Have you ever met someone and thought damn, I want to know more about them, their story and the path they have walked in life. Luke Wessman, is that man. He is a world class Tattoo Artist, who has tatted some of your favorite celebrities and athletes, he was on New York and Miami INK, he’s done it all over the years and he’s still achieving success at a high level. His demeanor is so calm, and he doesn’t flaunt his accomplishments, but as you begin to peel back the layers to this incredibly talented artist you learn there is more than meets the eye. Luke’s up-bringing wasn’t easy, majority of his young life his back was against the wall, he was in survival mode, but he always found a way to survive and now he thrives. Get a pen and paper ready because you’re going to want to take notes. Welcome to Vibe Sesh, with Luke Wessman.
Get Your Vibes: I love that in your Instagram bio it says you grew up on a hippy farm in Tennessee. What was it like growing up Luke Wessman?
Luke Wessman: I was born there but I didn’t grow up there, it sounds like this really interesting birth situation, but I just came out into the planet there. Then my parents hitchhiked to California with myself and my older brother when we were old enough to move. It’s funny about my Instagram bio because my friends always say, ‘why doesn’t it say tattoo-er?’ and I’m like there are so many tattoo artists out there, I don’t think it defines me even though I’ve been doing it forever. I’ve kept born on a hippy farm, raised in California, I just thought it was a better description.
Are you an artist or a tattoo artist?
I’d say tattoo artist, as a whole just a creative person. My parents weren’t a part of my growing up but they were there when I was a kid and they really instilled being creative and creating, drawing and building and that was really the foundation of my life.
Talk about some of the extensions of the Luke Wessman brand?
There is the Lost Art of The Gentlemen, which is something I created when I moved to New York. It was when Instagram was just starting out, I was a young tattooer. We opened a shop in SoHo, it was for a show called New York Ink, it didn’t do really well, but it was a cool period. We had a good run and there was one in Miami called Miami Ink and luckily, I was able to be a part of both. I moved to New York, it was the first time in my life that I was single, I was in my 30’s, I was working in a tattoo shop, on TV, I might have been a catch in some circles, I was dating a lot. Luckily, New York has tons of beautiful women, that are driven and from all over the world. I’m coming off of being a serial monogamous dater and staying in long relationships, I was observing the dating world and in New York which was fast paced and full on. I was using Instagram as an outlet to voice my opinions on chivalry, morality and what I thought about dating. Out of that time came Lost Art of The Gentleman, it was sayings, my personal beliefs and I was doing it on my personal page which was growing because of the area I was in and the TV show. I built its own page and now that has grown, it’s about 30,000 followers and they are really into the messages. I’ve been leaning on that a lot in life and as I’m pushing it out there, I am also taking it in, thinking in terms of healthy relationships, being full of integrity, it’s given me a lot just sharing it. I try and keep up with it.
You do think there is a lost art of the gentlemen, though?
Yes, I think so. I grew up around gang members, bikers and athletes, all these people and my ideals of a gentlemen are totally lost. I’m not trying to save the world, it’s just me sharing my thoughts on these scenario and things that work for me, or things that could be better. When I became aware of the gentlemen moniker it stopped at a suit and a mustache, I always thought that was so shallow. I still love nice suits, but I just thought it was such a shallow representation of gentlemen. I wanted to go way deeper in what it meant to live and be a gentleman, not just a look. If a guy is in a suit it’s like oh, he’s such a nice gentleman but you really have no idea what his character is like, so I wanted to hit that hard, almost as a smack in the face to all the gentlemen pages that were full of babes, boats, nice watches, which I love all that stuff but it’s very surface, so shallow.
Where do you think you learned how to be a gentleman from?
I didn’t have someone to model my life after, I was a really quiet kid and I just watched a lot, I took notes based around those things that leaned on my good nature and common sense. Even in the gang life there was codes of ethics, I know it’s a weird place to grab things like that from but there is honor in some of that lifestyle, loyalty, some things like that.
Do you have a daily routine, mantra or regimen that you do every day?
It’s never been regimented because I travel so much, my whole thing was living free, like really living free. By that I mean, I’d get an email can you come to Israel and tattoo, my answer was yes, next week let’s go. For my work flow I limit my appointments to a month so I can say yes to those opportunities that come. For the last 10 years I’ve been filling a passport, go everywhere I could, everywhere I knew somebody or if I knew something was going on, so it was hard to have a daily routine, my day was what’s going on today, what can I say yes to? Now, I am hitting forty soon, so I am hitting the gym every morning, trying to eat better. That’s my daily routine right now, at least through the end of the year.
I enjoy your social media channels, how do you feel how you utilize them?
Not to start with a negative but I am kind of burnt out on them. You’re creating stuff, you’re doing art, you’re traveling, and you put it out there and in our culture it’s old news in 45 minutes. I’ve been battling with it because my goal is to be like Jay Z and not have an Instagram, I hope to get there, but right now it lets people know what I’m doing and where I’m at. Right now, it’s an integral part of my daily life because I can open up my appointment book from there and let people know I’ll be open for this week or be in London one week, those things help so much with my clientele, I use it a lot for work and not as much for fun as I would like, there is so much cool creativity on there. I don’t have a huge following, but someone said to me once said to me, there’s a lot of people looking, it’s like giving a presentation to a football field. It’s like here’s a stadium and they are going to look at what you posted, it takes away the fun a little bit, not that you let that drive you, but you can’t help but be affected by the commenting, what’s going on and some of the energy that’s on there. I try to post it and go, not dwell on it, I don’t see enough of my friend’s things because I kind of hit it and go. But overall it’s a great tool for artists.
I see it as a digital business card…
Right? Because what’s the first thing you look at. It’s a tough climate, I follow a lot of these really talented tattoo artist and I see their work all day long, but I am just at a loss for who they are. It’s important to see what type of person they are, yes, it’s cool art and great tattoos, but what else would draw someone in, like who is this person? What are they about? Who am I going to hang out with 2 hours while I get this tattoo? I’ve always leaned on being open and honest, sometimes probably too much but people do get a good sense of who I am and then when I get them in my chair as clients I notice I attract really good people, you reflect your clients. I really benefit from that because my clients are just the cream of the crop.
What are Vibes to you?
Vibes are big for me, I’m so sensitive and aware of peoples’ energy, it’s ridiculous. Vibes are everything. Now that I am older of the vibes are bad, I’m out. If the vibes are great I want more, vibes are very big. Just in my mind, I want to feel comfortable, I want to feel good, I want to feel happy, and if someone’s vibe is throwing that off I don’t want to be around that. I’m very harsh with people that have bad vibes, whether it be harsh by taking myself and distancing myself, it’s gotten harder to tolerate bullshit. It’s energy, I’m tuned in, too tuned in, I wish I could change the frequency.
A BIG thank you to Luke for spending the afternoon with us and vibing with us! You can follow him on twitter and instagram , I highly recommend giving him a follow to be inspired by his work and follow his journey!