Located in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Forbidden Art LLC tattoo shop is owned and operated by Joe and Rain, and houses a busy shop filled with five other tattoo artists, some who took time out of their busy schedules to share their love of the industry and what they do best in Louisiana (and it’s not just Fleur de Lis tattoos!)
Specializing in every tattoo style under the hot sun, Forbidden Art welcomes seasoned artists and new apprentices to their family- vibe tattoo shop.
It makes sense that Jay prefers inking tattoos that have meaning behind them, after all his very own first tattoo is his mother’s name. Jay believes people deserve the very best tattoo they can afford, and perfecting his craft is how he remains dedicated to delivering his very best to each and every customer. He explains what seems to be the common shop philosophy. “People work hard for their money. That’s the pride right there.”
“Tattoos are freedom.” Jay advises, “Make sure your first tattoo is something that you really want. And then just enjoy it. If I could change anything about my tattoos it would be the artist that did MY tattoos. I want to remembered as an inspirational person and an amazing artist. A repeat and satisfied customer if the best part of that.”
The music is loud and the jokes are flying as the phone gets passed around to other artists in the lively and bustling tattoo shop.
Dillon steps up to the bat next and I quickly find out he relocated to New Orleans from the city of Eureka, California.
An art teacher before he became a professional tattoo artist who specializes in American Traditional tattoos, Dillon believes the greatest challenge he faced transitioning from canvas to skin was the nervousness of altering someone forever. “My greatest accomplishment is customers coming back.”
Craig was gifted a box of tattoo equipment from a friend who offered up the machines if he could complete a tattoo. So that’s just what Craig did eight years ago, and his career has since taken him from Florida to New Orleans; quite a long way from his former job as an oyster shucker. “Every time a tattoo comes in it’s something different. Even if it’s the same ideas I make it different. I’ll never get bored of my job.”
“Yeah they’d call me grumpy,” Trey laughs about himself. “When I’m concentrated in my work I am just focused at the task on hand.”
It must be the importance of his career that Trey remains steadfast and driven. “Tattoos help people get through things. There’s just this stigma that as artists we can’t be intelligent.”
Artist and owner Rain jokingly explains how the career chose her. “I totally never wanted to do this. I’m from Canada originally and everyone I was with was a body piercer, so I went through several different apprenticeships. I came to work for Joe about fourteen years ago and he taught me right away. I took to it. Everyone that worked here wanted a tattoo. Mardi Gras came and I learned to do seven tattoos in a row.”
How does Rain deal with being the only woman at Forbidden Art LLC? “I read several years ago that our industry is starting to become dominated by women. It never really seemed like an issue to me really. Our customers are mostly women, and they’re mostly college girls.”
“The most rewarding part of being a tattoo artist is getting that dharma going,” Rain explains, “I’m so into it I don’t even know when it starts or ends. I’m just doing it. I can guarantee that if there is one little wrinkle around the eye that makes that person look that way, I’m not going to miss it. I thought I would be an architect because I’m very measured and calculated. People would describe me as a perfectionist.”
The best part of Rain’s day? “I’m doing this for the people. I’m a facilitator. I’m the pen that drew the work. Lots of people visit New Orleans and they want a souvenir they can keep forever. Tattoos are a deliberate scar. It’s a story you can tell.”
From what I could tell the Forbidden Art LLC shop and artists are so rich in stories and a family dynamic that much like the city the shop resides in, there’s a certain type of magic in the air.
To review Forbidden Art LLC, check out artist portfolios or contact the shop, please visit their Member Profile.