Have you seen the owner and tattoo artist at Big Woolly Mammoth Tattoo? The shop’s name perfectly fits the 6’ 4” bearded man, tattooed from head to toe. Luckily for clients, he’s also got a gentle hand … important when you’re on the business end of a tattooing needle.
I have had the privilege of being tattooed by Sam Martin with a full, clean sleeve on my right arm and other pieces on my left arm. I’ve spent around 50 hours in his chair. Being worked on by him was enjoyable; even the inside of my arm and the elbow joint went smooth.
Having someone you trust to tattoo you is a great thing. The dude has talent!
Sam grew up in Big Bear, drawing and painting as a child through his early adolescence. He started getting tattooed early in his life, receiving his first tattoo at the age of 13.
After high school Sam ventured down the hill to Los Angeles, where he acquired his Associate’s Degree in business and accounting. He then stepped into a job at Caltech, where he worked for six years. Still drawing and painting as he worked his cubical job, Sam found an apprenticeship through a tattoo shop in Southern California. Between both jobs, he worked seven days a week for more than a year and a half. His apprenticeship lasted about three years, and he did his first professional tattoo six months into it. He stepped away from his degree and began tattooing full time and has now been tattooing for seven and a half years.
“The environment of tattooing out of a shop that has a non-tattooing owner and other artists with egos is very stressful,” Sam said. “It’s hard to make it in the business.”
When Sam came to Mammoth two years ago he saw a business opportunity. He thought that opening a tattoo shop here in this resort town would be a great idea. He opened up shop under KMMT and was there for little over a year, displaying art and other pieces of work from artists around the area. He has now moved his shop behind Grumpy’s, to a smaller but better location: a nice, quiet little shop with a burst of color.
Sam is also the singer and lead guitarist of the band Valdur. He has an outstanding amount of clients, with many of the tattooed citizens around town serving as walking billboards for his work.
Big Woolly Mammoth Tattoo Shop is located behind Grumpy’s at 361 Old Mammoth Rd. Look for the red doors at the back of the parking lot. Stop by or call 760.709.0202 for an appointment.