Seeing the Whole Picture
by Yvonne Palmer
Trial and Error
by Albert Evans
I feel like the story has a lot to do with learning things in life through trial and error, and just experiencing things and learning from that experience more than anything. I am super hard-headed, so if somebody told me, “Oh no don’t touch that, it’s hot,” I am like, “Let me see for myself.” That is how it is.
Chapter 1: Childhood
I would say that I had a really good childhood. My parents were super supportive of me. They were very caring. They also taught me a lot young about work ethic, how to be a good person, how to just handle certain situations properly, how to be sensitive to other people, and you know, pretty much be the best person you could be. As far as parents go, I couldn’t really ask for better parents. The childhood was good in the younger, younger years. Like in the ages I described. [Ages] five or six through about 12, maybe 11. I played baseball consistently. I was hanging out with my friends. Just doing normal kid’s stuff. Nothing crazy. It was just hanging out with my friends. I liked baseball; that was pretty much my thing.
The childhood was good in the younger, younger years. As far as siblings, my sister Katie was super little. She was a little baby running around, causing havoc. I had three siblings, so it was pretty wild. We were all either having fun or we were fighting. When we would hang around the house it was just like running around, craziness. My siblings taught me, especially with Trenton, my older brother who has Down Syndrome, he taught me patience without me really even knowing it. He taught me also how to love unconditionally. His emotion is raw, and it is what it is. He says what he wants, and he means it. I learned that from him, and my dad too. My two sisters, they were younger at the time, but I feel they also taught me patience. They taught me how to deal with women and their sensitivities. You know, different things like that. They taught me, and my mom taught me, how to be a little bit more sensitive towards other people. Not in a negative way, just how to understand people’s situations, how to be sensitive to people’s situations, and be aware of what people are going through. I feel like growing up in a household like [that], it just gave me a mix of all the things that I needed to learn in life.
Chapter 2: Middle School
Sixth grade was decent like, things started changing a lot in sixth grade. I started being really rebellious in the previous years. I was a somewhat wild kid, but in sixth grade, I started to really turn around. I didn’t do well in school at all. I was going to detention, I was getting in trouble, it just flipped a little bit more. There was a lot of trouble, I put my mom and dad through hell pretty much. Not doing homework, not focusing on school, not caring about any of that stuff, like it just wasn’t what I wanted to do. In sixth grade, I had always drawn, but the first thing that really grabbed me was graffiti. So, in sixth grade, my friend, his neighbor was older than us. He was a graffiti artist. I would always go over to his house and I would see him drawing, and I got really drawn to it. I was so interested in how people could just - how you could just create things, and just make things your own, pretty much, off the top of your head. So, that really grabbed me. So, I started to mess with graffiti really crazy in the sixth grade. I would go on the internet look up fonts. Just in the beginning stages, like trying to figure out letter structure, doing that stuff. Then, as you move on, you obviously, evolve and evolve, and then you start messing with more mediums. Different mediums, different images, different kinds of imagery, different kinds of art. But graffiti has always been, I say, was my “background background.” Like where I really started it, and where it popped off pretty much. At the time it gave me purpose, and helped me through my childhood, and then it led on to bigger and better things. ‘Cause if I didn’t start doing that, I wouldn’t be doing graffiti, or I wouldn’t be tattooing. It is like a chain reaction.
Seventh grade I turned. Sixth grade I was wearing a double X tall tees, and LeBron's, and all this “gangster stuff,” because when I was in elementary school I would always hangout with Mexicans, and that was their style. I was always kicking it with the Mexican dudes, so I would, it wasn’t like I really tried to do it, it was just that was the style. I was rocking it. But, when I got in seventh grade, I really got into BMX. Me and lot of my friends got into BMX. We were riding all over the place over the summer, weekends we would go ride. You know, just a bunch of stuff like that. It was a lot of riding and painting graffiti out when I was riding. Not doing anything super, super crazy, but marker tags here and there. Just little stuff. I mean middle school was just a rowdy time. I knew a lot of gangsters, like all of them are locked up now, and I knew a lot of those dudes. Just, I was pretty rowdy, and you know there was just a lot of fights and random stuff. Just being psychotic. I later found out that I actually do have ADHD, so it made sense in middle school that I was as crazy as I was. So, getting through middle school was rough. I was always fighting with my parents. School was definitely one thing that I was just never - I didn’t try. I didn’t want to do anything with school, I didn’t care at all. That was seventh grade.
Then, eighth grade, you know I started being more crazy, and more crazy, and more crazy. It is like, you do this, then you do that. I was throwing staplers and textbooks at my friends in class. We would have like textbook wars, like during Spanish class, and just, literally, be throwing textbooks at each other across the room. Shooting airsoft bullets at the teacher, and rubber bands. Just, being super disruptive, super rowdy. I was in detention pretty much all the time. I was always getting in trouble. I think that it was just me, just the ADHD, it just wasn’t diagnosed. I don’t know. I just wanted to have fun, I didn’t want to go school. Like I said before, I didn’t care about school. I wanted to have fun and be crazy. It was just what we did. We were crazy kids. You didn’t really know what we were doing. You just do things and don’t think about it. Then, that’s how you learn (because I always have to learn that hard way for some reason). That was how I learned action, consequence, you know, all that stuff. I learned that at home, but when it's not your parents doing that to you, then it is a little different.
Chapter 3: High School
Then 15, the summer before freshmen year, through senior year. That is this upcoming one. So, with freshmen year, or freshmen summer, it was cool, nothing crazy. Me and my family took a trip to Hawaii. It was going all good. We started surfing in Kawaii, my dad got paralyzed out of nowhere. That was pretty traumatic, we got flown back from Hawaii. My dad stayed in Hawaii for a while. There was lots of different people at the house, a bunch of shit going on. That is when I really started painting. I painted my first freight train during that time. Me and my friend went out, brought a duffel bag of spray paint, and just brought our sketch books, and we were just hanging out painting this freight train, and like that was pretty memorable for me because that was one of the bigger pieces, that was like one of the first bigger pieces that I've done. Then, my dad gets flown back, goes to Rehab Center. He isn’t living at the house because he is in rehab.
Then, I caught a graffiti case, me and a friend were painting in an aqueduct, and the cops came, and we got wrapped up in all that stuff. So, that was an interesting time for sure. [The police] came down. I don’t know if they had a gun on us or a Taser, but I know I had a red dot on me. You know, you lay down. They took pictures of the graffiti; they took pictures of us. We were both just like, “What the hell?” You know, just trying to figure out what the hell was going on. So, I don’t really remember the interaction a ton. I know we were cuffed. I got put in the back of the car because my mom couldn’t pick me up because she was watching the other kids. They put me in the car and brought me over to the house. I was a minor, so they just gave me charges, but left me to my parents. So, I caught that case. Didn’t do any jail time, just some family therapy. I think I got another one later on though. That was the summer.
I went to high school freshmen year. I had a bunch of friends there. I knew a lot of people there, like it was cool. At the same time, I just didn’t really like school, I didn’t like the cliquing up, where it was just groups of people. I don’t know, it was just not my thing. So, freshmen year I was talking to my parents and I was like “I want to go to a continuation school.” So, my parents think about it. Once we figured it out, I went to continuation school. And when I went to the continuation school, I did that sophomore and junior year, that was pretty crazy because you only go to school once a week. You have all this free time. I was skateboarding around any ways; I didn’t have a car until I was like 18. Skateboarding around, that was like my PE. It wasn’t really that hard. I would go over to my friend’s house, all of these graffiti dudes that I knew, and kick it with them. I would go over there and hangout and smoke weed a ton, draw, go paint, drink, whatever pretty much. Then, freshmen year I was smoking weed, and then I was smoking cigarettes to, like consistently. Sophomore and junior year, it was like painting all the time, doing whatever. I had a 4.0 at the continuation school, so my parents let me do whatever ‘cause I was getting good grades. So, it was me just roaming around; getting into stuff. I was doing Ecstasy here and there, a little bit. I was doing shrooms (what else?). I was just drinking a lot. I was constantly smoking weed, like all the time Doing everything like that. So, junior year I started to do drugs.
Chapter 4: Extracurricular
When I was 17/18, you know, around that age, I started to get panic attacks when I would use shit, so I stopped using anything for a while, until I was like 22. I was out painting in Oakland. Like, I was just getting drunk all the time, and painting out in Oakland in some pretty dangerous spots. I was risking a lot of stuff. I was painting on the streets, and I was with crew - I was running with a crew of people. I mean, there was some close calls with the cops, and you know, other things. But, I mean, luckily nothing ever happened. I was just drinking, but with my personality, it is very all or nothing. So, yeah that didn’t end up well. Was doing that for a couple of years. Then, went to rehab, for like 45 days, and then was in a ½ way house for like a month or two. I was “talking” to this chick, and she ended up dying of a heroin overdose. I got sober, and once I got sober, I moved out of the half-way house, left the rehab, then a couple of months later I think, I ended up getting an apartment in Oakland.
Then, I was out there, pretty tough, but I was just painting a bunch of known people and getting into trouble. Got arrested out there one time, not arrested, but like they caught us doing stuff on camera. They tried to get me to go to court and, you know, whatever jail time, or whatever. Then, that ended up not happening, but yeah. There was that.
Then I was tattooing, but I wasn’t really going crazy though with the tattooing part. I was more just tattooing and paying rent. I wasn’t bad off, but I wasn’t like doing really, really good. So, I moved out of my studio or … not my studio. I moved out of … where did I move out of? Well, the reason I moved out there was because I was working in San Francisco, tattooing out there.
Then, once I stopped working in the San Francisco shop, I opened my own private studio. When I did that, I was like “All right, cool this is nice, because this is the next milestone.” But I wasn’t able to get the clientele that I had out here, pretty much. So, my plan, when my lease was up, was to come back to Tinyvillle and open up a spot, and that is pretty much what I did. Like, I opened up a spot, and started tattooing out in Livermore. I am trying to remember stuff, it's hard to remember stuff, like significant stuff. I don’t know, I stopped painting graffiti, doing all that. ‘Cause… I don’t know. I moved in with my girlfriend at the time out in a different town, then we were together, and I was painting a little bit, but I was trying to tattoo and make money and work on building up to get into a studio, and do my own thing, in Tinyville. So, I eventually saved up enough to do it. Then, moved out of her apartment, and then went to Tinyville, and living with a bunch of people. And now, I am just busy out in Tinyville pretty much, nothing super crazy.
The story has a lot to do with learning things in life through trial and error, and just experiencing things and learning from that experience more than anything. I am super hard-headed, so if somebody told me, “Oh no don’t touch that, it’s hot,” I am like, “Let me see for myself.” That is how it is.
Trial and Error: Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Childhood
In which Albert Evans reflects on the influence that his siblings had on his learning of different lessons.
Chapter 2: Middle School
In which Albert Evans looks back on his years in Middle School, how finding graffiti at this time in his life gave him purpose, and how graffiti altered his life route.
Chapter 3: High School
In which Albert Evans reflects on the impact that going to Continuation School had on his life. Evans discusses his growing interest in graffiti and art.
Chapter 4: Extracurricular
In which Albert Evans discusses his time in rehab, and the time that led him to where he is now. Evans reflects on how all his chapters led him to owning his own tattoo shop.
About Albert Evans
Sadness. Happiness. And Madness
 All names and locations mentioned throughout this chapter have been replaced with pseudonyms.