Lower East Side meets West Coast

Joe Truck's Alphabet City West

Tattoo Revue K 46301 / 67

written by

For five years, Joe Truck was a popular inkslinger in New York City. Working out of his studio, Alphabet City, on the Lower East Side, Truck had a strong neighborhood clientele. Since he was also involved in the local punk scene, it sometimes seemed like every musician and bartender from Avenue A to Avenue D (aka Alphabet City) sported one of his distinctive tats. During these years, Joe witnessed a lot of changes within the industry. The “main-streaming” of tattoos, the lift of a 36 year ban in New York City, and the subsequent explosion of shops in that town….not to mention the resurgence of interest on traditional tattoo ideas, which affected him most directly, since he’s been doing traditional work since day one. Truck was well positioned for long term success in the Big Apple, so why did this NYC homeboy set up a shop in Cali last fall?

“I chose Southern California for many reasons. It’s very spread out, and even though there are a lost of shops here, there’s plenty of breathing room. Also, all the so called ‘traditional’ artists out here are either ding straight-up traditional, rockabilly, or new school work. I thought that my style could really add something to the area.”

Truck’s “East Coast” style (pioneered by artists like DAn Higgs, tux Farrar, and Scott Harrison) is a bold blend of carnival themes, early American folk art, pseudo-mystical imagery, and traditional tattoo motifs. It’s all the flavors of Coney Island blended into a colorful, concise visual language. “I hate to use the phrase ‘old school’, but the types of tattoos I do are applied very much in that manner-bold outline, heavy, dark shading, and solid, primary fields of color. It”s the same type of tattoo I’ve been doing since the beginning…And to think four years ago I was literally begging people to get an anchor or traditional rose.”

The new San Pedro studio, called Alphabet City West, is Impressive in size and decor. ” You could fit flour or five of my New Yourk shops in this space,” Joe remarks. “It’s also set up much like a gallery, full of tattoo-related artwork.” He plans to show different artists work, as well as his own, in the near future. “This shop definitely has a New York vibe, but it’s also reminiscent of some of the cooler parlors found in San Francisco.”

Also on board is local SoCal veteran tattooist, Quinn. this versatile artist’s strong point is bold. bright traditionally oriented work, a perfect compliment to the shop’s atmosphere. Quinn adds, Although my tattoos are traditionally based, I throw a contemporary spin on all my work.” The customer is the most important person at Alphabet City West. Joe, Quinn, and shop apprentice, Chris Breska, have created an atmosphere where each tattoo is unique and important. Whether your choice is a small name or a back piece, the emphasis is on each client leaving with a tattoo that’s right for him or her.

Joe Truck and Quinn can be reached at: Alphabet City West, 434 S. Pacific Ave., San PEdro, CA 93100 732 1012. Joe is also doing a permanent guest spot at: Dean Deakyne’s Sick & Twisted Productions, 318 Old Newport Rd., Newport Beach, CA 97140 646 2757