Fresh Ink – Tattoo Artists

Meet the steady-handed tattoo artists applying ink to skin in Vaughan.

Toronto may be the premier destination for tattoos here in the Greater Toronto Area — if not the country — but when it comes to gifted artists, Vaughan isn’t short on talent. City Life Magazine hops into the chairs of some of the most skilled and inventive tattooists in the city to find out what makes them tick.

Jon Jajjo
Artist at Addicted Tattoos & Body Piercing

Despite a star-studded client list, Jon Jajjo isn’t one to brag — he prefers to let his artwork do the talking. While only tattooing professionally for five years, the soft-spoken, self-taught artist possesses a portfolio that could pass for a grey-bearded veteran’s. Join his 10,000-plus Instagram followers (@jtattoos) and you’ll find plenty of highly detailed, realistic pieces full of busy elements all blended beautifully in his preferred black and grey. You have to pry to get him to open up about working on Toronto Raptors’ Terrence Ross and James Johnson, as well as Stanley Cup champion Jamal Mayers. And when on the topic, he remains modest, describing the experience as “normal” and each client as “just another person.” Growing up he was more likely sketching in class than jotting notes and started tattooing out of his basement after high school. But he really developed into an artist after landing at Addicted Tattoos & Body Piercing. When it comes to the most important part of the job, he says it’s all about giving clients the best tattoo they can get. “That’s it,” he says with a soft shrug and an easy smile.

Luisa Pariselli
Artist at Dreamworx Ink

When Luisa Pariselli made the move into the tattooing industry, she wanted to apply the style she’d developed through her first artistic love: painting. A life-long painter who formally trained at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Pariselli was drawn to the new-age style of trash polka, a trend that emerged from Germany and features loose applications of heavy black saturation and red highlighting. She’s melded this style into her work for the past fives years she’s been working at Dreamworx Ink, combining the look of vivid brush strokes and paint splatter with static black lines to create an illusion of movement and the feeling of modern art. And while this upbeat, affable artist has drawn clients from across Canada, the U.S., France, England and the Netherlands, she’s a firm believer in the collaborative approach. She loves the one-on-one with people and the reasons behind their tattoos, but it’s “also the back and forth of them making me better with the creation process, because they’ll push me. If they don’t like something they’ll ask to change it and the piece gets stronger,” she says. “It’s not just me.”

Shawn Legrow
Owner/artist at Sakred Skinz

Shawn Legrow has tattooed people from all walks of life. From the back of a millionaire businessman to red crosses on each palm of a priest, Legrow has seen it all — which is what he loves about the job: hearing the stories of unique individuals. An accomplished wildlife artist, Legrow opened Sakred Skinz in Bolton in 2011 after tattooing part-time for close to a decade. And while he’s got stories to spare, his most memorable client is a 63-year-old woman dying of cancer. The classy woman — not the type you’d picture with ink — wanted to rejuvenate her old pieces when she found out she had a disease that chemo couldn’t treat. Legrow has been making her two flowers, a hummingbird, a butterfly and a piece with her kids’ names bright and new again. “She’s the toughest woman that I’ve ever met, and she always has a smile on her face,” he says. Humble and reserved, Legrow explains he just loves seeing the smiles on his clients’ faces. “As long as I do good tattoos and make people happy, and I’m an honest person, I should do all right in this business,” he says.

Candace Bushnell
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