June Tattoo Artist Spotlight – Tristan Lewellyn

Tattoo Artist Spotlight on Tristan Lewellyn at Funhouse Tattoo San Diego

This month, the Funhouse Artists Spotlight shines on Tristan Lewellyn. He’s been at the shop for 3 years and has recently completed his apprenticeship under Seth Reynolds and Skott Kautman. If you haven’t had the chance to meet him, the time has come.

Question: Every artist has went on a journey. Can you briefly walk us through yours and how you got to this point in time?

Answer: “I’ve always been into art. As a child, I remember drawing and painting a lot. I remember my uncles were very good painters and musicians, even my biological mother is an award-winning painter and a published author. My dad was a bit iffy about tattoos but always encouraged me to express myself through art nonetheless. As a teenager and into my early twenties I played a lot of guitar and hitchhiked around the country in hopes of finding a good spot to settle down. I knew I wanted to do do something creative as a profession but honestly was more focused on partying and traveling. Eventually, I started to take my drawing more seriously when it began to make me a bit of cash, I started doing more commissions and local art functions in an effort to advance to the next level. My artistic style was already closely based on tattooing, so the final eventual step to tattooing was a no-brainer.”

Question: How would you describe your artistic style?

Answer: “It’s difficult for me to classify my work into a category. I like meticulous detail. I find it therapeutic and meditative to hone in on the small things. I like oddities and, dark, eerie, creepy, and evil subject matter. I also love nature, animals, sacred geometry. When painting I prefer watercolor. For tattooing styles, I prefer Blackwork, geometric dotwork, traditional Americana. I like to think that all facets will eventually combine and form a unique tattooing style that people can seek me out for.”

Question: What do you think was the biggest inspiration for cultivating your unique style?

Answer: “My biggest inspiration for my art would have to be other artists and their work. MC Escher is and has been my favorite artist since forever. He is The Godfather of everything I strive to be as an artist. He created one of the most revolutionary bodies of work ever produced by any artist. Salvador Dali, Chet Czar, Godmachine, Alex Grey, HR Giger and John Dyer Baizley are also on the list. Psychedelics are also a huge contributor for some of my more peculiar visions, they have played a continued role since my early years in producing new and organic ideas to build from.”

Question: Being a professional artist comes with a fair amount of challenges. How do you balance your career as a tattoo artist with all the other aspects of your life?

Answer: “Getting to the level where you can make a living with art is a journey in and of itself. It takes thick skin, persistence, hard work, and discipline to get to that level. If you are truly an artist you will understand that there is no “downtime”. Your gears are always turning. Your creative juices are always churning. Waves of creativity and periods of stagnation are normal. Sleep is a lost cause, friendships and romance are secondary to art. If you are a tattooer, that goes double for you. Having a job that you are passionate about is amazing, but finding a happy healthy balance is no easy task. As a professional tattoo artist, we must create a steady stream of quality art. Our clients depend on it. Even on an off day we are held to the same high standard. In order to achieve this consistently, it is imperative that we make time to relax and recharge. Take time to make sure you’re mentally and physically healthy. Life is a balancing act. I mean, being an artist is just one facet of it. At the end of the day you owe it to yourself and your clients to be the most relaxed happy healthy version of yourself as possible.”

Question: What is your biggest pet peeve?

Answer: “Pet peeves, hahaha. In any industry you will have nightmare clients from time to time, tattooing is no different. If you are personally guilty of any of these, your tattooer will thank you to cease and desist said actions next time you go to get some ink. We love dogs just as much as the next person, there is no denying that! But there is this little thing called the health code and working with blood and open skin with a dog around doesn’t always go well together. It’s not that hard to understand that pet dander, slobber, etc. are a big no-no in our work environment.

Regurgitated Pinterest designs are always pretty funny too. I understand that wave designs and minimalist crap is popular….but we are artists, let us create something original once in awhile too!”

Question: Where is the best place that people can find your tattoo work online? 

Answer: “I have a bunch of stuff on my artist page on the Funhouse website that people can see all my newest work on. People can also check out my Instagram at @tristan_lewellyn_art. I always love collaborating with people on their designs too and enjoy talking all things art and creative so hit me up if you like my stuff.” 

 

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