Question And Answer


Tattoos are known around the world as, 

tatoeage, tatouage, tätowier, tatuaggio, tatuar, 

tatuaje, tatuagens, tatoveringer, tato, 

tattueringar, tatoos, and tatu.

  • Full Name:  Brandon  Garic Notch 


  •  Nickname: Sacred Saint 

  •  Where are you originally from: Saint Paul Minnesota 

  • Where do you live and work now: I currently live in San Bernardino, 

CA, where I built a private studio for myself and work by Appointment 

only. San Bernardino, is just an hour drive east from the crowded streets of 

downtown Los Angeles.                                

  • Name of your studio: Sacred Saint Studio 

  • How long have you tattooing? I  have been pushing these pins since 

1996, but professionally since 1998. PINS TO THE SKIN!! I learn 

something new every day.

  • How did you get into tattooing? I was in juvenile hall when I first really 

got interested into tattooing. I was a young kid lost in the world trying 

to find my place. You know getting into trouble, ha, ha. I bought some 

equipment and machines, and started scratching on my friends then got 

new friends. Yes we all start out as scratcher’s it takes a lot of bad 

tattoos to get good in this game. So you tattoo for free doing anything, 

and everything that comes your way to lean, and progress as a tattooist. 

I lied about my age and went around to some shops showing off my 

work and, I was able to land an apprenticeship, I never looked back. All 

I know is after that, all I did was eat, sleep, and breathe anything that 

had to do with tattooing. I talk about it in my book. (Death is only the 


  • When did you get into painting? I've been into art, painting and drawing 

my whole life. My parents are artist's.

  • Was your family and friends supportive in your decision to become an 

artist? Yes, everyone was very supportive.

  • Do you like to challenging yourself every time you tattoo? Yes, I love 

creating bigger and better tattoos.

  • What do you like about tattooing? I love the conversations, the stories, 

the interaction with my clients never gets old, and the ability to create 

lasting art, Impressions in the skin and on the mind. The POWER of 

ART holds true. Creating hope, faith, motivation, change and 

inspiration in ones life. Artwork is changing lives and motivating the 

world around us, life is ART.. Let's tattoo the world with art.


  • Do you ever do charity work? Work cheap for the right cause / donate 

paintings, Etc.?"  Ha, ha... I am an artist, but this does not mean i will 

work for FREE, I have bills just like you.

  • Do you have a favorite tattoo? I don't have a favorite tattoo, but I love 

things that challenge me, and people that give me large parts of their 

body to tattoo. I have yet to do my best tattoo only my best so far.

  • Who or what is your biggest influence in your tattoo work and why? 

My clients aren't the biggest influences in my work they give me the 

skin and inspiration to create. Something’s you just can't do with paint 

on canvas. They really are the biggest influence in my work.

  • If I had to name my greatest motivation in life thus far, what would it 

be?  DEATH (Being happy with what i have done in life, and having 


Brandon Notch ribs logo sacredsaint
  • What was the most 

difficult thing to learn in 

tattooing for you and 

why? Most difficult 

thing for me to learn in 

tattooing would have to 

be learning how to 

transfer one’s idea from 

their mind to paper, to 

create a permanent piece 

of artwork in one’s skin. 

Most of the time a client 

will be thinking about 

red, but he’ll say blue, 

so you have to predict 

that. Ultimately keep in 

mind the flow of the art 

on the body. You can have a badass top-notch tattoo, but if it has no 

flow, or does not fit the body, ultimately it will look like shit.

  • How do you usually advertise or market yourself? Advertising is one 

thing I don’t believe in. I believe that good work speaks for itself, all 

my clients are referral-based. If your work speaks for itself, don’t 

interrupt it... :) 

  • What brand of inks do you recommend or use and why? I can’t 

recommend any brands of the inks, because I use a lot of different inks 

there’s no one brand that’s better than the other. It all depends upon 

what you like. Most of my colors I make, like red I’ve been making 

inks for about eight years now. Some brand’s have a good color but the 

rest suck or are hard to work into the skin. It took me many years to 

find the colors I like, But if you’re talking about ink. When I say ink, I 

mean black because that is the only ink we use, all the colors are 

pigments. I still like talons white label. 

  • What is the best brand of tattoo machines that you recommend and 

why? I can’t recommend a brand of tattoo machines. I can only tell you 

there are two types, daily drivers and hotrods. On a long day you want 

something that feels good in your hand doesn’t weight too much and 

will not overheat. So ultimately you would need to find a machine that 

feels good in your own hands. 

  • What do you believe is the most important tattooing skill one should 

learn how to master, and why? Would you believe the most important 

skill is, to truly understand there is still much to learn. It’s never as easy 

as it looks to lay down a good clean tattoo.The ability to create beautiful 

imagery, that is a skill honed over many years of hard work. 

  • What is your best advice or tips to someone new to the art of tattooing? 

The best advice I could give to someone new to the art of tattooing 

would be, look at it like buying a car. Shop for quality and style not 

price! A tattoo is the only thing you can buy that no-one can take from 

you. Don’t get Cheap on the only thing that will outlive you. Cold, yes I 

know, but I’m really tired of fixing and covering up shady tattoos. If 

you do it right the first time it will be cheaper in the long run, Also if 

you need to get the tattoo right away you probably should not get it at 

all. Be patient and put some thought into it, and do it right. 

  • What is the best way to practice for those just starting out? Practice on 

your friends and then get new friends, just kidding. You need to learn 

on your Self to get the feel of it. The depth, speed, and movement of the 

machine pushing that puddle of ink or pigment, the ability you give the 

needles. You need to get use to the minimal visibility you have of the 

needle because of puddling ink, and you have to love it.


  • What is the best way for one to land an apprenticeship? The best way 

for one to land an apprenticeship would be to get tattooed, find a good 

shop and get tattooed by an artist you like, that’s the start. Become a 

hang around, help out and show your determination, eventually they 

will ask you. Make sure they see your determination and heart, 

everything else can be taught.

Sacred Saint tattoo Brandon notch logo
  • What do you call the art of tattooing? The Art Of 

Tattooing: The art of tattooing is in the ability to 

learn how to transfer one's idea from their mind to 

paper. Then to create a permanent piece of artwork 

in one's skin. Most of the time a client will be 

thinking about red but he'll say blue, so you have 

to predict that. Keep in mind the flow of the art 

on the body. You can have a badass top-notch 

tattoo but if it has no flow or does not fit the body, ultimately it will not 

look good.

  • Do you ever get frustrated sometimes when things just dont work? 

When making your art/painting or tattooing?” Ha, ha, ha, If you get 

upset when the toast burns, what are you going to do when your house 

burns down?

  • Do you have any advice for your fellow artist struggling to stay afloat? 

Ya, never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a 

victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself. Why try 

to be someone you're not? Life is hard enough without adding 

impersonation to the skills required. If the life of a tattooist is you, then 

DO IT!! ;)

  • How would you describe your personality? An outgoing straight 

forward comedic personality. I work hard, and party hard.






ART ALIVE! Artwork is changing lives and motivating the world around 

us. ART is life.. Let's tattoo the world with art, I will do my part to keep 

America beautiful and keep people from getting bad tattoos.You will get 

nothing short of top quality, clean, safe, artistic tattooing by internationally 

recognized artist Brandon Garic Notch (aka) Sacred Saint. 

Brief History of the Japanese Tattoo

   As the power of the common people and working classes of Japan grew 

in the latter half of the Edo period (circa 18th century) horimono, or 

traditional Japanese tattoos, began to flourish as art form. Using images 

from traditional water colour paintings, woodcuts and picture books of the 

time as designs, the ultimate reward for the patience and endurance of pain 

would be a tattoo of immense beauty. To experience and enjoy Japanese 

horimono tattoos it is important to understand their history and 

background, and it is also important to continue to preserve the traditions 

behind them.

   The origins of traditional Japanese tattoos can be 

traced back to the latter years of the Edo period in 

Japanese history. In 1603, the then ruler of Japan, 

Tokugawa Ieyasu, centralised his shogunate 

government in Edo, what is now Tokyo. In the 200 

years following this, the established feudal system 

began to stagnate, and in opposition to the martial 

upper classes, the common people of Edo began to 

develop their own separate, unique culture for 


   Rejecting the centuries-old strict ethics and morality of the Confucian 

beliefs of the samurai and taking up themes based on duty, ninjo (human 

experiences and feeling), fashion and comedy the townspeople of Edo 

increasingly began to enjoy novels, drama, comic tanka songs and theatre. 

Books such as kokusenyagassen by Chikamatsu Monzaemon, 

Honchohsuikohden and Satomihakkenden by Takisawa Bakin and many 

other publications, along with picture books and artwork all combined to 

develop into a system that became a massive outlet of cultural expression 

for the ordinary people of Edo.

   In this way the society of Edo progressed, and the pride and mentality of 

the ordinary people, manifested in such ways as dategokoro (foppish male 

fashion) and shokunin-kishitsu (the pride and way of thinking of the Edo 

working classes) of the tobishoku, or blue-collar workers, grew amongst 

such townspeople as labourers, manufacturers, hikeshi or firemen (in 18th 

century Edo urban fires were commonplace, and a major cause of 

mortality, as well as an ample source of tales of heroism) and petty crooks 

known as gaen. Some of these predominantly working class people of 

Edo, in imitating the heroes of the folk story Suikohden, as popularised 

at the time by the famous woodblock artist Kuniyoshi (Suikohden was a 

legend originating in China, where outlaws who, in defying the local 

corrupt authorities became folk heroes as protectors of the common 

people; an oriental equivalent of Robin Hood) began to ritualistically 

and painfully tattoo themselves with designs based on folklore, such as 

dragons, giant snakes and Chinese lions, and also with religious figures 

such as the Bhudda, Fudomyo (the God of Fire), Fujin and Raijin (the 

Gods of Wind and Lightning) and Kannon (the Goddess of Mercy) 

using sharp needles to insert pressed charcoal ink under their skin.


   The people who carried out such tattooing tended to be ukiyoe 

woodblock artists, who simply exchanged their wood-carving blades for 

long, sharp needles. As time progressed however, some of these artists 

specialised in tattooing and came to devote all their time to tattooing only, 

and thus became tattooists. This long process has come to produce what is 

known as the uniquely-Japanese traditional art form, horimono.

   There are written records indicating that in Edo as early as 1830 there 

were formal gatherings of tattoo enthusiasts. Although nowadays tattoo 

conventions are common both in Japan and in the West, the fact that in 

Edo such conventions were taking place over 150 years ago is an indicator 

of the long and rich history of traditional Japanese tattoos.

   The tattoos of the Edo, Meiji and Shohwa eras are described in the 

classic 1936 work, Bunshin Hyakushi, or One Hundred Tattoo Figures and 

Stories, by Tamabayashi Haruo. In the book, the life and works of some of 

the famous tattooists of the Edo period are described, such as 

Karakusagonta (from Asakusa), Darumakin and Iso (Yanaka), Charibun 

(Asakusa), Horitsun (Kameido), Ichimatsu (Asakusa), Kane (Yottsuya) 

and Horiichi (Osaka). However there is no photographic record of their 

works and designs, and so one must go by their considerable word-of-

mouth reputation.

   Horiuno was born Kamei Unosuke in Kanda, Edo in 1843. At this time, 

tattoos were undergoing a surge in popularity amongst the people of Edo. 

Horiuno became a tattooist at the age of 20, but travelled extensively 

throughout Japan, such as to Osaka, Kyoto and Shizuoka, and only really 

began working full-time from the age of 40. However, he continued his 

business well into his 70s and much of his work can still be seen today. 

Many of his customers were workers in the local construction and 

manufacturing industries, and in 1912, some of these locals of the Kanda 

area formed the Kanda Choyu-kai, literally "Tattoo Friends Society of 

Kanda", and 10 years later, extended membership to those outside the 

Kanda area, to form the Edo Choyu-kai.

   The members of this group, who consisted mostly of labourers such as 

construction workers, carpenters and plasterers, would meet every year at 

places such as Ojinanushi-no-taki and Marukotamagawaen, taking part in 

mass outdoor banquets, or in festivals such as the Asakusa Sanja-matsuri, 

showing off their extensive and intricate body tattoos with pride. Horiuno 

was well known throughout Japan and also overseas, and was said to be 

Japan's most talented tattooist. However, at that time a wealth of equally-

skillful tattooists, such as Horiiwa, Horikane, Kyuta and Nekokichi could 

be found throughout Japan.

Shimada Kunihiro, Japan Tattoo Institute
Translated by Adam Guy

Brandon Notch Sacree Saint logo

A Tattooist’s Code of Ethics

- I will provide a clean, safe environment in which to practice. 

- An autoclave sterilizer will be used and maintained in accordance 

with APT guidelines. 

- I will keep my blood borne pathogens training current. 

- I will follow my local, state and federal health regulations. 

- I will not tattoo anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

- I will not conduct myself in a manner that will reflect negatively on my 

profession. All tools and materials used will be of professional quality. 

- I will make every effort to educate my clients and the general public in 

what constitutes safe procedure. 

- I will promote safe tattooing within my industry. 

- I will provide my clients with written and verbal aftercare instructions. 

- I will perform every tattoo to the best of my ability. 

- I will maintain a professional attitude toward my clients and peers. 

- I will respect the roots, traditions and heritage of my art. 

“Here's to the crazy ones ~ the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers ~ the 

round pegs in the square holes ~ the ones who see things differently — 

they're not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify 

or vilify them ~ but the only thing you can't do is ignore them ~ because 

they change things ~ they push the human race forward ~ and while some 

may see them as the crazy ones ~ we see genius ~ because the ones who 

are crazy enough to think that they can change the world ~ are the ones 

who do!!! Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I 

know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are 

already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. Stay hungry. 

Stay foolish." -Steve Jobs R.I.P.

Sacred Saint Brandon Notch
All artwork and tattooing by Brandon Notch aka:Sacred Saint (copyright) Sacred Saint Studio and Art Gallery CA.