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Exploring Life & Business with Rob Hostetter of Lifetime Tattoo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rob Hostetter.

Hi Rob, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was raised in a household where the counterculture was the norm, so punk rock, skateboarding, etc. was a natural progression for me. I started tattooing in 1990 while still being a professional skateboarder. I opted to retire as a skateboarder and put all of my efforts towards tattooing. I apprenticed in Nevada, then worked in Chicago, then Las Vegas, back to San Diego, Sacramento, then opened up my first shop in Denver, Colorado. We all just got back from the 20 year anniversary of that shop. I’ve worked and lived overseas for years, Amsterdam, Germany, Sweden, New Zealand, Switzerland, there’s a lot more than that, but you get the idea. I also Tattoo annually on the Flogging Molly cruise, and that’s always a phenomenal time. If I had more specific questions, I could give more detailed answers, but it’s hard for me to prattle on about all the things I’ve done.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Learning about tattooing in the late 80’s/early 90’s was a rough business. That’s what created the whole “New School” of tattooing. Old timers weren’t too helpful, so a lot of folks just did their best to figure it out on their own. But suffice to say, it was a lot more harrowing to get into it then than it is today.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Lifetime Tattoo?
We are tattooing done the way I think tattooing should be done. All the experiences I’ve had throughout my travels and associates have led me to be able to clearly define what good tattooing is. No gimmicks, no failed experiments that I’m too young to remember it not working in the first place, just solid tattooing that should make the wearer proud. That’s the goal, and that’s what I’ve been able to accomplish.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
I would say caring more about the end result for the customer’s sake. Sometimes folks come in with an idea that they’re convinced is going to be amazing, but I know won’t maintain its quality over the years. If I can do my best to diplomatically guide then into a well-built, long-lasting tattoo, everyone wins.


  • We tend to charge by the individual tattoo, based on size, location, etc. the only time there’s an hourly rate is if it a large, multiple sitting tattoo. The hourly rates are decided by each tattooer individually, but I charge $200 an hour.

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