Nikko Hurtado was born in the San Fernado Valley in 1981. Son of a Mexican welder and a Hispanic homemaker, Nikko grew up in the high desert drawing cartoons and characters for fun.
His love for art transformed when at the age of 16 his longtime friend, Mike DeMasi, got a car. He and Mike then had the means and ways to take classes at the Art Center of Pasadena. Nikko took classes for several years but decided to give up on art to do construction.
In 2002, after 3 years of hard labor, Nikko stopped into Art Junkies Tattoo Studio in Hesperia to see how Mike was doing. Mike had been tattooing for a while and offered Nikko an apprenticeship. The only experience Nikko had with tattoos was the gang or prison tattoos he had seen on friends and family. He didn’t even have a tattoo himself. Regardless, the next day Nikko picked up a machine and started tattooing soon after.
“I had always wanted to art for a living and was soo happy that ithappened so organically,” says Nikko “It was like tattooing chose me.”
After just a year of tattooing Nikko did a tattoo that would change his career forever – a Batman color portrait. This was his first color portrait that he ever attempted and when it was complete the client entered it into the Pomona Tattoo Portrait Contest and took home First Place. It would be one of many awards he would collect over the years, but that portrait put him on the map. The image went viral in the tattoo community before there was even Facebook, Instagram, and social media. He was now known as the go-to artist for color portraits.
Nikko started being featured on numerous TV shows such as LA Ink, Tattoo Wars, Tori & Dean, and Spike TV’s Ink Master. His TV appearances drew attention from celebrities and allowed him to tattoo Musicians Drake, The Game, Fred Durst, Wes Borland, Brandon Boyd, Jose Pasillas, Wale, Andrew WK, and Cheryl Cole; AthletesCarlos Boozer and Chris Cole; Actors Guillermo Diaz and Jenna Jameson; and celebrities Jeffree Star, Jesse James, and Kat Von D.
Right in the middle of his career boom, Nikko started the Black Anchor Collective tattoo studio in 2009. “I noticed that many of my clients were flying in from all over the World to get tattooed,” he says “I want my clients to feel special and to know that I appreciate them. I just wanted to give them more of myself.”
And he did give more of himself by implementing the anchor as the centerpiece for the studio and his brand. The anchor is a very personal symbol for Nikko, not only does it pay homage to classic tattooing iconography, but it also represents friendship, family, and love. It reminds him to stay grounded and focused on what is important.
In 2013 Nikko hit an important milestone in his career with his first solo art show “Renati”. Working primarily in oils, Nikko debuted a series of paintings at the Corpro Gallery in Santa Monica, CA to acclaimed reviews. When he looks at everything it took to get to that point he realizes he wouldn’t be where he is now without the dedicated help of his wife Joanne, “Everything I have done was only possible because of her help.”
Today Nikko is extremely humbled by the love and support of his fans, friends, and family. He also now has a tattoo collection of his very own and continues to learn by only getting tattooed by people he can learn from. He spends his life dedicated to tattooing at Black Anchor Collective, travelling the World and spending time with his family.
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