Lewis Ink


Naturally inclined towards dot work, Lewisink (who goes by Lew), has dedicated himself to furthering his potential by embracing the world of computerized imagery. This is where his geometric imagery, which has been in development since he was fourteen, becomes refined and reaches new heights. Never planning to be a graphic designer, he studied the techniques of the field to be able to use it in his work, and it shows in the patterns he renders in his tattoos- their clean, rhythmic repetition borders on absurdity. The longer you take in one of Lew’s pieces, the more skeptical you become of the simple, singular human force behind it. But there’s no denying it- Lew’s hand works with the perfection of a machine, fueled by an entirely original, always expanding experiment in design.

Mosaic, kaleidoscope, pixelated screen- there’s more than enough worldly terms to define Lew’s tattoo imagery, but in the end, you have to see it rather than imagine it through elaborate wordplay. Most of the geometric tattooing I am familiar with is heavy with mandalas and hexagons, re-using shapes that are easy conformers to a standard human shape. However, Lew’s large- scale designs put angles against curves, letting his shapes overtake natural bends and lines within the body until the two become an improbable one. There is no element in a Lewisink tattoo that is not entirely necessary- each piece depends on the next, and that is what creates the quiet fragility within the huge presence his tattoos have. It’s a sweet tension, struck with intent and deliberation. His work reminds me of the new- age tendency to establish ‘vortex sites’, which are said to be points of the earth that harvest a remarkable amount of core energy, sometimes originating in another dimension. The points where Lew’s tattoos begin, climax, fall, and end are like these capsules of undefined force, in both visual and physical terms. I can feel the tattoo move towards a certain point inside itself as much as I can feel it expand out from that point.

Lew’s process is just as important as his hand, and it’s what allows each piece of his to reach its fullest potential. Each design is entirely his own, customized to fit a clients’ vision, but not forced on them or dumbed down to fit specific limitations. Without this trust between Lew and the person he is tattooing, the integrity of both the art and the artist risks being lost. Though these are Lew’s personal versions of a client’s idea, they are naturally open- ended enough to embrace the significance someone might want to see in them. No ends are left untied- there is originality, time, dedication, and most importantly, clear communication between artist and client.

Lew’s biography on his personal website concludes with the line “Thank you for letting me do this.” I think that simple expression of gratitude says everything that needs to be said about his relationship to what he does. Lew is based in Paris, and though he is booked for most of this year, he can be contacted through his site.


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