When Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wanted to change up his iconic bull tattoo he went to none other than Nikko Hurtado. Known for his lifelike portraits, Hurtado, who hails from the San Fernando Valley in California, started tattoo apprenticing in 2002 and only a year later tattooed a realistic portrait of Batman that won him awards and put him on the map. Shortly after, he was tattooing for television and things have never been the same.
Nikko Hurtado, famous for his portraits and celebrity tattoos, was tapped by The Rock to update his iconic tattoo of a bull.
The Rock said updating his tattoo was part of becoming the man he is today, as opposed to the boy he was when he got the first tattoo. His caption on Instagram read:
Evolution of the bull begins w/ @nikkohurtado. I’ve engrained this bull in my DNA for two decades. My core. Humbly, it’s also become a symbol of strength, resilience, heart, power and defiance to so many people around the world. I got this tattoo when I was just a kid. Now I need it to reflect me as a man. All my ink is a rite of passage and spiritual and the MANA (power and spirit) has to be right before we begin. Mana is strong with world renowned Nikko. We talked for hours about the man I am today, compared to who I once was. And who I’ll always be. We all desire to grow and evolve. The mana is right.. let the blood and pain begin. #EvolutionOfTheBull #WheresMyVicodin
Hurtado has been tattooing for almost 15 years now, but his Batman started it all.
Off the strength of this tattoo, Hurtado won awards, national interest, and found work on the TV shows “LA Ink,” “Tattoo Wars,” and “Ink Master.”
He also found work tattooing celebrities like Drake, The Game and Kat Von D.
From the tattoo archives tattooing @champagnepapi at his house. This dude is a stand up guy and a gentleman. Happy Friday everyone. Did a couple of portraits on his back. @stencilanchored @blackanchorcollective @bishoprotary @stencilanchored @fusion_ink #drake #ovo
A post shared by Nikko Hurtado (@nikkohurtado) on
As you can see, The Rock’s new tattoo was a serious evolution. It went from being a cartoon bull to a life-like longhorn bull skull.
Revealing that it took three sessions and 22 hours, The Rock gave a full description of what the new tattoo meant to him. His caption on Instagram read:
Evolution of the bull. Blood, sweat & years. After 3 sessions and 22hrs of tattooing with world renowned @NikkoHurtado, the story’s almost done.. Every detail is a reflection of my own personal history. From the cracks and heavy damage in the bone representing life’s hard lessons I’ve learned over the years. Just like scars and wrinkles – I’m so grateful to have ’em because they’re earned. To the horns, not pointing up or out to the side, but pointing straight ahead representing relentless energy and forward progress. The core and anchor of this image is in the eye. Look closely and you’ll find the life, energy, power and you’ll feel the MANA (spirit). The eye tells the story of a disruptive positive energy always ready to dent the universe. Depending on the light and angle, sometimes the energy’s subtle and sometimes it’s glaring. But it’s always alive and ready to disrupt the universe and love and protect my family and all things I love with intense passion and gratitude. Cheers to living, learning, evolving and growing. And to the positive disrupters ready to dent the universe. #EvolutionOfTheBull #TheDisrupter#TheMana #NowLetsBreakOutTheTequila
Hurtado shared photos on his own Instagram, both of side by side comparisons and detailed close ups.
It’s actually super bad ass. Hurtado shared the pictures, as well as what tattooing The Rock meant to him.
Through this experience I’ve learned a lot. Everyone always sees what is on the outside what is shown of our lives no one truly knows behind the scenes. @therock is a true gentleman how I came to tattoo him I do not know. I am a truly blessed human. (Thank you Matt) the process of tattooing a client starts with a meeting always finding out what it is they want. Tattoos are markings on the body that are with you for ever. Imagine choosing a birthmark. The tattoo has to represent you, who you are and what you feel, your image and your personality. @therock and I spend time going back and fourth showing him different ideas, different horns different mana. I always want to do what I want to do but I always have to remind myself that when I tattoo a client it is for them and theirs to wear the rest of their lives. I am excited to tweak and build this tattoo a little further after it heals. When I complete a tattoo in one sitting it is never finished my clients all know this to well. I let the tattoo heal, live, age a little before I come back to it and layer it see what it needs to give it the sculpting or life it requires to be abandoned because we all know art is never finished it is simply abandoned. I am grateful I am blessed I have been given the new gift of knowing about “Mana” thank you world your are nothing short of amazing. Thank you @therocktill next time same channel same page! It’s your friendly neighborhood tattoo artist.
Click through his Instagram gallery to see all the different angles of the tattoo, it’s pretty insane.