Smile Now, Cry Later: Guns, Gangs, and Ink-The Story of a Tattoo Art Legend

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Pioneering black-and-gray tattoo artist Freddy Negrete was twelve years old and confined in the holding cell of a Los Angeles juvenile facility when an older teenager entered--covered in tattoos. Freddy was in awe, not just of the art, but of what it symbolized, and he wanted what this kid had: the potent sense of empowerment and belonging that came from joining a gang. The encounter drove Freddy to join the notorious gang La Sangra, and it didn't take long before he was a regular guest at LA County's juvenile detention facilities. By the age of twenty-one, Freddy had spent almost his whole life as a ward of the state in one form or the other.

Enthralled by the black-and-gray tattoo style that in the 1970s was confined to the rebel culture of Chicano gangsters and criminals, Freddy started inking himself with hand-poked tattoos. Everyone wanted a piece of Freddy's black-and-gray style--gangbangers but also Hollywood starlets and film producers.

In a riveting narrative that takes the reader from Freddy's days as a cholo gang member to evangelical preacher to Hollywood body art guru to addiction counselor, Smile Now, Cry Later is, ultimately, a testament to that spark within us all, that catalyst which gives us the strength to survive, transform, and transcend all that can destroy us.

ISBN: 
9781609806941
Publisher: 
Binding: 
Hardcover
Publication Date: 
August 30, 2016