Patience is a virtue, and that’s something that Justin Lewis, owner of DermagraphInk Tattoo in North Hollywood, CA had to learn.
With a passion for the arts, Justin had to pave his own way into the booming tattoo industry. Growing up with little money to spare, he taught himself the art of tattooing as a way to express his creativity and his natural talent.
After spending many years working in varied shops in the United States, Justin ventured outside of the country and shared his secrets and knowledge with other tattoo artists throughout the world.
In the US, many tattoo artists have the same tired attitudes, he expresses. “Everyone wants to be a gangster. They’ll treat other artists like garbage, instead of having a universal respect for one another.”
Traveling to Europe, and through the winding streets of Tuscany, Justin realized how the art of tattooing “could be” if he created a shop where artists helped one another with skills and techniques.
“I realized I’m more of a teacher. In fact, I am a teacher. While I specialize in black and grey, Realism and Surrealism tattoos, I want to keep practicing my craft. Whether that be painting, sculpting, or even papier mache.”
Just three years ago, Justin opened the doors of DermagraphInk Tattoo in North Hollywood, CA, creating a space that welcomes artists of all kinds. “We host a Wednesday night Brush Club art group, and all adults are welcome. It doesn’t matter your art or your style, we’re going to help your technique and provide inspiration amongst the Buddha painted outdoor walls, the BBQ and our bar. It’s a fun time. People love our outdoor space. They wait for us to open the doors just so they can hang out in the backyard.”
Four other artists have settled in at DermagrapInk Tattoo in North Hollywood, including Justin’s long-term girlfriend Heather Seals. “We can do everything here, although we specialize in custom tattoos. Even if you have an idea or a picture from the Internet or stored on your USB, we want to help you create something a little different than the norm.”
Justin has an impressive list of clients. From doctors to nurses, Justin also has a celebrity clientele and a history of tattooing Jermaine Jackson’s son, Static X, and Brian McKnight. It appears his talent and passion trickled down to some of the most influential musical artists as well.
Justin’s secret is simple. “Put more heart in your art.”
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Images courtesy DermagraphInk Tattoo