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Rising Stars: Meet Monica Gonzalez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monica Gonzalez.

Hi Monica, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My name is Monica, or as some know me, Demonica. I was born and raised in Escondido. At 18 years old I moved out and went to live in Washington. Two years later, I moved to Phoenix, AZ. This is where I was first intrigued by the tattoo industry and fell in love with black and grey realism. From there, I went on to get my own two large scale black and grey tattoos. The first one was by a female apprentice and the second was done by an older male. After spending several hours with them, I got to know them and was so inspired by their stories of how the came up out of their situations. I knew that tattooing is what I wanted to pursue. I moved back to Escondido in 2017 and I told myself, “in three years, I want to have my own tattoo studio.” I told all my friends I wanted to be a tattoo artist. Everyone was excited for me and ready to volunteer their bodies for practice, it was great! I didn’t know it at the time, but I had been networking and that’s how I got my foot in the door at a tattoo shop. I had a falling out but I don’t regret it, that is how I met my late mentor, Teddy. He took me under his wing. I bounced around between apprenticing and working a full-time job for the next 3 years. Fast forward to December of 2020, another tattoo artist saw my work and asked if I wanted to join their shop as an artist (not as an apprentice), I accepted. Juggling a full-time job, a tattoo schedule and my own personal life was getting to be too heavy on me. I took a break in June on 2021. During my break, I decided I would shoot my shot at opening up a private studio. I succeded. Two months later in August, I opened up Por Vida Tattoos in El Cajon, CA and quit my full time job.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It has its ups and downs like everything in life. I feel like the biggest obstacle for me was probably time management. I made a commitment to the tattoo shops that I would give them my free time and sometimes I’d just feel so burnt out trying to accommodate clients, managers and my regular 9-5. I literally had to make appointments a month in advance just to spend time with my family & friends!

Another challenge was getting out of my own head. Being in a shop full of testosterone, it’s easy for egos to get in the way and I wasn’t used to it. When I first started, hearing the way guys would speak about each other’s work would sometimes cause me to doubt myself. I learned to use their critiques to my advantage and push myself to try harder every time.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
What sets me apart from others is my soft approach to tattooing. I like to mix bold lines with soft shading for that “smooth” look. I specialize in black and grey, fine line, lettering, eyeliner, lip blush and ombre brows. I listen to client’s requests, provide a private setting, and do my best to keep the client comfortable from start to finish.

In addition to being a tattoo artist, I am also a permanent makeup artist. I’m certified to perform semi-permanent ombre/powder brows, eyeliner and lip blush.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
It’s not a lesson, but a phrase I live by “Nunca Pares.” That’s my motto, it translates to “Never Stop”. No matter what happens, never stop, keep trying! I’ve learned that devastating things are going to happen in life, people will talk down on you, your family may not believe in you, shoot maybe you won’t even believe in yourself sometimes… but don’t let that stop you! Use that energy to prove to yourself that you are worthy and deserving of anything you want in this life time.


  • $120 minimum
  • $50 non-refundable deposit due when scheduling an appointment

Contact Info:

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