and Tattoo Artist Magazine.
Freddy also ran his own tattoo studio, Rat-a-tattoo, for many years and worked with top directors/talent such as Taylor Hackford, Joel Schumacher and Keanu Reeves on films such as Batman Forever, Con Air, Last Action Hero, Austin Powers and Blade. He not only worked as a tattoo designer, but also advised on the authentic portrayal of Chicano cholo gang culture in the film Falling Down featuring Michael Douglas.
In the late seventies, while serving time in the Preston School of Industry correctional facility for a gang-related firearm incident, Freddy’s “prison-style” designs found their way out onto the streets of East Los Angeles and caught the eye of two other body art pioneers: Ed Hardy and Jack Rudy. Don Ed Hardy is known for introducing the Japanese technique into the American tattoo scene and for creating the Ed Hardy apparel and accessories brand.
Over thirty-five years ago, Don Ed Hardy ran Good Time Charlie’s Tattooland in East Los Angeles. After recognizing Freddy’s extraordinary talent, Hardy hired and mentored Freddy as a full-time artist. Freddy didn’t disappoint. Within a short period of time, he went on to create a Madonna “back piece” that earned him a Tattoo Artist of the Year Award in 1980. Don Ed Hardy was so impressed by the design he called it “the tattoo of the decade.”
- Danny Casler