Superbowl-bound quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s tattoos became famous after Kaepernick was criticized for having them, but that bad publicity turned into good news for Asian American Tattoo artist Nes Andrion. Business is way up for the Reno, Nevada resident’s tattoo shop, Endless Ink. Andrion is really proud that his art work will be seen across the world in the Superbowl as the San Francisco 49ers play the Baltimore Ravens.
“I wanted to spread my art around the whole world. I wanted everyone to see it.”
An amazing story considering his impoverished beginnings in Olongapo City, Philippines.
Nes Andrion was raised by his aunt and uncle in the port city after his mother left for the United States. He remembers being hungry, living in a house with a dirt floor, and going barefoot most of the time. “My uncle and aunt couldn’t even afford a pair of flip-flops for me.” Eventually, his mother petitioned him when he was eleven and brought him to Reno Nevada. He started working in the tattoo business after high school.
Andrion says he knew Kaepernick was a special athlete after he created Kaepernick’s first tattoo in 2007. He told that to his co-workers, but they just laughed. Time has proven Andrion correct, and Kaepernick is now a canvas where his art will be seen by millions of people on Superbowl Sunday. He’s also excited for March, where he will set up shop at the Body Art Expo near San Francisco, billed as one of the largest tattoo expos in the world Says Andrion:
“I’m pretty blessed. I’m blessed to be here in America.”
(Photo Credit: Andy Barron, Reno Gazette Journal)