Jawn Suzuki Tattoos Outside The Art Box

Jawn Suzuki Tattoos Outside The Art Box

Breaking free from genre defining styles and creating works of art that make him and his clients happy.

ArtMay 01, 2023 By wendi jones

Giving himself the room to grow and evolve as an artist without putting himself in a box is a priority to tattoo artist Jawn Suzuki. And although he can execute many different styles of tattoos, He prefers to keep himself free from the restrictions of labels and push the boundaries of the way art can be imagined. Lately, his portfolio is stacking up with Black and Gray Neotraditional work with a strong Art Nouveau emphasis, which is what his clients love him for- and Jawn couldn’t be happier about it.

Name: Jawn Suzuki
Years Tattooing: 9
Shop: Rainbow Demon
Instagram: @jawnton

What’s in rotation on your playlist right now? 

Mac Miller will forever be number one. Zedd, Paramore, Billie Eilish, Said the Sky, Olivver the Kid, William Black, Fairlane, Drum and Bass and just EDM in general as well as really any pop punk from the 1990s to this day. 


Before you started tattooing, what was your journey like as an artist? 

I’ve always loved art as a child. Old paintings in gold frames at museums were just the coolest to me. I drew a lot in school and have won some school contests doing so, but was so heavily involved in my academia and extracurriculars so I pushed art aside. In high school, I picked up drawing again and segued into painting which I loved. Got into some books with my paintings and realized acrylic paint is where I felt most at home. 

What led you to tattooing?

I was actually in college for Biochemistry but realized a traditional career wasn't going to bring any happiness to my life. I previously mentioned I painted a lot, but knew that was not sustainable as a career for myself. When I found tattooing, I absolutely loved the fact that you could do something different everyday. I wanted to be able to connect with people and do art that would bring them joy as well. Through my journey with tattooing specifically, I have gained such a respect and love for the industry and it has gotten me through some of the most difficult parts of my life and has brought me to some of my highest points as well. I love tattooing at its core and will forever be grateful for where it has taken me.

How would you describe your style of tattooing?

I would say I just do what brings me happiness. It’s constantly evolving. I have done every style you can possibly imagine even though you don’t see it in my portfolio (American Traditional, Japanese, Color Realism, Anime, even Trash Polka and Fine-line). I have taken aspects of all those styles in addition to art I love to look at (paintings, manga, interior home design, tapestries, pottery)  and created something I am currently very happy with. I have a hard time defining my style because in 5 years, I might not be doing the same thing and want the ability to evolve without placing myself in a box. I started my career in Denver doing fine-line because I knew it was the most sought after style and got decent enough to then transition to something I felt more artistically challenged with when people recognized my artistic capabilities. If I HAVE TO currently define my style, it would be Black and Gray Neotraditional with heavy emphasis in Art Nouveau. 


What do you think you would be doing professionally if you weren’t a tattooer?

I have thought a lot about this recently and I would like to say “I wouldn’t want to do anything else. I love tattooing”, which I do, but honestly we’re all searching for happiness and whatever brings me joy and fulfillment is what I would be doing. 


What was your first tattoo you ever got?

Inside my mouth it says “faith”. I got it at 18 because a hot dude had gotten the same thing. Don’t get tattooed at 18. 

What’s the strangest / most unique tattoo request you’ve gotten?

Honestly the stranger, the better. I think it’s cool when people give me ideas I have never imagined and my brain can formulate how to make things work. Those types of tattoos excite me. I honestly don’t find requests “strange”. 


Do you have any tattoos you regret? (Getting or giving)

There are tattoos earlier in my career I am not happy with that I’ve done, but never regretted. Every tattoo I’ve done has led me here. I think we all get something in a moment of our lives that means something. No matter how dumb or terrible any tattoo I’ve gotten, I am able to remember the time and place I was when I had gotten it. Tattoos tell a personal story of growth and bring memories that are irreplaceable to the person you are today.  


What’s something most people may not know about tattooing? 

Tattooing isn’t an easy and glamorous career path. If something is easy, it’s not good. I do it because the payoff of all the hard work to bring a single person eternal joy with my art is the best thing I could imagine. They take a piece of your art with them to the grave and it's such an honor.

What is your favorite part about your job? 

I think of tattoos like armor. I get to place this armor on people and have them go and take on the world. You just see their confidence rise and their faces light up. It’s the best. 


Who are some of your favorite artists?

The two that got me into tattooing are Justin Hartman and Emily Rose Murray. Alphonse Mucha, Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, all the old greats really. I also have insanely talented friends in Denver, back home in Hawaii and around the world that I look up to everyday. They know who they are and I have so much love and admiration for them and their love for art and tattooing. 


Parting Words?

Last thing I’ll say is sometimes people forget art is everywhere even those that aren’t visible and tangible. Take time to just appreciate it all because life is so short, and all you can do is be yourself and find happiness. I love you all and am so grateful for anyone who has allowed me to put my art on them. I would also like to thank my booking assistant and friend Nicole Valdez. Without her I wouldn’t be able to focus on tattooing and run such a smooth business.