Yeah, tattoos are cool and all, but deep down at their roots, they’re pieces of art. Using ink, dyes and pigments to change the dermis layer of the skin is a practice that has been used for centuries all over the world, and the people who create the works are indeed artists. Baton Rouge tattoo artist Stephen Gullotto knows a thing or two about ink, so he gave us the lowdown on what it’s like to be a tattooed guy giving tattoos.
His Own Ink
Gullotto, who works at Alpha Tattoo, has been in the industry for about 11 years. According to his biography on the shop’s website, Gullotto respects all tattoo styles, but favors a traditional approach when it comes to his art. It’s not uncommon for tattoo artists to take matters into their own hands, and Gullotto is one of those craftsmen. He says that, when he first started tattooing, he tattooed himself several times.
Close to the Heart
The tattoos people choose to adorn themselves with often hold great meaning. For Gullotto, the portrait of his grandparents is his most dear. “They were a big part of my life,” he says. He also has tattoos of the Bible verse said by Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the film “Pulp Fiction,” taking up the entirety of his back and an ode to his birth year covering a large part of his torso.
You see some weird things as a tattoo artist, but for Gullotto, the weirdest piece he tattooed was where the sun don’t shine. “The weirdest thing I have tattooed would have to be a star around someone’s butthole.” On his Instagram account, where he features some of his work, there’s a tattoo of a tooth with the words “Plaque is Wack” and a culinary breakdown of a pig.
Student Becomes Teacher
Because he is a tattoo artist, Gullotto says he approaches his tattoos differently than someone who goes to a shop to get ink. He tries to use his experience to steer future tattooed folks away from getting ink they’ll regret. “There’s enough information out there to know who would suit the style of tattooing you would like,” he says. “Do your research properly, and don’t settle on the cheapest price or soonest availability.”
Above all, a tattoo is permanent, so it’s an investment.
Photos by Sean Gasser.