If you have a passion for tires, think again. The winner of Tire Review‘s 2019 Tattoo Challenge may have you beat.
Christopher Rivas, winner of the Tattoo Challenge, not only inks tires on his body but lives out his passion for the industry as a field auditor for Goodyear Tire & Rubber‘s company-owned stores in Southern California. He worked his way up from a tire installer to a store manager and exudes overwhelming joy when speaking about his 18-year career in the industry.
“I just have a passion for tires. I kind of made myself a self-proclaimed ‘tire monkey,” says Rivas, who proudly drives around with “tire monkey” on his motorcycle and car license plates.
His winning tattoo — one of three tire-related designs on his body — incorporates old-school industry icons with his “tire monkey” persona.
“I wanted to do something different and tasteful,” Rivas says about getting his winning tattoo. “I had an idea of a pinup girl tastefully dressed with an impact gun in her hand and ready to do tires – kind of like those old ’50s pin-up ads you saw in shops. I thought that was neat, and I wanted to incorporate a tire monkey, which would be me, into the picture.”
To make his vision come to life, Rivas found work from automotive artist George Webber on social media and commissioned him to create his vision. That artwork is hanging in Rivas’ office to this day. But before getting the tattoo on his leg, Rivas’ wife requested he change the pin-up girl’s facial expression. So, he asked that it resemble her favorite Disney princess – Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.”
In addition to that tattoo, Rivas has one of a “cartoonish” tire monkey holding Goodyear tires and another of the character Guido from the movie “Cars,” (who changes tires in the movie) with a stack of Goodyear tires.
In the future, Rivas says he plans to get more tire ink and already has a rendering of another tire monkey tattoo in the can.
“I don’t know what it is… The original tire artwork, the original memorabilia, old type tire advertising… everything about it [the industry] I find appealing,” says Rivas, whose favorite book is “Wheels of Fortune: The History of Rubber in Akron.” “I just have a passion for this industry and the people… I love tires.”