In 2014, two Houston creatives Rapheal Brown (Digital Icon) and Veronica Gomez teamed up together to form a mutually beneficial relationship of helping each other provide content for their individual and fast-growing brands as photographer and tattooed model. The pair turned out images on a regular basis and worked toward growing their presence in the industry and on social media following. After building individual successes, they began to toss around ideas of how to grow and reach more people with a new platform. It was then that the idea of "Texas Inked" came to be.
It started simple, with the creation of a Facebook page and with the massive combined social media followings of Digital Icon Photography and Veronica Gomez, the new Texas Inked brand page quickly reached numbers in the tens of thousands. The fans started following and supporting the idea before the brand itself even had clear goals. It was this immediate outpouring of support that made them realize there was real opportunity to create something real and inspired them to move forward.
Then Texas Inked was truly born. Rapheal had always been an advocate of printed materials, always eager to see his own digital work in print form and share that with others. Because there really is nothing quite like holding a physical piece of art in your hands, touching it, finding a space for it on your wall or on a shelf and having it readily available to view without having to open a folder on your computer or opening the camera roll on your phone. From there it wasn't a far leap to decide on creating a magazine.
The concept of a tattoo-exclusive magazine has been around for a while, with many names already existing and thriving. Texas Inked was already different in that it was to be strictly a Texas-based brand. But it still needed to be more. Unlike similar magazines, Texas Inked would aim to reach not just tattoo artists and tattooed models, but all artists of Texas. It would be an all-inclusive artists magazine, using the platform to showcase and promote the talents of creatives of all types, from tattoo artists to artists of more "traditional" mediums such as painters, sculptors, as well as be a voice for photographers and models, musicians, designers, inspiring local businesses, and anyone who has been INSPIRED to CREATE.
Also setting Texas Inked Magazine apart from others, is the genuine desire and drive to let our magazine have something to say and put forth a real message and not just exist to be a "look book," or carry it's weight solely on the idea that "sex sells. Which, let's be real, it does. But we believe that what also sells, are our voices and creative talents. And sharing them with each other, sharing our art, inspiring and promoting one another's passions is what Texas Inked is truly about. It's about people like us and people like you, who choose to live a life driven by their creative passions. Texas Inked has become our way of not only supporting our own dreams, but the dreams of others.
Fully inspired and ready to get the brand and the newly founded magazine up and running, Rapheal Brown and Veronica Gomez reached out to several industry peers to help create and provide content for the very first issue of Texas Inked Magazine. With several photographers and writers on board to contribute content, Rapheal then recruited Charlie, a bright college student enrolled in a graphic design program to assist with the design process of issue no. 01. Shortly after, Rapheal then recruited another industry creative and fellow photographer, Kelli Ham (White Moth Photography) to assist in moving the magazine and brand forward, to help realize the goals set and brainstorm to create new ones.
With Veronica's very popular image on the first magazine cover jump starting the brand, Texas Inked Magazine was off to a great start. Though it wasn't without its upsets. From content creation to proofing and editing to physical design to choosing the right paper and finding the right printer to handle the job, there were a lot of hurdles along this new road and undoubtedly many more struggles ahead. But like our momma's always told us, where there's a will, there IS a way. With the support and aid of so many, the core team bound together, learned valuable lessons along the way and pushed forward, ready to grow the brand in other ways before preparing to release a second issue.
With more and more people joining the team and surrounding the support table, the ideas for the brand grew. Rapheal had grand goals of a multi-faceted Texas Inked Empire. After securing the first sponsor for Texas Inked, and now with a team of tattooed models and the first batch of branded apparel, the Texas Inked crew made its first convention appearance at the 2015 Houston Tattoo Extravaganza with goals to network with artists in the industry, make our presence known, and provide media coverage for the event. After getting a few events under our belt, and growing our network of connectivity in the industry, and even making an appearance on Fox26News, Texas Inked was ready to move forward to issue no. 02.