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Meet Shane Wallin of Garnet Tattoo in Pacific Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shane Wallin.

Shane, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m the owner of Garnet Tattoo in San Diego. I am a 24-year veteran tattoo artist. I am originally from Minneapolis, MN. My family and I relocated to San Diego in 2015. Throughout my career, I have strived to be versatile for my clientele. I still enjoy working with many styles of tattooing. Much of my work has become focused on working with breast cancer survivors. Doing not only decorative design but also 3D nipple and areola tattooing for breast cancer survivors and the transgender community.

In 2012, I was approached by a client named Shari. She was a breast cancer survivor and had undergone a double mastectomy. She went through reconstruction including implants and skin resurfacing. She was left with considerable scarring from this experience. She I had the idea of covering the scars with a beautiful decorative lace bra tattoo. At this point in my career, I have done nothing like it. I was very much into the idea and immediately started working on sketches. I produced a design that she was extremely happy with so we set a date to do the tattooing. We scheduled two five hour sessions to complete the tattoo. The results were amazing. I posted her tattoo on social media. It received a great deal of attention. A woman named, Marissa did a story about the tattoo on her blog Needles and Sins.

From there, it was reposted by Tattoo Artist Magazine on their Facebook page. The reach was world wide. 40,000 likes and 4,000 shares and tons of positive feedback in a matter of a few days. Amazing! Shortly after finishing the tattoo, I was given the terrible news Shari’s cancer had returned in a different place in her body. She decided not to fight and was gone within a few months. She expressed to me just how happy this tattoo had made her for a brief time and that she felt like a woman again. This made me realize what a profound affect my work could have. Positive change. Shari was a beloved wife mother and grandmother. I’m very grateful for the experience that she gave me and The direction it has taken my career.

Based on Shari’s tattoo Noel Franus from the P.ink organization got in touch with me to host the Minneapolis Event for October 10, 2014. The event takes place in several cities across the United States. Tattoo artists donate time to work with Breast Cancer survivors to create beautiful designs to cover scars. Both of my studios continue to take part in this annual event. In October 2017, I participated in a similar event in Berlin, Germany.

I continue to work with many plastic surgeons and medical facilities her in the San Diego area, Minneapolis and across the country doing restorative nipple and Areola work. I am currently working on arrangements to work with surgeon Alaska!

I am very excited and grateful for the opportunities this career path has given me. I look forward to continue to expand the community of mastectomy based tattooing.

I will be participating in the upcoming San Diego Tattoo Invitational May 4-6 in collaboration with @inkedbytats and Susan G. Komen San Diego. We will be doing both 3D nipple and decorative tattoo give aways throughout the event.

San Diego is a beautiful city filled with wonderful people. My family and I truly enjoy our time here and everything Southern California has to offer.

For more information about my work or to contact me check out garnettattoo.com.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Throughout my career there have been many challenges and obstacles to overcome. Moving across country and opening a new business was a huge undertaking. The persistence and hard work paid off. Things are going really well.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was always a fairly quiet kid. I spent a lot of time drawing. In my early teens, I became very interest in skateboarding and punk rock music. At the time, it was far from the norm especially growing up in the Midwest.The culture had a huge impact on me and definitely guided my path into the tattoo industry. The artwork on album covers and skateboards was very inspirational and sort of went hand-in-hand with tattooing.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Tattooing photo JPS photography

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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