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Smile Now, Cry Later: Guns, Gangs, and Tattoos-My Life in Black and Gray Hardcover – August 30, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"The precision, mastery, and nuance of Negrete’s work in skin emerged from a personal history of triumph over a volatile youth. His life story is an inspirational testament to the possibilities of the human spirit." —Don Ed Hardy
“Freddy's work speaks to people … He is not a tattoo artist. He is an artist, who is a master
tattooer as well."—Dave Navarro, guitarist (Jane's Addiction) and host of Spike TV's Inkmaster
"[Freddy Negrete] was the man who took the Chicano, black-and-gray, joint-style straight out of the prisons and to the top of the tattoo world. To this day, Freddy's work never ceases to amaze me."
—Danny Trejo, actor (Spy Kids, From Dusk Till Dawn)
"Freddy Negrete's story is about how even the most troubled young man has vital gifts for the world, intrinsic to who he's meant to be, and filling a void only that an artist can fill. Freddy is a true vato loco, yet he pioneered the aerosol art of the barrio back in the 1970s and also the now famous tattoo style of the black-and-grey, both of which came from the Chicano barrio gang experience he was a part of. His story needs to break out of whatever confines such stories usually end up. His is the story of our time." —Luis J. Rodriguez, author of the memoir Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A., and It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing
"By the time I met Freddy he'd probably been my idol for four years. Freddy's just pure magic . . . something right every time." —Mark Mahoney, owner of the Shamrock Social Club, Sunset Strip, LA, whose clients include Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, and David Beckham
"You may think your favorite artist is an O.G. of the tattoo world. But compared with Freddy Negrete, almost everyone else is still a rookie. As one of the most experienced and influential tattoo artists in the world, Negrete was already making a name for himself before many of today’s top tattooers could walk." —LA Weekly
"Freddy Negrete’s former life is as dark and forbidding as a thick lined skull tattoo on the face of a menacing gangbanger. Vivid and to the point, SMILE NOW, CRY LATER takes you from Negrete as a “cholo gang member to evangelical preacher to Hollywood body art guru to addiction counselor”—which is one hell of a journey. This memoir by Negrete and Steve Jones is riveting and intense and I couldn’t put it down." —Patrick O'Neil, the author of Gun, Needle, Spoon, Amazon.com Reader Review
About the Author
Legendary tattoo artist FREDDY NEGRETE is best known for his pioneering black-and-gray tattoo style, honed while serving time in a series of correctional facilities during a youth mired in abuse, gang life, and drug addiction. His "joint-style" designs eventually found their way out onto the streets of East LA and, in 1980, he created a piece that earned him a Tattoo Artist of the Year Award. After a ten-year period of renouncing his tattooing success in favor of bible study and becoming the pastor of his own church, Freddy eventually returned to tattooing in 1990 to find that he had become a tattoo superstar during the decade he had been away from the life. Freddy has been featured in the History Channel's Marked series, in the documentary Tattoo Nation, on Spike TV's Inkmaster as a guest judge, and in numerous print, online, and video publications. In 2007, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Body Art Expo, one of the biggest and most established tattoo conventions in the world. Having suffered the ravages of drug addiction for many years, Freddy is now also certified to work closely with young addicts at Beit T'Shuvah in Los Angeles, a treatment center based on Jewish spirituality and Twelve Step principles. Freddy lives in Hollywood with his son Isaiah, who is also a successful tattoo artist. They both work at the Shamrock Social Club on the Sunset Strip and have tattooed numerous celebrities, musicians, and sport personalities.