Known as the “father of modern tribal tattooing,” Zulueta popped up on a television show that Jared Leathers saw one day. Leathers was working at the Arborland Borders and recognized Zulueta as one of his regular customers. He was floored to learn that Zulueta was part of the 1970s San Francisco tattoo scene that helped introduce the once-marginal art form into mainstream America. In 2000, Zulueta had sold his Hollywood parlor, Black Wave, to move here and open Spiral Tattoo on Packard with his girlfriend, Michigan native Dianne Mansfield, a tattoo artist and photographer.
Leathers, an artist himself, drew a design resembling tiger stripes and brought it into the shop. Zulueta tattooed it onto his left forearm, and the two hit it off immediately.
They share a common artistic sensibility. Zulueta’s “New Tribalism” style is influenced by South Pacific traditions, with interweaving patterns and strong contrasts of darks and lights. Many of Leathers’ drawings and paintings similarly explore “positive and negative space.” The men discovered that they had similar tastes in music and started getting together to play guitar. And Leathers began spending more time at Spiral Tattoo.