Here is our first Santa Cruz tattoo contest. Check out the photos of our first three contestants. You can join in. Just upload a picture of your Santa Cruz tattoo and we'll add you to the poll. (Click UPLOAD Photos on the right.)
People can vote for their favorite and we'll crown a Best Santa Cruz Tattoo winner. VOTE in the poll below.
Watch Patch for an announcement of a Santa Cruz Tattoo event over Labor Day weekend, where artists will do tattoos of the city's name in a benefit for Grind Out Hunger.
Essy Barroso-Ramirez, 22, is a 4.0 student at Cabrillo College who works at Chipotle in Capitola. She got Santa Cruz tattooed on her two arms from a friend when she was 16. The Santa is on one arm, the Cruz on the other.
Then, at 18, she went to to have it enhanced.
"I was thinking, I really wanted a tattoo that said Santa Cruz because I'm really proud of where I'm from," she says.
"It's a beautiful town. It's got everything you would ever want."
She has worked at the Boardwalk for three summers, Baskin- Robbins on 41st Avenue, downtown and on River Street and no employer bothered her about her unmistakably visible body art.
She says she's heard of people getting Watsonville tattoos, but they were gang related. Hers is not. She plans to study nursing at San Jose State after graduating from Cabrillo, where she is a member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma honor society.
Alberto Perez, 22, got his Santa Cruz tattoo when he was 18 at tattoos.
"I was actually going to enlist in the Marines and I wanted to get something to remind me of where I was from. I love the city, the environment. It's completely different from the valley and Monterey. It's its own world, basically."
He's studying nutrition, anthropology and sociology at Cabrillo before he heads to the Marines in February. He's also griller and cook at Chipotle. He's worked at the Boardwalk, Santa Cruz Nutritional and done roofing.
After they saw his "Santa Cruz Knot" tattoo, several of his friends got the same one.
Danny Keith, 43, owns the SC logo on his tattoo, which he put on his body 18 years ago. When he started on 41st Avenue, he was so young that he had trouble convincing distributors to sell to him. One of the solutions to the problem was to have a logo that people recognized.
After trying several others, he decided on the big SC, which was designed by artist Tim Ward. It became became big around SC, on cars, skateboards, surfboards, shirts, and tattooed on skin. It's one of the most recognizable icons of the the city, along with the famous red dot designed by Jim Phillips and Jay Shuirman.
"This place is paradise," says Keith, who moved to Santa Cruz from Salinas. There is no other city people want to tattoo on them."
Like what you see?