San Diego’s Hottest Tattoo Parlor- Five Two Tattoo
California is known for its forward thinking generation. Tattooing is a very prominent staple of life on the west coast. San Diego in fact has some very reputable tattoo artists and shops around town. I am partial to Five Two Tattoo in Hillcrest. Owner and founder of Five Two, Craig Driscoll, started his tattooing in Canada years after leaving the set of Degrassi as a child actor. Craig Driscoll has achieved what many dream of doing, reaching the top of the tattoo industry. His art displayed everywhere in his shop are testament to his achievements. His artistic drive and energized personality are what give Five Two its spirit. Appropriately named after his own height, Five Two Tattoo sits like a penthouse on the top floor overlooking University Avenue. Its hand painted signs on the outside of the building direct you to the shop with a more personal touch. Craig built a beautiful tattoo studio out of a gutted apartment building right in the heart of Hillcrest. This is not a regular tattoo shop by any standard, there’s no dark backroom with ugly institutional walls and cluttered floors. Craig’s modern studio is unique, with its skateboard truck coat hooks to its view of the busy street below. Five two tattoo has custom designs only and all pieces are hand-drawn by each artist. Craig is one of the busiest people I know but every piece he creates is done with care and perfection. His tattoos are breathtaking with an array of bright colors, thick outlines and organic shapes. His effects with reflected lighting make you question what you thought was tattooable. The art always flows with the body’s natural curves. Craig’s medium is not always skin, an assortment of skateboard decks hang in the shop along with wood and canvas paintings. Don’t let his small dimension fool you; he has huge talent and a larger than life personality. His abilities know no bounds as he also builds tattoo machines. His shop can be found at 449 University Avenue.
Most of my tattoos are done by Greg Bartz. Greg brings balance to shop with his towering height and reserved attitude. Greg’s art degree comes from AAU in San Francisco and it reflects in his work. Greg’s tattooing has taken him from Escondido, Downtown, to the beach, and finally to Five Two. Greg’s portraits are eerily photographic. Greg is influenced by artists like Craig Driscoll, Mark Ryden, and of course the world around him.
March 20th will be a professional photo shoot for the shop. Anyone who has a tattoo from Five Two Tattoo is encouraged to come by and get there ink photographed.
Five Two Day or May 2nd will be the skateboard art show. A collection of art created by Craig Driscoll, Greg Bartz, Tanner Kunz, RJ Grijalva, Tyler Bloomingdale, and Tony the apprentice. The art show will feature skateboard deck paintings. There will be art for display and for sale at the show. There will also be a sushi chef and bar. The art show begins at 6pm.
This particular trip to the shop I was working on a sleeve created by Craig Driscoll. A Balinese mask called a Rangda is wrapped in a snake’s coils surrounded by organic foliage. The design is an original by Craig Driscoll. The top part of my arm is a cover up which Craig will tattoo over the unwanted design and created a covered illusion to create one smooth flowing sleeve. Many people get cover-up tattoos to get rid of a design they regret or to avoid the cost of expensive laser removal. ~Tom Searcy Tom@RollinSD.com