Arlo DiCristina needed to have a good friend purchase him his first tattoo machine when he was 17 as a result of he wasn’t sufficiently old to legally buy one.
He was so inquisitive about tattooing that he would observe on keen mates, however by no means thought he may make a profession of it till he took on his first apprenticeship.
“I simply fell into it,” DiCristina, 29, mentioned. “As soon as I spotted I may make a dwelling doing it and noticed some progress, that was it.”
Whereas getting began, DiCristina was dwelling in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and was trying to transfer. He considerably arbitrarily selected Grand Junction as he was deciding between California and Colorado, however didn’t wish to reside in too massive of a metropolis.
After working on the Uncooked Canvas tattoo parlor in downtown Grand Junction, he ventured out on his personal and up to now three-and-a-half years has developed some of the recognizable tattoo types round. His enterprise, Elysium Studios, attracts among the greatest tattoo artists on the planet and brings in clientele from across the globe.
The studio has 9 tattoo artists with plans to develop to 11 by this month, it additionally frequently brings in visitor artists. DiCristina can be trying to department out, having bought the previous First Church-Christ Scientist, 535 N. Seventh St. He’s not prepared to speak about plans simply but, however mentioned he’s in talks with town of Grand Junction concerning the area.
DiCristina first gained notoriety just a few years in the past when considered one of his tattoos, a portrait of the Batman villain, Joker, along with his face interwoven right into a skyline of Gotham Metropolis, turned well-known. That surrealistic type has turn out to be related to DiCristina.
“He sort of, to an extent, coined an entire type,” longtime good friend and fellow tattoo artist Jeffrey Johnson mentioned.
DiCristina’s spouse, Ryan Ashley Malarkey, can be well-known within the trade. She turned the primary girl to win the fact TV tattoo competitors Ink Masters in season eight of the present on the Paramount Community and has appeared on a number of different exhibits.
The couple met at a tattoo present in Las Vegas and have been married final 12 months. Malarkey lately relocated to Grand Junction from the East Coast.
Malarkey is now working at Elysium and DiCristina is pleased with the dynamic he’s created at his studio, at 861 Grand Ave. in a transformed home in downtown Grand Junction.
“It’s very uncommon to have a store with this many cool individuals,” DiCristina mentioned. “Everybody is absolutely cool, actually chill.”
Johnson, who DiCristina first mentored in tattoo artwork, agrees and notes the expertise within the room. When Johnson was in artwork college, he mentioned he was the star of his lessons, however that’s now not the case.
“Now I work with 9 people who find themselves superior to me,” he mentioned. “I feel essentially the most spectacular factor is the expertise pool that’s there.”
DiCristina considers tattoo artwork essentially the most tough artform as he has to cope with the variations in individuals’s pores and skin as a substitute of a canvas. And it’s not one thing he can erase or paint over if he’s not glad.
“Fingers down, I feel it’s the hardest artform. It’s not like a portray the place in case you don’t prefer it, you’ll be able to paint over it,” he mentioned. “It’s the one factor you’ll have the remainder of your life and perhaps a short while after.”
But it surely’s additionally his favourite type as he will get to satisfy all types of individuals. To date he mentioned he’s completed tattoos for individuals all around the nation in addition to abroad from France, Germany and elsewhere.
Johnson mentioned clients and others within the trade are drawn to DiCristina’s participating character, particularly at a time when he feels others within the trade have been perhaps taking themselves too significantly.
“His demeanor and persona as an artist is absolutely laid again and playful,” Johnson mentioned.
DiCristina mentioned he loves Grand Junction due to its facilities and proximity to different cool locations corresponding to Vail, Aspen, Telluride and Moab. And he’s comfortable to deliver his purchasers to city and share the world with them.
Sooner or later, he mentioned he needs to do extra to provide again to the group and assist deliver tattooing additional into the forefront of the artwork scene generally. One thing he says is already occurring.
“Most people view is beginning to change,” DiCristina mentioned. “My purpose is to assist change that much more.”