Sacred Ink by Zach Barrios

May 2, 2022

I’m passionate about visual art because it can, in a single glance, tell stories that are unique to the person viewing it. Fortunately, I live in a very cultural city, Tucson, which has great art. And when it comes to the art of tattoos — a favorite art form — you can’t go wrong with Sacred Art Tattoo. Sacred Art is a local tattoo parlor that provides top-notch tattoos along with body piercings. When looking for a high quality tattoo for an affordable price, Sacred Art has got you covered.

I went to Sacred Art for the first time in the spring of 2021. I didn’t go to any work done, though. I just tagged along with a friend who was schedule to get her first tattoo. I was blown away by the color interior, which reminded me of an art gallery or modern museum.

An artist by the name of Zach Berrios approached and asked if we were there to get a tattoo or a piercing. He saw my forearm and the recent tattoo — my first that I got  back home in Chandler, Arizona. ”Hey man,” he said, “do you plan getting any more tattoos?” I said that I was actually planning to finish the rest of my forearm so I would have a complete half sleeve. Zach pulled out his phone and showed me some of his work, which pretty much made up my mind of who I was going to have to finish my half sleeve. What stood out from was the attention to detail which is crucial for realism tattoos — and that’s huge plus for me because that is personally my favorite style of tattoos. We exchanged numbers that same day and a little less than a month later I was back at the shop ready to get my second tattoo.

My Tattoo Experience With Zach

I strolled into Sacred Art on that very rainy morning, eager to see what kind of ideas Zach had to complement mine. My great grandfather passed away back in 2019 and my first tattoo was dedicated to his final day alive. My great grandfather was the backbone in my family and had unconditional love and support for all 45 of his grandkids along with his 9 children. He was a guy you couldn’t keep from smiling when around family and friends. I decided I wanted a piece to commemorate the years of his life to complete my half sleeve. The tattoo we created has 3 roses because that is how many generations we are apart and the roses also resemble the love my grandfather had for life along with Roman numerals that show my grandfathers life span to complete the piece.

Within the first half-our of our appointment, Zach made a stencil of exactly what I was looking for. The design decided, we went down to the cool basement where his studio is located.. He offered me a snack before we got started and once I finished that last bite of a bag of Sour Patch Kids, it was time to rock and roll.

As he grazed his buzzing needle over a cup of ink I shuddered a little since it had been a while since my last tattooed. Throughout the four-hour session Zach and I talked about how he grew up I the shop along . When you’re a natural conversationalist as I am, it’s important to have a guy like Zach who enjoys dialogue. Chatting makes the hours fly by — not a bad thing when you’re going through the non-stop needle beating of a tattoo.

Zach’s take on tattooing

As fascinated I was with his work, hearing Zach’s take on it enhanced my appreciation for the artistry of tattooing. Getting a tattoo is just as much of an experience for the artist as it is for the client.” To me, all tattoos tell a story like a book or a movie,” Zach told me. “Just like any book or movie, there are good ones and bad ones. I strive to create something new and unique everyday, otherwise I would have the most boring job in the world.”

Experiencing new people and seeing how the differently the ink interacts with each person’s body makes every client experience unique. It also helps the artist perfect their art. “Knowing that it is going to be on a person’s body forever, I feel like every piece I perform has to be perfect. Over time I begin to notice improvement in my work, which makes me want to keep going.”

Zach and his fellow artists are very attuned to each other’s artistry, not just in terms of images but the intricacies of those images. ” Detail means everything to me,” he said. “When it comes to tattooing, I learn new tips from my peers every single day, and it helps make my own artwork the best it can possibly be.”

An ongoing experience

As far as pricing goes it varies depending on the artist and what they feel their artwork is worth. A great thing about Zach is that he likes to give an estimate for the tattoo during the consultation. He charges roughly $150 an hour based on his price point estimates, and I can tell you first hand it is worth every penny. Zach also requires a deposit of at least $50 in case you don’t show up for your appointment. that amount will be taken out of the price when the tattoo is finished. Very affordable prices throughout the shop for some high quality work.

About a week ago I texted Zach because I found an idea for my shoulder that I think he will kill. We met up at a scheduled consultation to talk about what I would like to get done and he was showing me some of his recent tattoos he’s been doing to give me multiple themes to work with. I look forward to continuing my journey with this great artist and friend.


Kaleb Brunner is studying finance at UArizona’s Eller College of Management.