27-year-old Brian Tagalog was born without arms, but he has never let this serious adversity keep him from leading a normal life. He learned to use his feet to perform mundane tasks, drive a car, fly planes and even ink intricate tattoo designs. The ambitious young man believes he is the only certified tattoo artist without arms in the world.
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Tagalog moved with his family to Tucson, Arizona, where he attended Sunnyside High School and the University of Arizona. He had always shown an interest in drawing, and set his mind on becoming a professional tattoo artist. Not many people gave him a chance, but he steadily honed his foot drawing skills, and after his aunt helped him buy his first tattoo gun, he learned to operate it with his toes just as well as others did with their hands.
Angie Tagalog, Brian’s mother, admits that raising him was not easy, but she always made it a point to let him explore his options. “The day I gave birth to him, well, I freaked out,” she recalled. “The first year I would cry almost every day. I still do every now and then. But we never hid him. He wore a tank top when he was a newborn. I didn’t shield him in any way.”
And perhaps that’s what gave him the confidence to achieve everything he’s ever wanted, despite the very obvious absence of two limbs. “I was born without arms,” he said. “But that has not slowed me down.”
Brian became a certified tattoo artist 11 years ago, but actually finding a shop that would hire him proved a much more difficult task. He applied to a number of local tattoo shops, but all he got was promises that they’d give him a call when a position opened up. He never got any calls back, but instead of giving up, Tagalog just decided he would have to become his own boss in order to practice his craft. Now Brian runs “Tattoo by Foot” his very own shop, where he actually tattoos clients by foot.
Brian uses a specific technique to create his tattoos – he draws the design with his right foot, puts it on tracing paper and onto the client’s skin with one foot, while using the other foot to stretch out the skin. He then uses both feet to guide the tattoo gun, creating the design. His tattoos always turn out to his clients’ satisfaction, every single time.
Brian hopes that his success will inspire others to follow their dreams no matter how hard they may be to achieve. “Go for it, and never give up,” he said. “Anything is possible for everyone.”
Words and photos just don’t do Brian Tagalog justice. You need to see him in action to really see what his capable of doing with only his feet. So check out the video below, it will leave you in awe:
Photos: Brian Tagalog/Facebook