Stevie Layani, born and raised in Venice Beach, California, came to Sayulita after a buddy urged him to visit, telling him how much he would love it here. He bought a ticket, arrived in Sayulita on January 26th, and immediately fell in love with the town, feeling it a magical place. Here in Sayulita until March 4th, he is currently a guest tattoo artist at Papillon Family Studios.
How long have you been tattooing? How did you get your start?
I’ve tattooed for four years now. A friend owned a barbershop tattoo parlor in Venice Beach, he liked my artwork, and he told me he would teach me to tattoo. I went in everyday and he (and a couple of other guys) taught me how to clean stations, sterilize everything, how to tune the machines, and tattooing techniques. I also did a lot of drawing and painting tattoos. It was a year of training before I actually started tattooing, and then I started tattooing all my friends.
How would you describe your style of tattooing?
Black and grey, fine line, and traditional all mixed together. I’m open to all ideas and put my best artistic influence on them.
You’re currently working at Papillon Family Studios, Tattoo & Jewelry. What is it about this shop that made you want to work here?
I looked it up on line, saw photos, and thought it looked like a cool spot to work. It’s a beautiful shop and all the jewelry is beautiful too– I love everything about the shop. I also thought it would be cool to come to Sayulita and work in Mexico.
When clients come to you with a rough idea of a tattoo, do you draw something up for them? If so, how would you describe the process?
Yes, I draw up a first draft for them and see how they like it. Then we go from there so that we are both happy with the end result.
Do you have a favorite tattoo you’ve done in Sayulita? If so, what it is that makes it your favorite?
Well, the first tattoo I did here read, “Sayulita,” which I thought was pretty cool. The guy has lived here for 15 years and got it in fine line script on his bicep.
What do you like most about tattooing in Sayulita?
I can wake up and go surf some of the best waves I’ve ever surfed, come to the shop, draw, and tattoo, all the while enjoying this beautiful little town. And then I get to go surf again after work.
Do you suggest someone make an appointment? If so, how quickly can someone generally get in for their tattoo with you at Papillon Family Studios?
Yes, it would be good to make an appointment. Generally I can get someone in within a few days. I’m pretty open right now.