Luke Wessman is a San Diego based tattoo artist with a heart of gold. He can be found at Lucky’s Tattoo Parlor on the corner of Broadway and 10th, putting in more work in a week than you probably do in a month. We had the chance to befriend Luke earlier this year and are excited to share this exclusive interview with you.
What city do you currently call home?
I call San Diego California home…but I rep the city of Oceanside because that’s the city I grew up in…although over the last six years I have felt pretty at home on the road.
When did you begin tattooing and did you do a traditional apprenticeship?
I began tattooing around 1999 and I really didn’t have a apprenticeship at all. But I was able to watch some really good tattooers work and paint on a regular basis when I started…I learned almost everything I know from watching.
You currently own and tattoo out of Lucky’s Tattoo Parlor in San Diego, CA. Can you tell us the background behind how you got involved with Lucky’s and eventually decided to call it your home?
Dumb luck and a long story that’s too long for this interview. I will say that I’m proud to carry on where Dave Gibson left me. It was a honor to have stared my career in tattooing with him. He is a legend.
Self Made has been an instant success since it was first introduced to the internet in late September. What sparked the idea behind the documentary and how long did it take to complete?
The idea of the short doc on me came from a friend of a friend that had kind of taken interest in my story and had the vision and means to make it happen. I’m forever flattered by him and his crew…for someone to do something like this on me…I’m humbled.
How has growing up in Southern California influenced your tattoo style?
Gang culture, surf culture, and religion are the three things that had the biggest impact on me when I was growing up…and then me getting into tattooing at a shop that was World Famous for, Traditional Tattooing, picking up all the basic fundamentals of that style mixed with the street style tattooing that all the homies were getting in garages all over the hood…well that’s how those two styles merged for me…Traditional Gangster.
What are your favorite style/type of tattoos to do?
The kind that pay me. I’m not picky…I do tattoos.
What artists inspire you and your style of tattooing?
If you don’t recognize any of the following names you should make yourself familiar with them they all have a some special magic, skill, style or charisma and are worth knowing about. Jim Phillips, Robert Williams, Rick Griffen Mike Wilson, Dave Gibson, Morgan Pennypacker, Tim Hendricks, Neto aka “Maneko”, Chris Garver, Tommy Lee Lewis, Terry Tweed, Smith Street Crew, Scott Sylvia, Freddy Corbin, Chad Koeplinger, Thomas Hooper, Rollo, Norman K. Collins, Richard Stell, Mikey Slater…all have had and have a direct effect on my tattooing and my painting. I’m honored to know some of them personally…and the others I’m just happy to be able to be inspired by their work.
What celebrities have you tattooed?
Master P, Silkk the Shocker, Jaheim, Twitch, CJ Wilson, Matt Holliday, Yoji Harada, Darren Brass and tons of NFL and NBA guys. I have some cool stories involving Lil’Wayne and Keifer Sutherland. Oh and I talked to Rick Ross about tattoos and he gave me his number.
Do you feel that collaborating with other artists is important?
Oh yeah. It’s always great to see another style, new techniques, or just some good foreign creative energy…these things help us grow as artist and as humans.
What goals do you have for the next few years?
Work harder and smarter than everyone else, same as last years plan. I do have some Major ventures going on in 2011 but I’m not at liberty to discuss at the moment. They will be revealed soon and some people’s feelings will be hurt.
Do you have any advice for artists looking to make a career out of tattooing?
Med school is a great idea or law school perhaps…believe me you’ll make more money and get more chicks.
Is there anything else about you that you would like the world to know?
1. That I have a kind heart and a hell of a right hook. 2. Everyday and every night when your playing PlayStation or watching your DVR list or your favorite team playing or sleeping…I will be doing work, because it pays me and also because I love what I do. Grind=Shine.