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Featured Tattoo Artist: Dre Perales

Posted on December 03 2015

Before you can wrap your brain around Dre Perales, the South California based barber, tattoo artist, and entrepreneur, it’s important to offer some background on the culture that has influenced his style and designs.

The Beginnings of Bold

A lot of great things have come out of California, including the beginnings of tattoo culture as we know it. Back in the 1940’s, having a tattoo meant one of two things: you were in the Navy or you were in prison. Many of the most iconic designs we know today were born out SoCal’s style of tattooing from artists along the coast back in the 40’s and 50’s. These artists would offer quick tattoos for sailors docked in the harbor. Roses, anchors, hearts and babes were the standard style for sailors and soon became popular among the rough and tumble gangsters that traveled the coast on low riders and custom rides, spreading the design up the coast and beyond. Tattoos rarely varied from a standard set of 4 colors: reds, yellows, greens, and blues. Meanwhile, prison tattoos were limited to a mix of grays created from a variety of ashes and other materials they could scavenge.

These limited methods and colors didn’t stop revolutionary tattoo artists from creating stunning pieces and iconic designs. A distinct, bold, and classic style was born that still is adored by tatted people today.

This style has held true throughout generations and some old timer artists like “Bowery” Stan Moskowitz and “The Father of American Tattooing” Paul Rogers have mentored artists throughout the decades on how to perfect the style, although fresh eyes and new looks have always been embraced.

Cali has seen the likes of Jack Rudy, the genius who revolutionized the way tattoo-machines work, acclaimed tattoo artist, Ed Hardy as well as beloved Sailor Jerry protege, Rollo/Mike Malone get their start and thrive in Cali’s unique and tough environment.

It’s difficult to make a name for yourself in California, but a few artists earn recognition through hard work and dedication. Dre Perales is no exception to this standard, with stunning pieces, a unique and thriving barber shop, and a clothing line featuring his artwork.

Dre Perales Tattoo Style

Dre’s tattoo style sticks with the classic 4 color scheme that was so prominent in the 1940s (reds, yellows, greens, and blues), but he doesn’t hesitate to add his own flare to the classic designs. 

From Frankenstein portraits to punk rock pinups, Dre Perales has a style all his own, but it’s easy to see where he draws his inspiration. 

He also has created stunning Japanese traditional pieces that feature such classics as tigers, serpents and dragons all of which can be found on his line of apparel and accessories at Tip Top Industries.

What is Tip Top Industries?

Tip Top Industries is Dre’s base of operations. It’s his avenue to offer a nostalgic approach to such mundane effects as getting a haircut. Don’t just get a haircut, get a gentleman’s haircut! Don’t just buy pomade, buy the tip top best pomade! Also, don’t forget, you can wear ink in more ways than one. Tip Top Industries offers printed t-shirts, art prints and, holding true to Cali culture, you can even get tattoo-inspired skateboards.

Tip Top Industries has a variety of items for the men & women of tattoo culture. Dre offers not only a service to tattoo enthusiasts, but also, unique, tattoo-inspired apparel and accessories.

My first tattoo was a shitty skull across my right forearm. It’s faded and blown out now but it will forever remind me of how lasting a tattoo can be. It also reminds me of who I was back then at 18, sitting in a friends kitchen, making many, many bad decisions on top of the half-planned tattoo design. I’ve gotten dozens of new tattoos since that first one. Some are much better than others and I often catch myself talking about the better tattoo artists like they’re an old friend, even though I only knew them the short time I was in their chair.

Even bad tattoos have a great significance in our lives but it’s the beautiful ones that honor us. As Dre says, "Bold will Hold". It's true that the boldest pieces have the most of my love.

Tattoo artists are more unique than any other artist you’ll meet, because rather than paint and paper, their canvas is another individual and their art isn’t stuck on a wall in a home, it’s worn proudly around everywhere that person goes. On our hands, our arms, even our faces - tattoos hold a very special significance in today’s culture and tattoo artists are the keys to that influence.

Tattoo artists are the industry leaders of today, branching tattoo culture out from just skin to the clothes we wear and the accessories we use. This evolution of the industry has made it possible for tattooed people to become more accepted culturally. It’s artists like Dre that help move the industry forward. From tattoo-inspired apparel to artistic takes on skateboards and pomade, Dre Perales offers that special eye on unique tattoo items that tattooed people love.


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