Freddy grew up in the LA gangster culture and went to prison, where he learned to tatoo. His youngest son was murdered in a gang confllict. He felt guilty, fell apart, started using drugs, went to prison, was diagnosed with congestive heart failures, had 3 heart attacks, thought he was going to die in jail, prayed and asked for more time. Freddy joined a rehab program, learned to live with son’s death, dedicated his life to make his son proud and chose to be an example to his living son. He shares these nuggets of life wisdom:
– no matter how low you’ve come, there’s always hope
– if you want change, there is hope and treatment, you just have to want it
– approach things with an open heart
Legendary tattoo artist Freddy Negrete is best known for his pioneering black-and-gray tattoo style, honed while serving time in the California State Prison system during a youth mired in abuse, gang life, and drug addiction. His “prison-style” designs eventually found their way out onto the streets of East LA and, in 1980, he created a piece that earned him a Tattoo Artist of the Year award. Freddy has been featured in the History Channel’s Marked series, in the documentary Tattoo Nation, on Spike TV’s Inkmaster as a guest judge, and in numerous print and online media. He has worked as a technical consultant and tattoo artist on over 30 Hollywood films including Batman, Blade, Con Air, Falling Down and Austin Powers. He currently works at The Shamrock Social Club on the Sunset Strip with his son, Isaiah and has been a volunteer counselor at the Beit T’Shuvah residential treatment center for eight years. His memoir, Smile Now, Cry Later, cowritten with Steve Jones, was released in 2016.