Name: Gabriel “Gabbi” Villarrubia
Age: 46.4, but who’s counting?
Where are you from?
Buenos Aires, Argentina until I was 4, California for the formative/destructive years, then on to Sayulita in 2006 full time.
So, what tattoo design did you pick?
Chops did 2 awesome sacred hearts on each side of the back of my head. The pieces were based on the duality of my life – the bright red heart was representative of my amazing and supportive wife, Andrea Villarrubia, that saved my life from the day I met her until this morning and beyond. She shows me the way to a bright, positive future. The black bleeding heart is looking back on times that were not bad, but darker, without cause, but still an important part of my life.
What is the significance of this design to you?
Good/Bad. Future/Past. While the future may be bright, it is not my future without holding on to the debauchery that is ME at heart.
What body part did you choose to get it on and why that body part?
Real estate is limited, and I have been dying to get my head tattooed for some time. Been rocking a mohawk lately (as all 46 year old men should), so it’s a great time to show off some head.
What does a tattoo mean to you? Why eternalize something on your body?
Tattoos to me are the diary of the teenage girl. We constantly put something down on paper/skin and it’s there forever. Opposed to a diary, this is for all to read, and I am not afraid of sharing how I feel.
Now, that your tattoo is complete, what is the first thought that comes to mind when you look at it?
I absolutely love these pieces, but for someone with most their body tattooed, I can’t help but think that these pieces were worth the suffering, because they really did hurt!
Why did you choose Papillon Family Studios in Sayulita to get your tattoo?
I couldn't have been happier to hear we had a new tattoo artist move to town, and not only did I find that his work was top notch, but he also had a clean, professional studio, plus was a wonderful family man and husband. All these things were prior to getting a tattoo from him, so they were the hook. The line and sinker were both his skill and that he is an awesome man. We are cut from a similar cloth as men and humans, so I feel like the lucky one to have gained a new fave local artist, but also a great new friend. Win, win, win.
How do you think the tattoo culture has changed over the years?
Boy, I love this question. I am a student and fan of the history of tattoo. This is, and was, a counter culture movement, and a true sea change in the way humans treat their bodies. At one point in time, thank the dark lords, the good people that started the movement showed that you could document your life, love, pain, agony, and worship on your skin. Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve!! This is wearing your heart/soul/life on your body, every part. To those of us that worship at the needle, it was the most important movement of the last century. While styles change and grow, at the end of the day, you love what you love. I am a “Traditionalist” meaning I stick to a strict guide of older styles. I respect all styles, but stick to the eternal style of my forefathers.
When did you get your first tattoo?
I was 16. I am now 46. You tell me what year that was! It was a pair of lips holding a joint in the mouth. That is my one and only cover up, covered up by a fallen angel after a bad breakup. That tattoo sucks too, but I don’t believe in cover ups at this point. Too old, and respect history too much.
Do you plan on getting more ink?