Custom Tattooing by Uncle Tim

Get tattooed in while in Monterey!

"Uncle Tim" Monterey, Calif.

I'm semi retired and will be tattooing by appointment only. Call my cell at (310) 486-3197 for a consultation.

 My art is pure, 100% custom tattooing by appointment ONLY!  There are no regular hours. This is a private studio that is not open to the general public, so walk-ins are not available. I'm not trying to be a snob, I'm just trying to limit myself to substantial projects only. All The Morgue info is on the contact page. I'm really enjoying tattooing in the Monterey area again. 

I highly recommend that we meet for a consultation first so we can plan accordingly.

(Please red the red section at the bottom of this page.)


Get on my mailing list by going to the Testimonials page and follow the prompts to become a member. I will still be doing some west coast shows, so keep an eye on the Calendar page for dates and locations.


 Most of the time, flowers and turtles and hooks are the usual tourist requests. The above tiki is an example of what happens when I get to do what I want.  Tattooing the latter pays the bills but being given freedom by the customer to create at my discretion is the real payoff for me.


"Maybe my age might be showing but inside I'm still a 14 year old boy pulling the wings off of flies and telling fart jokes."...UncleTim.

Photo (left) by Bob Baxter Kauai, 2009 

 Photo (right) by Bernard Clark, Chicago 2010.







Even though most tattoo art is pretty good, somewhere around 1999, I became bored with the same "cookie cutter" art that you see in almost every tattoo shop in the world. When I first started tattooing, (back in 1995), I made the mistake of trying to do what everybody else was doing.  When I quit that route and became true to my own art I began to explode, artistically. These are the kind of crazy imagery I've become known for. I've never been afraid to mix styles that aren't supposed to be mixed and this gives me freedom to explore. This imagery has always given me joy in a sometimes serious business and sugar skulls make me laugh. The reactions to this style are always the same....Smiles and shaking heads. I've done hundreds of these things and they keep selling. Some people like them and some don't. So be it. I do different tattoos every day here on Kauai and at the shows, but these, by far, are some of my favorite ideas. Of course I do just about any design that is interesting, but I prefer to let loose and get nuts. So, if you do like what you see, then read on...

Photo by Justice Howard, San Pedro, 2009

Favorite quotes:

"All we are and all we know is a result of our thinking"---The Buddha

"He who wishes to be creative must first smash and destroy all accepted value"___Nietsche

"Quit whining, nobody ever paid good money to ride a flat roller coaster,"________________Uncle Tim Heitkotter

"Actions are way more important than belief. What we do with our lives rather than what we hope and prey for is the difference between fullfillment and frustration. Magic only exists in the minds of children, televangelists and snake-oil salesmen."____________Uncle Tim Heitkotter

If you want to be seen...stand up. If you want to be heard...speak out! If you want to be loved....sit down and shut the hell up!" .............Frank Sinatra



Daily News!!!

I will be sitting in at Sacred Rose Tattoo at 1728 University Ave, Berkeley, Calif., Fridays through Monday for now. Call my cell (310)486-3197 or their phone, (510)883-1083 to make an appointment for  either Sacred Rose r The Morgue locations.






 I am a former writer of features, columns and reviews for  the Folio award (2004) winning Skin and Ink magazine and also Unfortunately my editor and dear friend Bob Baxter has now passed on and the website has gone the way pf the dinosaur. Skin and Ink is now owned by Gambino family publishing in New York and has lost it's worldly flavor and respect for the tattoo trade. But I still write songs, short stories, commentaries and various pieces like poems and rebuttals. My writing talents are still for hire.


What's rattling around in there?

Who says you have to do everything the same way everybody else does? How else would art or anything else evolve if nothing changes and avenues go unexplored?


You never know what's going to come through the door. All this guy had was wierd variations of Simpson's tattoos. Bizarre, but very funny and I love humourous tattoos. A Homer sugar skull? Why not?


I love to draw these damned things on anything.... including shirts for my favorite tattoo convention in California.



Hello Kitty!!!! Sure, why not? Nothing is sacred in my shop.

These evolved out of Mexican Sugar Skulls created to celebrate their ancestors on "Dio Del Los Muertos" or "Day of the Dead". I love to mix Japanese with Polynesian and throw in a little Kustom Kulture to spice things up. Open jaws...closed jaws...fangs...fluttering tongues...bats, rats, horns or whatever. These things are so much fun and they always make people smile. Some stare for a while before their smile breaks, but always love to look at them with a positive reaction.

Kustom Kulture




Some of the imagery I grew up with influences me every day. Of course, I always throw in my usual tweak here and there. People like Ed Roth and Ken Howard (aka Von Dutch) have a heavy influence on many a tattoo artist, including me. These images are a permanent part of American Art History. Whether it's flash or an original design I always try to push it a little farther each time. There are so many great artists out there and great art to draw from. I'm going to continue to tattoo as long as it's still fun for me.


Humble Origins





All of these began with my love for Traditional style tattooing and it's role throughout American History. The simplicity of the imagery is what intrigues me. The key to this style is how we use suggestions of the image rather than the actual image itself. Minimalism at it's best, I feel. A very pure and honest artform. No explanation needed. Tattooing in Hawaii for 8 years has given me obvious influences.

Lovely Ladies

The black and grey rib piece below is another way to honor the fairer sex. 

I love to take classic designs and add curious backgrounds. And who wouldn't love to hang out on the beach with a lovley hula girl? Uncecessary detail will not necessarily improve these examples. It can enhance them or it will clutter them. Perhaps a coastline and a palm tree would add to our second beauty. I chose to add a little pale blue around the center of the 1st hula girl. The suggestion of sky or water. Then there is the outright obvious addition of island iconography around a mischevious looking hulagirl. A tiny pecker on the Tiki adds some subliminal humor. Lastly, the classic Sailor Jerry Hula girl is just begging for a little extra for that romantic island flavor. A few examples of limitless possiblilities. Kauaiian influences abound.



Again....three more ways to do the same thing. My favorite way is to mix traditional and realistic.  Of course I'm always looking for new ways to do things.

My ugly mug and friends


Me and my supertalented friend "Girl Roni" working at a shop in Jacksonville N.C.

Me tattooing a client at Triangle Tattoo in Ft. Bragg California.

Me, and a very sweet client at my old shop, Studio 13, Salinas Calif.

Me tattooing a client at Body Temple Tattoo in Cardiff by the Sea, Calif.

Me and Larry Allen cruising the glaciers in Alaska, Sept '09.

Me and Betty all dressed up at the '09 QM show.


M o n s t e r s !!!

The sleeve above was done in three days over 16 hours. The top (lower right) was done the first day. Then the smile now cry later skulls (lower left) were done the next day over 4 hours. Then the webs, demon and spinal column was done on the thrid day in 6 hours. We'll finish it when he get's back from Alaska in August this year.




I think this guy never found his way to the Emerald City, did he? I think he missed the Yellow Brick road.



I just love to tattoo evil, mean, snarly monsters. 60's horror movie imagery stuck to the inside of my skull haunts me with macabre delight. I have sketches that might even make Paul Booth blush. These are some of the more benign tattoos for the sake of website ettiquette. The Sheepshead tattoo is a modified Booth design I did way back in the 90's. (Some are digital photos taken from my portfolio)


Lettering Galore!

           This is one of the things that people know me by. Before Tattooing, I had a sign shop in Monterey, Calif called "Sign language". I used to write a column in Skin&Ink magazine called "Lettering 101". I like to think that I've helped people through that article to improve their lettering skills. I still get comments, now and then, validating that hope from some very fine tattoo artists.





I've always loved lettering and the tattoo business is perfect for a guy like me. I'll share my skills anytime with anyone who wants to improve their lettering. And there is always someone who I can learn from as well.

A brief history and personal thoughts...

My art career began while painting petroglyphs inside the walls of my mother's uterus during her pregnancy with me. Later, I began painting signs with my father in his sign shop in 1958 where I filled in huge letters on a billboard at the age of 5. I've been drawing my whole life and after dropping out of the lame art program at Foothill College, my career led me to body and paint work and eventually to custom paint. I was painting various imagery on my friends' motorcycles for years so tattooing was a natural progression for me. Around 1976 I began to pinstripe and built a fairly large clientel in about two years so I quit the auto body business and went full time striping cars and bikes. My signpainting skills came into play as sophisticated clients wanted more lavish designs and this helped polish my airbrushing skills. I had a sign shop in Monterey Calif for years called Sign Language. I have been influenced by such artistic greats as Ed Roth, Robt. Williams, Rick Griffin and Stanley Mouse. There was also a local Monterey County guy named Alan Smith whom I ripped off every chance I got. Other sign guys like the late Rick Glawson and guys like Gary Rhodes, Noel Webber, Mark Otis and Carl Rohrs blew my mind with unique approaches to the trade. I won all sorts of awards at car shows and enjoyed attending Letterhead and Pinhead events, sometimes even getting a chance to share my techniques to a gathering crowd. I kept busy doing anything from billboards to Dragsters to choppers. I mastered gold, wood, glass, plastic, metal and various composite materials.I striped thousands of motorcycles for anybody from the Hells's Angels to the California and Indian Motorcycle Companies in Gilroy Calif. After lettering about a hundred race cars I began racing myself and enjoyed three years of NASCAR dirt track racing. Sadly, after the computer era began to take over the sign business I lost interest in explaining the differences between a computer generated "peel and stick" sign and a finely crafted hand made sign to the customers and eventually began to make the transition to tattoo artist in 1995. After working for a couple of local shops, in 1997, I opened up Studio 13 Tattoo in Prunedale, Calif and eventually moved to Salinas in 1998. I started doing tattoo conventions and began winning awards in 2000 and have been winning at shows ever since,(that is if I can get the clients to hang around long enough to participate).

It's been a long strange trip with tattooing and I've learned loads from friends who helped me through the agony of being an "unknown". It seems that until you are "somebody" in this business, nobody will help you, so, I am, mostly self taught. However, once everybody found out I knew how to letter and pinstripe, it seemed like everybody wanted to be my friend all of a sudden. Guys like Iggy Evans, Erno Szabady, Steve Hendricks, Adam Roach, RJ and Dotty Musolf, Catfish Carl, Rick Walters, Robert Atkinson, Danielle Oberosler, Jack Rudy, Dave Gibson, Henry Goldfield, Da Wei Zhang, Tennesee Dave and especially my new pal Larry Allen, have helped me more than they realize. A strange guy named Dave Lum has also given me artistic freedom by simply being who he is and I've never met him. I am humbled all by their skill levels and I feel so lucky that I have something to share.

Writing columns and articles for Skin & Ink magazine has helped but it was through my clientel and their support that I've been given license to explore and develop along the direction that I seem to be destined for. Funny thing is that the direction changes from time to time. Even though I haven't written seriously for the magazine in awhile, I still contribute now and then however I can.  Our new endeavor, is showing some promise and is growing with leaps and bounds.  I love sharing anything I can with a business that has been very good to me.

I don't claim to be anything more than a simple guy who loves tattooing and all that it includes. The people, the art, the history and heritage quicken me on a daily basis. I learn new stuff every day. Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I respect this business for the noble craft it is by refusing hate related work and placements that will insult the trade. I practice stringent guidelines for safety and sterility because I believe in it....not because some authority told me to do it. Skin&Ink magazine editor Bob Baxter calls me "One of the good guys in tattooing". I am honored to have that attached to Uncle Tim. Bob taught me a lot and I owe him even more! (Anybody who dares to bash Bob Baxter has their head up their ass and doesn't understand that it is his job to make them look good!) My good freind Henry Goldfield calls me "The best lettering guy in the business". This is very funny because I think Henry Goldfield is the best lettering guy in the business. A look at any of his famous show banners will cement this as fact! Guys like Dave Gibson, Jack Rudy, Mike Brown  (R.I.P.), B.J. Betts and Boog also rate as lettering Gods as far as I am concerned. Nobody can really say who is truly the best in this trade. But as I get older I try to be more gracious with accepting compliments. Even if they are inflated! But, thank you all for your support.

When I first started tattooing I actually hated tribal. I thought it was some stupid Surfer/New Age-Primitive indulgance. Admittedly, the imagery could be very powerful if done correctly. After spending time here on Kauai I began to see the beauty of Polynesian and other South Pacific imagery and became drawn to the intricate designs and their meanings. What once was an irritation was slowly transforming into affection. I'm still learning, of course, and I invite you to visit the TRIBAL EXPLORATIONS page. I've met some very cool Hawaiian people who've helped me develop my tribal skills. They bring me their family designs and I feel honored to apply them to skin. I'm actually having fun exploring and combining polynesian tribal with other images.

NOTICE: If you are looking for a bargain, then I am not the artist for you. I have a project minimum because I am trying to concentrate on substantial projects only. I respectfully refer the "trinket" tattoos to the other local shops. Asking for a discount is a slap in the face to any legitimate tattoo artist who has spent many years perfecting their craft. I've been tattooing since 1995 and painting signs since 1958. I charge the going rate for talented, trained ,licensed, professional tattooists. I am NOT a production artist. Great tattooing takes time. I am  trying to limit my time to ONE PROJECT per day. Please be on time and be ready when you show up for your appointment for the courtesy of others. Eat a healthy meal and get plenty of sleep. Please do not come in drunk, hung over or  impaired,. By impaired, I mean by drugs, sunburned or with a physical injury. We can always reschedule. I want you healthy, happy and ready to go!

Please understand that what you see on most on those stupid TV "reality" shows is laughable. They do not necessarily represent the legitimate world of tattooing. And, NO, you cannot get a "sleeve" or a "back-piece" done in two hours like on those TV shows. Although they have helped the popularity of tattooing, those shows have also been successful at spreading tons of misinformation around about the tattoo trade. They have also spawned a whole new generation of tattoo artist that does not persue tattooing through proper training and BBP certification methods."Scratcher Shops" are popping up everywhere misrepresenting themselves as professionals. They have no concept of honor or integrity and they could care less. All they are interested in is money and becoming a "big-shot". As my old pal, "Lyle Tuttle says: "Tattooing turns pukes into princes". So, Let the buyer beware! I guarantee all my work. Touch ups are always free!

So, here it is;

If you want a first class, one of a kind tattoo or a classic traditional, please make an appointment and let's get down. I have a chair waiting with your name on it.....and I would love to meet you.

 Faithful servant to the trade

          ---------Uncle Tim

These images belong to us!

Let it be known that any images or text on these pages or any other pages connected to Uncle Tim Heitkotter or Blue Tiki Tattoo are the property of Don T. Heitkotter (aka Uncle Tim) and cannot be reproduced, copied, quoted or used in any manner without the expressed written consent of Don T. Heitkotter (aka Uncle Tim) or Don Heitkotter. So be it recorded on this day November 26th 2007.