Bringing art and tattoos into a full circle, LeiLani of Biagio’s Tattoo Gallery explains how her shop and Jersey artists are cultivating the next wave in tattooing.
Tell me about your shop and your Jersey artists:
We are an art gallery showcase that also performs tattoos. We have 4 permanent tattoo artists, myself and Biagio included, and a regularly scheduled guest artist , some being International. We are artists first before tattooists, because art is what we focus on.
How did you and your partner decide to become tattoo artists?
After going to school and then in college majoring in art, there’s really not too much opportunity to apply art skills in many occupations.
We have no flash on our gallery walls. Every tattoo is a commissioned art. People come in with idea and it’s up to us to build that sentiment.
Are there any current design trends in your gallery?
It’s hard to do hundreds of the same piece and capture an individual sentiment, so no. We try and break through those barriers. There’s a common misconception that a tattoo is not art, but it is.
What tattooing style do you specialize in?
We really cater to everything as we are living artists that have the passion to do anything. We’re not stuck in a specific genre. It’s always best to keep an open mind.
How do you find new inspirations for your tattoo designs?
You can take inspiration from every moment. Whether it’s a frustrating person you’re dealing with on the phone or a walk in the park, just keep the art alive and it will thrive.
What personal sacrifices have you made to become a professional tattoo artist?
The biggest would be schedules. We are in the service based industry. While most people work weekdays from 9-5 and have weekends off, that’s when we’re just getting started.
Describe a time you where you believe your talent truly helped someone?
I’d say every day; every tattoo is a unique take on our client interaction. We really advocate full sentiment so we can provide the right feeling. For example, there are wing tattoos. Some are creepy bats, some are angelic to honor a Grandma, and each is very different. We have to crack the nut to get the sentiment and show that we care. Every day is a new sentimental groundbreaking journey.
What is the greatest professional goal you have achieved as a tattoo artist?
We’ve established an art scholarship at William Patterson University. We’re finally able to give back to the community, and inspire Jersey artists to create work every day. We’re helping others grasp where art fits as their career.
When you aren’t tattooing, you can be found…
I don’t think there’s anything we do that doesn’t deal with art in some way. We’re either facilitating or creating a painting, sculpting, or tweaking something. I also work hard to educate society that there isn’t a line between tattooing and art
You can check out artist portfolios and review Biagio’s Tattoo Gallery by visiting their Member Profile.
Image courtesy Biagio's Tattoo Gallery