Kahlil Rintye


I’m from San Diego originally, I started tattooing when I was 22 at a shop in Imperial Beach called FSG Tattoo, under Mr. Mike Martin (R.I.P.) It was there I first read the HardyMarks book series “Tattootime” and also “Dragon Tattoo Design”, which changed my artistic outlook and seared the work of Don Ed Hardy onto my baby tattooer brain. When I left the shop it was for a spot at The Ace Tattooing Company, coincidentally the same shop Ed had worked upon returning from his first Japan trip many years before. In 2003 I moved to the Bay Area to see if I could cut it in what is to me the center of the tattoo universe. After two years at Mom’s Body Shop on Haight Street I got a call from Mr. Hardy himself. Turns out a good friend and artistic influence from San Diego, Mr. Fip Buchanan, had put in a word for me. That got me the interview, I got the job, and have been holding on with both hands ever since. I started at Tattoo City in November 2005. In June 2019, Hardy Marks Publications released ‘Drawings for Tattoos Volume 4: Kahlil Rintye’, and for me it doesn’t get more surreal.

I’m best known for large scale-tattoos, but I love doing smaller work too. I’m a big fan of comics and film, and there’s a narrative quality to much of my stuff. I like telling a story. Japanese art is a huge part of things, but everything is in the mix; American & British tattoo history, obscure horror, fantasy & sci-fi pop culture, Mesoamerican archaeology, you name it. California is a huge mash-up of elements from all over the world, it’s where I grew up and it’s what I see in Ed’s tattoo work too… this informed, respectful wielding of icons from different cultures that combine to make something powerful and fresh. And whether it’s a totally classic image or something you’ve never seen before, my goal is to make the whole tattoo experience a positive one for the both of us.

Make a consultation and let’s sit down and talk about your idea!