Photo: Aurelius Ordway
When it comes down to it, there are numerous forms of art. From scholarly Monet-esque painting to graffiti murals, this form of entertainment ranges from technique, colors used, and even preference.
One can look at tattooing the same way. A more permanent form of art, it requires intense concentration, unique style and, most importantly, adhering to customer preference. For Justin Stephan, tattoo artist and owner of A Stroke of Genius Tattoos in Deerfield Beach, his background is all about art. “Originally I had no interest in becoming a tattoo artist,” he confessed. “I had always been an artist; drawing, painting, airbrushing, etc. But tattooing never really interested me. I saw tattoos as biker tattoos, body art that would turn green from the sun in a couple of years.”
Justin moved to Orlando and started thorough research on tattoos, such as inks and machines the artists were using. Through this, he “discovered it was more of an art form than those old biker tattoos I was seeing years before; the artwork was more like paintings, the lines were cleaner and the colors were brighter.” In downtown Orlando, Justin completed his apprenticeship at a shop named Built 4 Speed Tattoo. After, he worked at A Stroke of Genius Tattoos in Boca Raton for 5 years before opening A Stroke of Genius Tattoos in Deerfield Beach with his business partner Rob Sures. As of now, it has been open for 5 months.
In regards to his style, Stephan considers it “New School.” “It’s a surrealistic style using bold colors with a strong light source,” he elaborated. “I have always had a very cartoonish drawing style so naturally, when I started tattooing, I started drawing my tattoo designs in that similar style. I consider myself a well rounded artist, meaning I can tattoo pretty much every style, but New School is definitely where I have the most fun, exaggerated features, bright colors; that sense that they’re almost 3-D sometimes, it’s a lot of fun.”
This Hard Rock Energy Pro Team artist considers the art of tattooing both therapeutic and rewarding. “We get a lot of people who have lost someone they loved who want to get an “In Memory Of” tattoo done, and you can tell that getting that tattoo is really helping them cope with what they’re going through,” he said. “But the fun for me is when you get to do a fun piece that I get to get into, and when it’s finished they stand up, and I get the ‘awesome!”’ and ‘it’s perfect!” and I’m tagged in Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook photos before they walk out of the shop.” And that feeling is probably worth more than any money earned through his art.
For more of Justin Stephan’s artwork, follow him on Instagram @justinstephansogtattoo and his shop @SOGtattoosdb