Specializing in American Traditional Tattoos

Melissa Grasso is an emerging first-generation Chicana tattoo artist. She was born and raised in San Diego and has recently established roots in Long Beach, CA. After a brief period of being self-taught, Melissa worked out of the port city, tattooing professionally under the guidance of her mentor at an old-school Tribal street shop. She eventually made her way to Los Angeles and now works out of an American Traditional tattoo shop in Boyle Heights. Melissa's inspiration draws from her Mexican heritage and blends Chicano and West Coast motifs with traditional American elements.

As a child, Melissa was artistically inclined and began sewing, embroidering, painting, songwriting and drawing at an early age. Her first introduction to tattooing started at fifteen and she quickly took to it. Melissa eventually pursued ceramics classes, silversmithing, fabrication and design courses and various other disciplines before circling back to photography and tattooing. She eventually picked up her first machine at twenty-one before her first tattoo apprenticeship at twenty-three.

Since moving to Long Beach, Melissa has formed a deep respect and appreciation for her newfound roots, giving a nod to the culture and history of tattooing itself. She aims to make San Diego natives and Long Beach proud. Her recent works have primarily been watercolor paintings and BiC pen projects. Forever the student and always eager to continue learning, she continues to explore and implement other forms of art in her works.

Melissa enjoys revisiting hobbies and combining them with her current passions. In addition to her tattoo career, she dedicates herself to photographing her colleagues, experiences and friends. Melissa's nostalgic and colorful photos capture an intimate and sometimes dream-like perception of typically obscure figures in the industry. Her photography frequently dials in on select muses and moments that resonate particularly well with her perception of life at that time. Focusing on portrait photography, Melissa documents various themes of fantasy and everyday life.

Melissa hopes to capture the support of her San Diego, Long Beach and newfound Los Angeles communities and with any luck, have the opportunity to install a mural soon.

To navigate to the gallery, click the King of Diamonds
Melissa's prints and stickers can be found by clicking the Queen of Hearts
To book a tattoo, commission her for work or hire her for a project, click the Jack of Clubs
To navigate back home at any time, click MelissGrass at the top