I'm finally getting my first tattoo in October! Taking the plunge! It's going to be my birthday present to myself...an homage to my home state of California, my love of scuba diving, and my deep fondness for the kelp forests off our coast.

The tattoo I want is a stalk of giant kelp aka macrocystis pyrifera, starting at my left hip and winding up my side to my left shoulder blade. The Latin will anchor the kelp to my hip, so to speak (like the kelp's roots).

(Man, can't believe I'm using shutter stock as a reference but this is actually a pretty good representation of what I'm thinking of.)

(This one taken from Flickr via google image search)

I want it to look painted, no hard outlines. And like it's got movement, if that makes sense.

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The only problem is, I don't really know where to start in terms of finding a good artist. I kind of want a So Cal based artist...seems fitting, after all.

Any So Cal GT-ers with tattoos have recommendations?