Born and raised in a small town called Willimantic, CT, Rene “FAME” Montalvo grew up with a love for art. He started drawing as soon as he learned how to pick up a pencil, and as the years went by, his love for art only grew more. While in high school, he took art classes to learn more techniques to advance his drawing abilities. He would love to prove to himself, so he competed in drawing contest.
After graduating high school, he was introduced to the art of tattooing by accompanying a friend to get her first tattoo, which was a ladybug behind her neck. It looked easy, so after the experience of watching someone being tattooed, it opened his interest. There was a small shop down the road from his house, so at the age of 18 he went with his sketchbook from high school and they loved his work and the potential he had, so they agreed on teaching him. His first week of working at the tattoo shop, all he did was watch and ask a lot of questions.
The upcoming week his mother saw he was serious about tattooing so she gave him the money to buy the supplies he needed. That week he did four tattoos, but sadly, by the end of the week the shop closed abruptly and without notice. The apprenticeship did not last as long as he imagined, but his interest did not die there; he kept practicing and tattooing it on his own. He would tattoo two to three times every
couple months for about four years. He worked in a psychiatric hospital, which taught him to deal with all types of people. Thanks to all the experiences he had, he pursued his tattooing career in a shop at a professional level.
It was not easy for him, his first tattoos weren’t at his full potential however, now when he sees one of his old tattoos, he tries to convince the canvas to let him touch it up or cover it up. He has grown to be a perfectionist now that he has been tattooing for ten years total, six of them at the professional level. He knows how a tattoo can change a person’s life; even give them motivation. He never imagined tattooing as a career and does not see it as a job, but sees it more as what he loves to do and what makes him happy.
His motivation and influence are his kids; they motivate him to be all he can be to give them a bright future. They have been through a lot, dealing with his career, and all he wishes is for them to be proud of him and what he does. Tattooing has been his therapy it has helped him out in many ways. He loves being able to meet new people, and leave his artistic mark on them for the rest of their lives. His goals are to keep tattooing learning more everyday, being able to see the world and being able to go to more tattoo conventions to meet new people and show off his hard work and dedication. He particularly enjoys to do realism portraits and traditional Japanese art. It has been a long road, with a lot of ups and downs, a lot of sacrifices to get where he is now, but he has faith that it will all pay off at the end. He is currently working at Eminence Ink in Willimantic, CT.
By appointment only
At Eminence Ink Storrs
Thursday: 7pm - 9pm
Friday: 4pm - 8pm