Reflecting on 2021 and the planning 2022

Holy cow, can you even believe we made it this far? Its been one of the weirdest years since, well last year haha.

From storming the Capitol, to new virus variants, mask and no mask debates, the supply chain going kerplooey, and everything in between that we all dealt with in our own ways… its a miracle we made it this far.

But I’m a eternal optimist. I love a challenge. I love trying to maintain positivity while the world burns down around me. I love changing my perspective to find a solution. Well, I don’t love changing my perspective all that much haha.

That being said I found a lot of opportunities to stay positive this past year. I discovered some new mentors via Instagram that really had a profound impact on how I lived this year.

I found a fella by the name of Jesse Itzler and whoa. He puts such a great spin on things that I couldnt help but love. I won’t go too much into his story but you can check out his website HERE.

Me and my Big Ass Calendar

Some things he shared with me was his Big Ass Calendar Club. A huge year at a glance calendar. I love it. Its so obnoxious but that was the appeal. It takes weird things to get me excited to plan, and this did it.

One of the biggest take aways I got from Jesse and his calendar was the amount of time we have left with the people we love the most. If the average life expectancy in the U.S. is 72.6 and my mom is 59, and I visit her for 1 week every 2 years… I get 6.5 weeks left with my mom face to face. NOT 13 YEARS… Is your mind blown, because mine was.

I made it a point to visit not just with my parents but my wifes as well. We get too comfortable sometimes and this math helped me get off my ass and see our family. After I lost my dad in 2018, I can see how much time I wasted. I also want to set a great example to my daughter. Shes a few years away from taking the world head on and its important that my wife and I show her how to care for the people that raised us….No matter how hard it can be lol..

I took this energy and kept it rolling in my personal life too. Making it a point to do more of the things I love with the people I love the most. Its no surprise then, that I spent lots of time with my wife and daughter. Taking my wifes yoga classes twice a week for the last 7-8 months, putting all of my daughters school dates on my big ass calendar before I book any clients, movie dates, basketball games… oooohhh the basketball games. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I was able to watch my favorite childhood team The Phoenix Suns play in the Playoffs and Game 1 of the Finals in person.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals

I really did make myself and my family a priority this year despite all the crazy… I think thats whats kept me going actually.

Obviously this sounds like a highlight reel, and its meant to. I hope not too braggadocios though, because I’m really proud that I was able to live my life this year a little more intentionally this year. Perhaps thats what got me through 2021.

I added some physical elements this year by playing a few extra rounds of golf at some of my favorite greens, hiking all over the Catalina mountain range and taking on the 3 day backpacking trip from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the North Rim. And if you haven’t attempted any cold plunging yet…. do it. Its my new favorite.

Look at me hanging out at oo aaah point in the Grand Canyon

Times were tough don’t get me wrong. Money was tight, relationships felt strained, I had to let go of some people from my shop, we lost some amazing family members along the way, and oh yeah the whole pandemic thing is literally still happening.

I’m fortunate that my wife Johnna and I were able to volunteer very early this year in vaccine distribution to receive our shots and our daughter was able to get hers a few months later. Which was one of the reasons we were able to visit so many of our aging relatives.

The last quarter of the year I took another couple of leaps into the void by taking an opportunity to be mentored by an incredible artist and business man Noah Elias. I spent 8 weeks with him learning about his business in the art world. And this is coming from a guy that is a licensed Disney artist, has painted cars for The Fast and The Furious, a licensed LucasFilm artist just to name a few of his accomplishments. It was like drinking off of a firehose. You cant possibly comprehend everything but the little bits you get are so valuable.

It actually gave me the validation I didn’t know I needed to pursue more of an ownership role at Art and Sol.

I also met some of the most amazing and dedicated clients this year and can’t even begin to express how grateful I am to have their trust. This year I think I made more full sleeves than ever in my career. Ive also switched completely to using Bishop Rotary Wands and Nocturnal Ink. Huge game changers for me. Those brands never compromise quality and I’m happy to use their products with my clients.

So whats next?

For Johnna and I, we’ve got a handful of Suns games left on our mini season ticket package and well, I’ll be honest, you will for sure see me at post season games when the go. And how about a shameless plug? Click here to check out the Suns inspired shirt we made for the shop a few weeks ago to commemorate our killer start to the season.

We are looking to take on the 75 Hard challenge as well, and I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m waiting until my birthday weekend passes… ya know, feast before the famine. Its gonna be fun. I’m excited to see whats on the other side.

For my family, if you know me, you know I’m a Disnerd. So you can expect to see me in Disneyland at least once before the summer and we are already planning a Walt Disney World trip for the fall!

We kinda fell off our rock climbing kick so I’d like to bring that back into the fold for us. And more date nights, movie nights, game nights and just quality time.

But wait theres more haha, what about Art and Sol?

Well, I’m currently looking to add 2-3 new artists to the shop in 2022 as well as a full time studio director. Big picture stuff, I’d love to see us with a graphic artist, social media manager, videographer, copywriter, event planner and marketer. But they will all come in time.

Last year we brewed the Sideshow Sour with our pals Dillinger Brewing and we will be doing another beer and art release as well as a live tattooing event with them again this year! So be on the lookout for that.

And my big event is planned for May 20, 2022. Tucson Day. Think of it as small business Saturday for the Spring and not sponsored by American Express. My goal is to get a few local business together on 5/20 to offer great deals to our city, and with all the local support they receive, we all pour it back into a local childrens charity. There will definitely more about this coming soon.

Ill be doing more blogs, but dang its sooooo hard to be consistent. But thats where that magic is. Consistency.

So without yackin your ear off too much, thats a little summary of my last year and my plans for 2022. I’ve been saying it a bunch the past couple of days, we can’t be successful and just wing it, we have to have a plan.

If you want to work with me or participate in my events shoot me an email to and lets connect.

Also if you have any cool life hacks or things I need to try to make my year even better, send it my way!

What are some things you’d like to read from me? Let me know. Til next time.


What to bring to your first tattoo!

Every week, it seems I get the pleasure of making a persons first tattoo.

Me tattooing my dear friend with fun Mickey Mouse tattoo

Its completely normal to be  bit nervous about the whole process. So I thought maybe I’d help out all the future first timers with a short blog about what to do to prepare and what to bring with you to your first tattoo.


Start the whole process by getting some good rest. And this goes for life in general!


Tattoos take a lot out of you. You have to be ready to put some good stuff back in. Bring and drink plenty of water and a few power bars.


Youre gonna be twisting around a bit, best wear some comfy clothes that you dont mind getting dirty. ( some ink and fluids may get on them)


Years ago you just sat there and stared at the wall. Nowadays you stare at your phone. Its great idea to make sure youve got the juice for your phone!


I mentioned comfort but access is important too. Dont wear jeans if youre getting something on your thigh. zip up hoodies are great for back tattoos as well as outdated bathing suits for ribs hips backs and such.

6. PMA

sometimes its unavoidable to be grouchy but youre getting tattooed! this should be a great day.

Theres probably many more things Im forgetting, but this is a great start!

What are your thoughts? What did I forget? Stress balls? Chewing tobacco?

Let me know in the comments or tweet me @davidmeekart

If you want to set up an appointment with me, text my shop Art and Sol Tattoo at 520-324-7358

David Meek

Tucson Tattoo Artist

Is it safe to get a tattoo during Covid-19?

Is it safe to get tattooed?

Are tattoo shops a safe place?

Well it all depends on where you go I suppose. As it is with any business. 

So, is it safe to get a tattoo during a pandemic? 

I for one think yes! But there are some things you need to consider.

I’ve heard stories of some shops here in Tucson cramming artists and clients into a shared space… while that doesn’t sound too bad, it totally increases the chances of a small blood borne pathogen transmission, or in times like today a viral airborne or contact spread incident. 

That’s a risk I’d rather avoid. My personal clientele and that of my shop are higher end folks that are accustomed to a personal experience where their health is the highest priority. I charge premium prices compared to most tattoo artists in Tucson and so, the experience we offer, reflects how serious we take health and safety. 

I’ve had a few clients think we are a bit over the top with our sterilizing practices, but that’s ok with me. The majority value what we offer for them! And that, in my opinion, is how all successful businesses run!

Masks are at the center of every conversation lately.  And it seems like no one can agree on the usefulness.

I have been around some folks early on that were asymptomatic, and we followed CDC guidelines very strictly.

I put the health and safety of everyone that works at my shop or visits my shop as the highest priority on our list!

We require all of our artists and support staff and even my daughter to be current on blood borne pathogen training as well as covid training!

When you visit our shop, we require everyone to wear a face covering that covers both your nose and mouth, we have put in place a designated area for your non essential items during the tattoo. Purses, keys, backpacks, coats , basically anything you dont need while sitting for a few hours.

Then we ask you to sterilize your necessary items. Phones, chargers, waterbottles etc at our stainless steel station at the entrance.

We follow that up with a trip to the restroom to wash hands, so that you can come back to your clean things, with clean hands.

A quick temperature check and you are ready to get tattooed.

Everyone that comes in, follows this procedure. And it is the best feeling to k me that everyone is safe.

Throughout the day all of the entrance handles, light switches and any high traffic areas are routinely sterilized!

So if you are wondering if it’s safe to get tattooed during the coronavirus pandemic. I assure you that there are places that are putting in the extra effort to lessen your chances of exposure.

My feeling is that, it’s easier to tone down our efforts if we can agree that it isnt that bad, but I sure as hell dont want to be caught off guard if they raise safety protocols.

I for one, do not want to close my business again.


Hiring Tattoo Artists isnt easy

Its me doing what I do best.

Its seems to me that every single tattoo shop is experiencing unprecedented boom times. So much so that Im seeing post after post on multiple tattoo shop social media pages announcing that they are hiring. I admit, even I have put out the help wanted call for my shop Art and Sol.

As of this writing, Im currently booking for spring of 2021 which is a bit hectic when trying to consider birthdays, holidays, weekend getaways with the family, school breaks etc etc.

Im beyond grateful for the trust when it comes to making tattoos for my clients. In fact, the work Ive been asked to do is really starting to line up with the work that lights me up. The large realistic black and grey work!

The problem for me is, the more of that large realistic black and grey tattoo work I get asked to do, the less time I have for the work that got me to where I am today.

Its quite a new dilemma for me. Which is why I was looking to bring in someone that could use a change. Someone that needed a place to feel like they could grow as an artist and a person with our culture.

My clients deserve the best I have for them, but thats coming at a 5 month wait in some cases for a smaller tattoo.

The best I can come up with is bringing in an artist that shares the same values and moral compass as the shop artistically, and as a business in the Tucson community.

Someone that my clients will feel just as comfortable with as they would with me.

Its less of a financial thing for our shop and more for my clients. I feel a responsibility to make sure they get great tattoos. And not have to wait half a year lol. Or settle for a tattoo artist that they are unsure about.

So I guess the point of this post is to let everyone know that I am actively trying to address my new demand and still take care of everyone that wants to get tattooed.

I do have 3 shop helpers that hope to begin a tattoo apprenticeship with me and that will be a great boost of energy for the shop and to the tucson tattoo community. But til then, Ill practice patience and continue working very hard to make things better for the shop, the artists present and future, and our shop helpers.

Im taking appointments for large black and grey realistic tattoos almost exclusively and my rates have increased to counter the new demand. If you are interested in booking with me text Art and Sol at 520-314-7358 to start the process.


Art and Sol Tattoo Gallery in Tucson is open

Hi Tucson, how are ya? have you been well? thats great… me too. 2019 has been one heck of a ride. Ive been able to do some really fun things this year. One of which was planning and marrying my sweetheart of the last 11 years. Hard to think we could squeeze any more into a 12 month period but I’m trying hahaha.

No signs yet but heres the building and home of Art and Sol Tattoo Gallery in Tucson Arizona

In fact, its already happened. We made the decision to expand our private studio and create a bigger environment that many artists could use to cultivate their artistic and personal dreams.

Art and Sol Tattoo Gallery is just that. Our little utopian tattoo studio. But not only that. We will also host new local artists each month.

Heres the inside view of Art and Sol Tattoo Gallery. So comfy and cozy…. Check out those floors!

Tucson is filled with 2 of my favorite things. Art and Sunshine ( and tacos)… hence the spelling of sun in our name. So maybe its like 3 things but it doesnt roll of the tongue the same way.

We’ve also added a new website, instagram, Facebook blah blah blah your favorite social media. Ill link to them so you can follow the ones you love.

what else? oh, i almost forgot… We are now offering permanent makeup and paramedical tattooing by appointment. In my opinion she is one of the best cosmetic tattooers in the tucson and you know how picky I am. or if you don’t, just know that i am.

Our first gallery artist is a dear friend that I happen to have 3 paintings in my personal collection Wallace Book… so it was a no brainer to have him show in our gallery first. You need to come down to the gallery to see his work, or if you cant make it, check him out on social media.

Ill keep you posted here but you can also check out our new shop site to get to know the other artists and all the activities we have planned each month. Ill let you know when thats ready. Til then you can follow all the news @artandsoltattoo on Instagram and Wallace Book @wbookart as well as our new artists @off_tatt_molly and @raemorgan315

Hope we see you soon… like real soon. like October 25th at 6pm soon.

Tucson Weekly Best Tattoo Artist Finalist

Black and Grey Disneys Belle and Castle from Beauty and the Beast movie arm half sleeve tattoo by David Meek best tattoo artist in tucson
Belle from Disneys Beauty and the Beast Tattoo by David Meek Tucson Arizona

What a month. I just got married and Im a finalist in the Tucson Weekly’s Best of Tucson for Best Tattoo Artist for the 2nd year in a row. Im blown away. Its such an honor that my friends and customers think so highly of my work. As an artist its hard to see what others see, as Im always questing for improvement. Always wanting each piece to be better than the last. Not to say that my work isnt fantastic… Its just the plight of an artist. Never settling for “ok”. Staying up at night worrying about the small details that most never see.

Tucson Weekly Best of Tucson 2019 Best Tattoo artist David Meek Best hot dog You sly dog best food truck molecular munchies
Tucson Weekly Best of Tucson 2019

Its truly an honor to be recognized in my community. I learned how to tattoo here back in 2006 and 07. And to be among such amazing artists in the top 5 is mind blowing for sure.

Black and Grey realistic realism roaring bear half sleeve arm tattoo by david meek best tattoo artist tucson arizona
Black and Grey Realistic bear half sleeve arm tattoo by David Meek Tucson Az

My goal then and now has been to make great tattoos that stand the test of time! True collaborations between artist and collector.

If you havent voted in the Finals for best tattoo artist in Tucson, you can click the link here.

No matter the outcome, I have the best job and best customers in Tucson. So lets keep it going!

Be sure to check out some of my friends and vote for them as well like

You Sly Dog…. Molecular Munchies…. Tucson Hop Shop….Cyndi and Chris in the morningYoga OasisJade Beall Photography

Who are some of your favorite Tucson businesses and artists. Leave them in the comments so others can see who deserves some local love!


I married my best friend at Historic Hotel Congress in Tucson Arizona

Its my first day back at the studio since I was married on Saturday. There is this crazy haze I’m walking around in… Nothing seems to bother me.

I walked into the tattoo studio this morning to discover there had been a little flooding from our first few monsoon storms of the season ( the first of which occurred during our ceremony) and the power is out on the entire back wall of my studio.

Ill have to rearrange so I can tattoo from a different outlet if we don’t get it fixed soon…. But thats it… Thats the worst case scenario. and its not that bad.

I feel like normally I would be in a state of panic.. Not the kind of panic that creates more problems, but the kind that distracts me from getting the right things done in the right order… Im married now. Which outlet I use to make tattoos is a very small issue. My wife has entrusted her heart to me…. That.. is a very big responsibility that I will handle with the highest urgency and regard.

I’ve heard of Pregnancy brain.. You know…. where you kind of get a little spacey… My wife has even exposed me to yoga brain after I’ve taken one of her classes at Yoga Oasis…. But this. This feels different. Or maybe its the same.. Im just content with all things good and bad. There is a peace that has washed over me…

Is this Honeymoon brain? Is this ” thank god the stress of the wedding planning is over” brain? Perhaps a little of column A and little of column B? Who cares? I sure dont.

Ive got a couple weeks til the honeymoon actually takes place. Which is nice. A little more time to relive the memories of one of the best weekends of my life.

David Meek Tattoo artist in Tucson with Johnna Meek Yoga instructor 500 RYT in Tucson dance at Historic Hotel congress
Mr and Mrs David Meek dancing the night away at Historic Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson

Weve been pouring over the pictures all of our guests have taken. I could look at them all day long…. My wife and I were stunning ( she was 1000% out of my league then and now). The Hotel Congress was a main character in our wedding story as well, and she looked marvelous. Not bad for being 100 years old either!

The weekend was fantastic… From our favorite people flying in to celebrate with us. To our closest friends doing everything in their power to make us feel as if we were the center of the universe( Bobby Cyndi/Erika Jenn/Oli Jay). To my wifes tear jerking vows ( she was unamimously voted the winner of the vows haha). Our first dance… Dancing with my daughter to the Toy Story Theme Song that she picked for us. And the epic after party that so many of my clients and friends attended. It was pure Magic. ( it didnt hurt that we actually got married on Walt Disney and Lillian Bounds wedding anniversary either)

Walt disney and Lillian bounds are married on July 13th 1925
Walt Disney marries Lillian Bounds on July 13th 1925
David Meek and Johnna Warren are married at historic hotel congress on july 13 2019 in downtown tucson arizona
David Meek and Johnna Warren are married on July 13th 2019

I thought for a second that I might be crazy enough to want to do it all over again (which I would in a heartbeat) but I think Ill be OK with a one and done.

Weve got some great things in store for the tattoo studio. Just had to get through this wedding business and the honeymoon and then itll be back to business.

Ill wrap up with some personal insights and a list of thank yous…

I wanted to mention what I personally took away from this… This was one of the very first times that I was able to focus on myself and my family exclusively.. Im sure you understand. In everything I do, I wonder what someone thinks about me… if they approve of what Im doing or if they are judging me. I think we can all be guilty of that from time to time… In fact, we had set expectations in our minds in regards to how the night would play out… how the family would get along, what would people wear ( semi formal was the code) and so on. I worried about that stuff… I really did.

It was all for nothing… At the end of it all. It was my wife and I floating around the room smiling and happy together.. The rest of the world didnt matter. Maybe I just needed to be married to her this whole time (11 years later).

I feel more unstoppable than ever before. and if things don’t go as planned. Im still married to my best friend. There is no downside in life anymore. We have our daughter and each other.

A huge shout out to our host, the lovely and aging so gracious Hotel Congress. It is truly my honor to be a part of your history. Specifically Melissa and her team in the Copper Hall. From day one with her we knew it was going to be her that made this day and weekend what it was. I only wish I had more events to host so I could visit with her weekly… Please do yourself a favor and consider her when looking to host any event. Thanks Melissa.

And of course for capturing all of the evenings festivities, a huge thank you to Sergio our Photographer. His skill are second to none. The most common issue we ran into while talking with other couples was their photos. We took our time and made sure to find the right person… and Sergio is hands down the best decision we made. Thanks

Jocelyn, Nate and Miriam at the front desk were incredible as well. We felt right at home for our stay. As did all of our guests. Im already planning on booking my next stay.

Matt at the Cup cafe was incredibly accommodating to my everchanging reservations for my family to join me for a post wedding brunch.

Keith and Mike in the Lobby bar were equally amazing. Making sure my cup never runneth dry haha.

All in all, the Hotel Congress and all the staff made sure our weekend and wedding day was exactly what it was supposed to be. This was the epitome of hospitality. I really can’t stress this enough. Im looking forward to enjoying this Tucson gem for years and years to come!

Have you ever stayed at Hotel Congress? What did you think? share your thoughts in the comments or this post with someone thinking about hosting there!


Best of Tucson 2019 finalists are in and I’m up for Best Tattoo Artist!

The first round of voting for Best of Tucson is in and Im blown away. For the second year in a row Ive been nominated for Best Tattoo Artist in Tucson. Thanks to all who nominated me! Its a huge honor to be be in the top 5… Im happy to just make good tattoos for my amazing clientele, but a little recognition aint gonna kill me haha. So again a huge thank you to all that have gotten me this far and trust me year after year to make tattoos for you.

Walt Disneys Beauty and the Beast Black and Grey Arm Tattoo by David Meek in Tucson Arizona
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Arm Tattoo by Me in Tucson Arizona

Best of Tucson Voting is live… so lets get best tattoo artist and best tattoo shop this year!

Traditional Pinup Hula Girl Tattoo available in Tucson at David Meek Tattoos

The time is upon us. The Tucson Weekly’s Best of Tucson 2019 voting has begun. Last year I was so very fortunate to have so many wonderful people put my name and my private studio in the ring for Best Tattoo Artist as well as Best Tattoo Shop in Tucson. It was such an honor to have the trust and votes from so many. My goal has always been to make tattoos that stand the test of time, are applied with clean crisp technique, in a clean and relaxingly comfortable studio…. So, as far as that goes, Ive been a winner for along time in that competition.

But… The competitor in me always wants a little more haha. So last year was only the first year my studio was open, and I was a finalist for Best Tattoo Artist and the studio was a finalist for Best Tattoo Shop. Amazing. But I think we can do a bit better this year.

This first round is for nominations. So please take a moment to go the the link and show some love for your favorite things in Tucson.

Best tattoo artist – David Meek Best Tattoo shop – David Meek Tattoos, Best Hot Dog- You Sly Dog, Best radio or morning show hosts – Cyndi and Chris, Best Hamburger- Molecular Munchies, Best brewery-Dilinger Brewing Co Best Yoga Studio- Yoga Oasis… these are just a few of my friends that deserve some recognition and a nomination!

Thanks for taking the time to support local tucson businesses!

Dave Meek

Episode 15: Clint Vaught and the biography of tattooer Mike Huff

I was eager to receive the call from Clint about being on the podcast. I love tattoo history and where it brought us. Im sure you have noticed there is a bit of nostalgia in most every episode with an overtone of distain for the modern process of instagram and hashtags…and this episode is no different. But this time we get to delve into a tattooer that was part of the history we so revere and yet have never heard of him. He quietly slipped into history having done his duty as a tattooer. He worked for the people, he plied his trade, he fed his family and he provided shelter. Far from where we are now with hashtag millionaires and iconic tattooers known for their hairdo more than their work. I submit this chat for you to enjoy not only Clints journey and dedication to our humble beginnings but also Mikes part in it. 

Clint at Mikes final resting place

Lyle Tuttle and Clint Vaught

Please follow Clint and check out what hes done for us on Instagram and the his website

IG @clintvaught

IG @royalartbooks

IG @lyletuttlecollection


and dont forget to follow the show on all the social medias
or subscribe on Itunes or Google Play here
Thanks so much for all the support and feed back everyone… there are alot of podcasts out there and to think you waste a couple hours with me each month is crazy… Thanks 
Dave Meek