Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘The tattoo apprenticeship helped bring me back to me.’


“Tattooing kind of saved me from a pretty dark time in my life. My mom was diagnosed with cancer and passed away 10 years ago as I was starting to get into it. She was the most excited out of anybody. She wanted me to design something for her and tattoo it on her. I sadly didn’t get a chance to, so I put it on myself on my left forearm. It’s a heart with a banner that says ‘Mom,’ an anchor for my grandfather who was in the Navy, the Yankees logo because she was a fan, four-leaf clovers for her Irish heritage and Pepe Le Pew.

“I’ve been tattooing for the last 10 years or so, beginning with an apprenticeship at Michael Angelo Ink, where I work now. I’ve been doing art my entire life, I went to school for art at SUNY Purchase, got a degree in fine arts, drawing and painting. I didn’t choose this career on purpose. It kind of happened by circumstance. I happened to buy a kit on Amazon. The equipment you get is not good at all. I was a client at Michael Angelo Ink before I was an employee and I decided to go the traditional route. I learned everything I know about tattooing and am definitely a better artist because of it.

I didn’t choose this career on purpose. It kind of happened by circumstance.

“I’ve always been interested in comic book art and that’s what really got me into art, especially as a kid. My parents and grandparents would buy comics for me. I was always drawing since I could pick up a pencil. I would emulate comic book art, now I do a lot of pop culture stuff; Disney, Star Wars and superheroes.

“After college I was like, ‘What do I do now? What kind of art profession can I get?’ I was working in an office doing data entry and then got the apprenticeship. Being a client and getting tattoos as often as I was, I became friends with my tattoo artist, and he said, ‘You should actually do this for a living.’ I don’t have an exact number of tattoos that I have, probably in the 30s, I’m pretty covered. It’s all stuff that I grew up with: comic books, video games and cartoons, all pop culture stuff.

“I have matching tattoos with my wife, so those are meaningful as well. The apprenticeship got me back into art and helped bring me back to me.”

Interviewed by Rachel O’Brien – Morano