Inspirational Humans by Justin Nordine


Inspiration comes in many forms and in many ways to artists. I know for me personally, when I started really embracing the art world and painting in college, my inspiration was drawn from social concepts to personal stories of myself. Over the years, I’ve relied heavily on my own personal demons and strengths, but as my career in tattooing has grown, and I tend to paint less, my inspiration comes from the human connection.

It seems obvious that my inspiration for my designs come from my clients. That’s a given. But for me it has become more then just artistic inspiration. But has inspired me to see us as all very much equal. We all bleed the same. We all arrived here in the same way. The human connection is a beautiful thing.

I have heard so many stories from my clients that I am consistently humbled by the human story. I have heard stories of triumph and overcoming some insane challenges. From terminal diagnosis to coming to terms with oneself. I’ve heard stories of pure tragedy, sometimes stories I feel like I wouldn’t have been strong enough to survive to unbelievable journeys that I can only dream of doing someday!! And tattoos do not always have to mean something. They can purely be an extension of beauty on our bodies and that in itself is inspirational.

I have never taken for granted the amount of amazing human beings that have sat with me for hours on end, sharing their lives, their inspirations for this piece of work and then trusting me to create a vision I see for them.

When I ask for full artistic creation this isn’t about me doing what I want, it’s taking what I’ve been shared with from my client and translating it into something from my mind. Meaning my specific style guides the design based of the clients information. I have set a pretty fail proof regiment, asking for images of inspiration, pieces I’ve done that have inspired the client to seek a tattoo from me, and their story, as much or as little as they want to share. Then taking the time to talk to each of my clients to gain an even deeper perspective of them and their direction for the piece of work.

So as you can see, my inspiration comes from you. I am in constant awe of what is brought to me and then getting the privilege to design these stories, memories, hardships and triumphs.

So thank you, for being inspirational humans!!

much love.


What a Summer.... by Justin Nordine


It has been a while since I posted on here. It’s been a really difficult summer if I am being honest. So much has gone on but I feel like I am in a really good place right now because of it. Not sure how much I want to share at this point, but on a personal level is where things where very challenging.

Life is a very interesting journey. One that has it’s ups and downs. It's also one that is truly an epic journey that we all get to be apart of in some way or another. I think what I find most interesting is the ability for people to create stories about situations that at the very core might have some truth, but the extended versions are so far from the truth that it’s ridiculous.

This summer I took sometime to find me. After a severe bout of depression which led me to a suicide attempt back in March, feeling more lost then I ever have, I needed to do some serious self internal healing. I needed some space. I needed time. Therapy was so important during this time for me.

After many months of some of the most intense and trying times both emotionally and physically, I am starting to find my authentic self, and Im proud to say I am on a path that works for me. Because of this, I am truly grateful to have some of the best support systems. My wife, is by far, one of the most amazing humans on this planet. She and I have been through the ringer these past 6 months and her dedication to me and understanding the challenges I have faced, is still willing to walk with me on this path is truly a blessing. Transparency is key! We are coming up on our 16th year of marriage and we have never felt closer to each other because of what we have gone through together then we do right now.

Our society is so based on traditions that if something goes outside of these traditions or the “norm” then immediately it is seen as bad or not “normal”. Why?? Why have we set such perimeters of what is ok and what is not, that we have stifled ourselves as humans? Because of religion? Because of social norms? We as humans, are the most complex thinkers this world has ever seen, and yet, we restrict our thoughts and actions to be so linear because “society says so”. But here is what I think, you all reading this probably think like I do. You just don’t allow yourselves to go there. Fear of judgement. Fear or rejection. Whatever it may be, it’s easier to turn an eye and pass judgement on the others that are not fitting “social norms”. I say fuck that. Be you. Be authentic. Live authentically. Anyone that challenges that, they can fuck off!

It feels good to say that! I have learned that a lot of the outside chatter beyond my circle of family and friends is nothing more than noise. And often loud, obnoxious noise that needs no attention other than to be turned off. So Im working on “turning off the noise”. Because this summer taught me a lot about who Justin Nordine is, as a man, as a husband, as a father, Im more then the tattoo artist I am known for, as a human being that doesn’t necessarily “fit” in what society wants me to be And that’s ok. And for those that don’t like that, thats ok too.

My therapist asked me in last weeks session, “what do you want out of all of this Justin?” I said “I want to fall in love with me”

I encourage you all to fall in love with yourselves too.

much love.

Yep. I've been eliminated...#notrauma by Justin Nordine


And there it is. Done. Finished. Over. Bye Felicia!!! Are you as shocked as I was?!?


Ive been wondering what this day would feel like when the world saw out of the competition. Not only out, but this early. I had high hopes that I was going to do well. I had a plan going into the show, but after the first episode, my plan was out the window.

This is a type of show that isn’t really about strategy. It’s about adaptability and not necessarily the art. And that comes from deep within yourself. Unfortunately I sucked at being adaptable. I learned a lot going and doing something like this. I learned I place WAY too much substance on others view of me and my work. I think that is a valuable lesson to take away from this experience.

As an artist, we either specialize or are known for “something”. You do that something well and it becomes your identity. We are praised from it, we are sought after for what we do and almost placed on a pedal stool of greatness. So then you go on Ink Master, and your work is looked at under a microscope to find ALL flaws. Add the pressure of filming, etc and then you are completely ripped apart and then do it all again. If you aren’t prepared or not able to adapt, you crumble. I crumbled. I can openly and honestly admit that.

The coaches said time and time again, “don’t let it get in your head”, I often wonder if I was able to calm my mind, would I still be apart of the show?

The “trauma” wasn’t what got me eliminated. It was myself and the inability to adapt to my surroundings. Thats the truth. I will stand by this piece and saw there was no trauma. My coach said it, she saw it up close and personal. Cam will always have been, in my opinion, one of the worst of the day and did not meet the challenge. He knows it. But Cam played the game very well. Poker face baby! I however, did not.

Many have questioned if Chris Núñez had it out for me? I can’t honestly answer that as my only interaction with him and the other judges were in the critic and elimination room. I do feel like he made it very clear he was not a fan of my style and that’s his right. However, I think personal likes and dislikes should void any type of criticism and focus on what was asked of the design, elements and execution not personal tastes. It was hard to hear all three say they would wear mine of the other two but the whole “trauma” aspect was ended up sending me home. Didn’t make sense to me.

I think if I was ever asked to come back, I would go in a much different player. I would be confident in my work, take the criticism the judges gave me with a grain of salt, pick myself up and kill it again the next day. I just unfortunately got in my head and it destroyed me. So much is not shown, this environment is so unbelievably difficult that if you aren’t careful, it’ll eat you alive.

I can not thank you all enough for the love and support. It’s never easy to put yourself out there and what I have learned, Twitter houses a lot of keyboard warriors!! I am and will always be proud of who I am as an artist and the career I have been able to create. I applaud those that are a master of many, but for now, I will be a master of one. Best of luck to all the others on the show and Ill be back for the finale!

Who knows, maybe Ill get back on someday and redeem myself a bit. But if not, my suggestion to you all, take opportunities as they come, don’t let them define you, but allow it to grow your character.

Much love.


Don't give your depression to something it's not... by Justin Nordine


I have had many ask if “Ink Master” led me to my suicide attempt due to what people hear about filming, living conditions, the backlash online, etc. Let me be very clear…ABSOLUTELY NOT!

My suicide attempt was a gathering of so much bullshit that I didn’t want to face, it led me down a pretty dark path. But filming Ink Master had nothing to do with any of that. I can’t say much about filming Ink Master earlier this year due to legal BS. But what I can say is yes, it fucked with my anxiety. So intensely that you start to see it hit me by episode 3. Unfortunately with editing, we don’t see the lashing Chris Nunez gave me, which led me to say during the mens decision to put someone at the bottom, me saying “I think mine was the worst, I should go to the bottom”. I was breaking under the environment I willingly chose to be apart of, I struggled to set aside the harsh critiques, trying to do what I love in environment that did not lend itself well to me and add on sleep issues, you get someone who does’t handle that atmosphere well. Clearly some of the other cast mates did just fine or better yet, were able to hide how they were feeling. I was not. And the beauty of editing shows me breaking but with no clear reason why at this point.

But for me, and I will speak for no one else, this wasn’t an easy place for me to be, because of how I think and act.. It’s one fo things you learn to just either love or hate about yourself. Im working on that “loving it” part.

Obviously I won’t be able for everyone to read this but I wanted to make sure there was a statement somewhere and a bit of a discussion about Ink Master and it having nothing to do with my attempt. I won’t give my depression to anyone thing or anyone person. It’s an accumulation of life and not dealing with it in a healthy light. Ink Master and the powers be (judges, producers, cast mates, etc) don’t have that much validity in my day to day life. They nor no one else led me to my attempt. I did that. Period

Much love

A new chapter... by Justin Nordine


So if you have been following along with my blog over the past few months, many of you know how transparent I have been about this year. Its been one of the hardest years of my life. Some things I have not shared and others I have been very open about. I have found this blog to be a very healing tool for me, I thought it would be good to open up a bit more.

Today I decided to add the semicolon to my hand. I have been thinking about this for a while now because of its meaning. Fairly cliche, it holds a significant meaning for those of use that have experienced those that have attempted suicide, fallen to suicide, or fallen victim to suicide. As many fo you know, I attempted suicide on March 22nd, 2019. Thankful, I am still here. Learning to cope. Learning to deal with the challenges I am facing, but most of all, learning to love myself.

A therapist I am seeing also has the semicolon on their arm and it just hit me. I need to add this to my body. So I see it everyday. As a reminder my story is not over, although challenging and difficult, I am worth it to allow my story to still be written in my book of life.

So I sat down today, quickly drew out a semicolon and permanently added this to my body. A forever reminder to keep telling my story and not allowing myself to end it prematurely. I love the placement. I see it at all times. Unless of course when I have a glove on during a tattoo session. But it’s there. A reminder.

My journey is not over. My book has so much more to add. New chapters. A new glossary of definitions, I have so much more to do.

I know right now, you see me on Inkmaster, well, not that I have been on much as of lately, but you are seeing me. My true authentic self. Not the drama. Not the bullshit. But a man of reason and when I have something to say, I mean it. But I am happy because I haven’t found myself consumed by what is being shown. It isn’t defining who I am. Those fo you that have sat in my chair, know me as a friend, you see me and I have to remember that. My dad reminded me today that I have a wonderful circle of people that care and that I am not alone. Being your authentic self is so important and I am just now starting to understand that. Living a life that isn’t authentic, and being what you think the world expects you to be, will only make you feel empty. I don’t want that for any of you. I also don’t want that for myself.

So as I continue this journey of authenticity and permanently reminding myself that my story is not finished. There is no “period” to end my book. Only a semicolon, indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced, making a statement that I still have more to do here in this crazy thing called life.

Much love.

And so it begins... by Justin Nordine

IMG_5480 2.JPG

And so it begins. This little show called Ink Master that I kept to myself for the first few months fo the first part of the year is about to start. I have a mix of feelings. One of them NOT being nervous. Which I figured I was going to be scared shitless when this finally aired. But I have to say, I feel I was exactly who I am in real life as how I was on the show.

It took me a long time to make the decision to actually go on and participate. After several calls for the past few seasons I decided to give it a shot. While I can’t share much about behind the scenes I can tell you it was something I didn’t expect. Even though I went in with a pretty good idea of what to expect. Given I know someone that has been on the show before. But nothing prepares you for this kind of “reality”.

The first 12 minutes of the episode have been shown and I have to say, it is very strange watching yourself. I experienced this first hand and so my. memories are different then what you all will see on screen. From the cold outdoors takes, to the many screams of “WE ARE ON ICE PEOPLE” (which basically means don’t talk), meeting the judges for the first time, making facials so they have plenty to use during the episodes, to finding myself tattooing in a very unfamiliar environment, timed and then exposed for all to see. Add on doing this with people I have never met, living in a place I have never been and being recorded 12-16 hours a day. It’s a lot to put into a 60 minute episode.

So as you all watch, enjoy it. Im glad I did it and experienced something most will never get too. Add the excitement of my face bing up in Time Square. Holy Shit! But also remember, this is a tv show to entertain. Its’ not real life. But a strange reality that exists only on your screen. Each one of these artists are amazingly talented and put their lives on hold to do this. Either for social gain, to push themselves as artist or because it sounded like fun, they did something extremely difficult. I am truly grateful for the experience and can’t wait for you all to go on this journey with me. However long it may or may not last. You’ll have to tune in each week to see what happens!

I am hoping each night after the episode Ill do a live Q & A, or a blog roasting the episode. Either way, Im looking to engage with you all, answer question or just give you the truth of “reality tv” as it is shown. Thank you for the love and encouragement.

Much love.

A Devastating Loss... by Justin Nordine


I’ve been working with Wendy, my client now since last year and the first piece we started, the bird, all was well.  We hadn’t quit moved into our new studio yet and she got one of my favorite pieces on her forearm.

Then I got the message while I was away filming and one that you don’t ever want to hear. Her husband passed away suddenly from a car accident in January.  He was on his way to get more work done on his tattoo in Salt Lake. Wendy’s life changed instantly for her and her young son.

Fast forward a few months later and our first project has now turned into healing projects. Spirit animals of herself, her husband and their son. We have one more spirit animal to go.

Life is precious and we are never guaranteed another day. My heartbreaks for Wendy and her son. I’m honored to be a small part of her healing. Another reason why I love what I get to do. Connect on deeper levels Andes art as a form of healing and honor.

Much love.

@therawcanvas  @peakneedles @recoveryaftercare @fkirons

@painfulpleasures @electrumstencilprimer @afterinked @radiantcolorsink @radiantinklab @saniderm  #synthnouveau #justinnordinetattoos  #wctattoos #radiantcolorsink #radiantcolorscrew

Sneak Peek...How Are you feeling about the theme...? by Justin Nordine

So here it is…the sneak peek of the season premier of Ink Master: Battle of the Sexes.

And you know what…..? Had I known the theme for this year, I wouldn’t have signed on. Thats the honest truth. Now, since I was there and had already signed a contract, I don’t really have a choice. But I made a decision, this wasn’t about sexes for me. As you all saw in “meet the artists” I specifically referenced my daughter and that it didn’t matter to me if I am battle a male or female. We are artists and that’s how I look at this whole thing.

I was shocked when we found out it was battle of the sexes. It’s 2019 for God sakes! But I have to agree that we are seeing more and more women in the industry doing some absolutely amazing work and not necessarily getting the credit they deserve for it. I have two female tattoo artists in my studio and they work their asses off to get the recognition they deserve. Without the tits and ass hanging out. Their work speaks from themselves and that is what matters. I am happy to see an equal amount of guys and gals on the show this time around. Typically it’s just a handful of women. Just not sure why it took so long for there to be equal amounts of gender and then let the artist battle it out. But here we are…

The idea of guys vs girls was only a matter of time. It creates controversy, gets discussions going and also puts the two against each other. For me, ill say it again. Sex doesn’t matter. All are capable of greatness. My daughter for instance, I have always told her she can be and do whatever she wants. She is a strong young woman and Id be damned to go on some show and treat anyone differently because of who they are and what they stand for. I don’t do it in my own home, and you for sure won’t see me doing it on national television.

My core values are strong and I love all. Period. So I encourage you all to watch, be open about what you see and hear, but also remember this is a tv show. Not necessarily the real world.

I would love to hear your feedback about what you have seen and your feelings about this season theme. Which artists are you already pissed at, which artists do you feel are putting on a show and which artists are you rooting for? Leave your comments below! As episodes come out, Ill be adding my two cents, some good, some bad but always transparent and real. SO make sure and come back and join me in discussion as we jump into season 12 of Ink Master.

Much love.


One Trick Pony by Justin Nordine


Well it’s official. My work is finally up on Inkmaster for all to see.  I have actually been dreading this day. I tend to be a very pessimistic person when it comes to myself. Normally I’m very optimistic of others but for me, always thinking the worst.  

Im happy to say that the majority of the comments I received were pretty nice!  I was pleasantly surprised as I know the internet can be a sea of darkness and full of keyboard warriors!   The one comment that seem to come up was “his stuff is nice but he’s a one trick pony”

I found that really interesting and yet, not surprising. Inkmaster is a show about someone being a master of many styles and not a master of one. So a guy like me, with a very distinctive style, on a show that is looking for diversity. It’s no wonder this title kept being brought up.   

I do pride myself in having a distinctive style. It has allowed me to have an absolutely amazing career, one that I never thought was possible.   So why then would I go on a show like Inkmaster?

That is a really good question. To be honest, my only response to that is I wanted a platform to show a unique side of the industry and to be pushed artistically.  But it’s true, this show is looking for a master of many. I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort zone and challenged to do other styles.  I guess you’ll have to tune in a see how I did!!

Regardless, take away the “watercolor” look and you’ll see solid foundations of tattooing. Strong lines, solid black, packed in color, etc. but it’s interesting because many only see what is on the surface. Not what it takes and what foundations it needs to be able to be applied correctly. 

So I’ll take the title of One Trick Pony. I have many tricks, but I’m proud of my style. It’s mine. It developed out of pure experimentation. I like being the odd one out. Thank you all for the continued love and support.  This was a crazy ride for sure!  And it’s just the beginning...


much love.  

I am everything they hate about the industry.... by Justin Nordine


It’s true. I embody much of what the industry hates about the direction that tattooing has gone. For the past 10 years, I have fought my way to do the style I had wanted, to be my own artist, do my own thing and move in my own direction. My style, poorly called “watercolor” was once said to be a “trendy style that will fade” has become a widely sought out style that has taken on many forms. If done correctly, it will hold and is often sought out by many that are looking for a tattoo but beyond the traditional norms of tattoo designs..

I never set out to be different or do anything that would get me recognition. I sought out the ability to design and create unique ideas. Use my art as a global language. I happen to get that opportunity in the form of tattoos. Tattooing has been around for a very, very long time. It has seen its rise and fall of popularity, but nothing like it has within the past 10-15 years. We are now seeing just about everyone getting a tattoo and wearing them proudly. It has moved from an underground culture to a modern phenomenon. From reality tv, to tattoo shops looking more and more like high end salons. I think when you present something different to a culture that doesn’t like change, it challenges them to the core. And not taking anything away from them, but change can be hard to accept at times.

I have had some people ask, “Why did you do Ink Master? You already have a great following” and my response has been is that I went on Ink Master to showcase the other side of tattooing. Us nerdy art kids that don’t really fit the mold of traditional tattooing groups, who may have gone to art school, who were president of the school art club (hint hint),and have a different view of the body and tattoos. I took a chance to use that as a way to share more objective ideas for the watching public. Not necessarily what has been typical. In addition, I wanted a platform to discuss openly about mental health as well as be put in challenging situations that ultimately will help me grow as an artist. I wanted to share the joy I have found in this industry and for those of us that don’t “fit” what is typically seen.

So when I say, “I am everything they hate about the industry”, it’s true. Its not a bad thing! In fact, I think over the years, especially the beginning of my career, it was something that kept me going, something to prove to myself. As someone who chooses not to conform, challenge the norm and paved my own path as an artist, I say “fuck it” be the ones they hate. Challenge them. Be able to hold your own and do it because you love it. Not for the fame. Not for the fortune or the followers and groupies. Do it because you want to speak to the world through your passion, because it’s you at the very core. It’s ok for them to hate you, you’re better because you are different. And being different makes the world a much more interesting place.

Much Love.

Home by Justin Nordine


My client came to me with a design she wanted to represent where she grew up. Here in Gran Junction, Co.  If you are from Grand Junction, you know about the infamous Independence Rock and all the sage that grows around the valley.  

Ive also grew up here in the valley. Born and raised. Left for about 5 years and lived in the Denver area. Moved back and opened up the tattoo studio. The great thing about this town is how beautiful it is, mountains surrounding you, hiking trails, biking, camping, skiing within less then an hour away. It really is a beautiful place to live. The downside...everyone knows you.  

Not that I don’t mind connecting with old classmates and friends, but you run into just about everyone, everyone seems to “know” you or at least thinks they do.  

So at times I’ve found myself hibernating in my house rather then being Mr. Social that I use to be in college and early on in my tattooing profession.  

I cant imagine not living in Colorado but I do have a huge desire to see more of the world. So I’m not sure Grand Junction will be my forever home, but for now, I’ll take it!

If you could pick anywhere in the world to call home, where would that be? 


Much Love


@therawcanvas  @peakneedles @recoveryaftercare @fkirons

@painfulpleasures @electrumstencilprimer @afterinked @radiantcolorsink @radiantinklab @saniderm  #synthnouveau #justinnordinetattoos  #wctattoos #radiantcolorsink #radiantcolorscrew

Do you fit into your box? by Justin Nordine


Part of the joy I get in being a tattoo artist is getting to know my clients on a deeper level. I’m an empath, I’m sensitive and drawn to the emotions of others. Either to fix, try to heal or just to listen, it’s something I cherish but also have learned to be cautious.   

My client came to me for a design that represented her time in Africa. Part of the Peace Corps, she selflessly spent two years working in a village. No running water, no electricity and no real source of communication or really knowing anyone and her connection with the LGBTQ community, she wanted a design that shared those stories and a part of who she is and still learning about herself.

During the session, we got into some great,  conversations that reminded me again, we are so alike in this world. Whether our stories line up, or cross, we all share tragedy, triumphs on this journey called life.  None of us “fit” the box we all seem to try and fit in or what others expect us to fit into. Either for the sake of social norms or our own insecurities most of the time our “box” doesn’t fit! 

I was reminded by my client that life is not easy. It’s not black and white. And that the human connection is much deeper then what is expected to be the norm. To follow your own path. Not what has been laid out in front of you. And to love yourself. However challenging that might be, to love yourself is the greatest love we all seem to be passing by...

Much love.  


 @therawcanvas  @peakneedles @recoveryaftercare @fkirons @painfulpleasures @electrumstencilprimer @afterinked @radiantcolorsink @radiantinklab @saniderm  #synthnouveau #justinnordinetattoos  #wctattoos #radiantcolorsink #radiantcolorscrew

Spirit Animal by Justin Nordine


In certain spiritual traditions or cultures, spirit animal refers to a spirit which helps guide or protect a person on a journey and whose characteristics that person shares or embodies.  

For myself, I’ve always been drawn to the polar bear. To me a symbol of strength and family. From afar super cute but piss him off and he will tear you apart. 

The polar-bear spirit animal is a powerful spirit guide. It's not surprising because the polar-bear symbolism represents strength and endurance, as well as acceptance and surrender. Just like the bear spirit animal, the polar-bear meaning is telling you that you should surrender to where you are in your life.

So what is your spirit animal?  Do you think it reflects you?


much love

Why would you go on that show? by Justin Nordine

This is a nice introduction to the cast and what to expect from this seasons, Ink Master: Battle of the Sexes.

I knew going on many might ask “Why would you go on that show?” To be honest, in my earlier career I thought it would be a cool thing to do, great way to get your name out there. However, as my career grew without the need for TV or other things, I decided it wasn’t for me. Then came the calls, after several seasons of saying no, I finally decided why not!

The biggest reason I did it was because I wanted to share my love of the art and what this industry has done for me. I have been through it all in the 10 years I have been in tattooing. The good, the bad and the absolute worst. And I still I love what I do, I want to share that with the world.

I also wanted a platform to be open about mental health, my struggles in hopes to be transparent and inspire others, share the positive aspects of the industry, a different side to tattooing, a more fine art approach, I wanted to show my kids you can do anything you set your mind to, face the fears of the unknown and I was also excited for the opportunity to be challenged and pushed outside of my comfort zone.

For me this wasn’t about gaining more followers, or proving I am a good tattoo artist. I know I am and Im proud of my style and direction. I wanted to be challenged, I believe when we are put in uncomfortable situations you experience growth. Just like working out, we workout to stay strong and build muscle, so by putting myself in uncomfortable situations, which this experience did, I have been able to grow, I learned a lot and wouldn’t change it.

But don’t believe its about fame. Or fortune. Its about being successful and that doesn’t always mean doing that in the traditional sense. If opportunities are presented to you, I would hate to regret taking them and always wonder….what if I had….

Much love.

Ink Master? by Justin Nordine

So I did this thing…some show called, Ink Master.  Ever heard of it??

I finally gave in, after the calls for several season I thought, why not?!?!  I have to say it was quit the journey and experience.  Of course I went into this excited to showcase the artistry that I so love about what I do, as well as open up about mental health and get people talking and in hopes of learning a few things about myself and pushing myself in some new directions.  I learned a lot about myself, reality TV, and how much I truly do enjoy people.  The cast was the absolute best part of this experience.  

I am hoping to blog after every episode (or podcast) and do some fun takes on the whole thing, from the talent to the competition to the just crazy shit that happens!  So follow this blog to keep on top of everything and more.

You’ll have to tune in to this season and see how it all unfolds.  Ink Master: Battle of the Sexes premieres Tuesday, June 11th at 10/9c on Paramount Network.


Finding Hope by Justin Nordine


Finding hope. It’s out there. And when life throws you some serious curve balls, hope seems far off.  This is Jenney. Her husband had abused her son severely one day and due the severity he passed away. Her story is complex. Deep and meaningful and her life now is much different then it was several years ago before her sons untimely death.  It was not an on going abuse but a moment of rage that lead to the tragedy. And so Jenney has learned to cope and find hope in her sadness. 

The tiger was the first tattoo we did last year in honor of her son. As much joy as she told me it brought to her, she wanted to finish it. So we added a dragon, mirroring the tiger for her other son who has also suffered the loss of his little brother. And her arm, an Egyptian symbol for strength and beautiful cherry blossoms.  

I wanted to bring all the images together as one, cohesive piece that told a story of strength, tragedy and hope.  

May you all continue to find hope in this dark world.  


Much love.  

3/22/19 by Justin Nordine


3/22/19. Not a birthday. Not an anniversary. It’s the day I attempted suicide. 

Yep, you read that right. The guy that “has it all”. A great life, followers, tv personality, lovers of his work, people dying to get work done, an amazing wife, kids, family, etc. but my depression got so bad I was unable to see out of the fog.

On March 22, 2019 around 5pm, I walked out to garage. I wrote a quick note on my phone that started off by saying “someone will find this...” I grabbed a rope. Made a noose and put it around my neck. I heard my children playing outside. I thought, they’ll be ok.  And attempted to hang myself. I decided to not stand on anything and step off.  But rather begin to hang and allow myself to pass out. Within 1 minute I’d pass out. Within 2O minutes it’d be over.

I looked up ways to do it right, wouldn’t hurt and pass out quickly. As I began to pass out, my feet went underneath me and stood up.  I don’t remember choosing to stand, but my body said no.  I came too and took the noose off of my neck and paused for a moment and cried.  In that moment, I knew I had to change something.  I needed to face my demons and deal with my depression. I had lost all hope. I was ready to be done. For whatever reason my body said no and I stopped everything before I had passed out. 

I told my wife. I told my therapist. Her fear was I may attempt again. I’d been going to a therapist, a psychologist, raised my dosage of meds, nothing was working to release me from this fog.  I was always thinking about it, but not sharing it with anyone.  We even hid all the pills in my house a few weeks before.

My therapist decided and suggested, I needed a ketamine treatment. A new alternative way to reset the brain and lift me from the suicidal actions and allow me to face whatever I needed to face without the idea of ending my life. 

Ketamine has been a life saver. I have since done 2 IV infusions. First one was one hour, the next was 2 hours. I’ve never felt such happiness as I did when doing the treatment. Afterwards, after a day or so, my fog lifted. My suicidal thoughts stopped and I could focus on what was really happening that was causing such a dark depression.

I don’t tell you this story for pity. Or sympathy. I tell you in hopes that someone reads this and does not feel alone. That there are options. And treatment to help. This is a real disease. It’s crippling and It almost killed me.  I’ve never been so close to choosing to be done with this life. I didn’t care anymore. I was sure everyone would be fine and move on. 

I’m struggling daily with the conflict inside my head. The voices can be so loud, powerful and very convincing that this world doesn’t need you.

I’m choosing to be transparent for anyone that reads this because it’s real. I’m not a weak person. I’m not insane or looking for attention. I’m living with debilitating depression. There is hope though.

Much love.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Finding Our Place in this World by Justin Nordine


Finding our place in this world. What kind of statement is that?  In my opinion, maybe one of the hardest to figure out.  

I never thought I’d be a tattoo artist. It wasn’t something I had thought was for me or even really considered as a career. I planned to either work for Disney, live in New York in a loft, hang my work in a gallery and call it good.  

I didn’t go to CalArts to try and make it with Disney. To be honest, I was too nervous to leave that far. So I enrolled in a local college, worked on a fine arts degree. Realized once I was done, not a whole lot of money to make unless you make it big as a fine artist.  Fell in love and needed to start bringing in an income other then waiting tables! So I looked into teaching art. Worked on my masters in art education and only 5 years later to realize I didn’t want to that for the next 25 years. So what next?? 

Id been getting tattoo since I was 18, thought it was a pretty cool way to create. But back then, I didn’t see it as a career. Until I decided to teach a class on the culture and history of tattooing to my high school students. That’s when it hit me. This is what I wanted to do. So I left teaching, to everyone’s shock and surprise and got into the industry. 

So back to finding our place in this world. I guess that goes both ways. Who we are and what we do. But what we do should not define who were are as a human being. It’s just something we do to support ourselves. I feel blessed to do something I have so much love and respect for, because I know many others don’t necessarily feel that way. But being a tattoo artist doesn’t define me.  Others use it as a way to define who I am, which makes sense.   But I’ve struggled over the years to understand WHO I am and not by what I do. That’s a tough one. 

I think finding ourselves, who we are, where we belong, is an ever ending life battle. I am not the same person I was when I was in elementary school. I’m definitely not the preppy kid that was nominated as “best dressed” in high school.   I found myself a bit more in college. But up until recently, I had a hard time defining who Justin Nordine is beyond a tattoo artist, a father, a husband, a friend, an uncle, etc.  

So that takes me back to finding our place in this world. I think where it is, is where you truly know you are on the inside. That’s your place in this world.  And finding that, embracing it, and accepting it, can be terrifying, exhilarating but ultimately, glorifying.  Not what we do, or how we do things, we are who we are from the experience that life gives and listening to your inner self when it matters most. The exterior of the world will move on but you get to be you. And that is truly breathtaking. 


Much love

Timed Out? by Justin Nordine


Time is a strange thing. When we are young, time drags. Waiting for your birthday or Christmas seems like a lifetime. The days are longer and it often seem to drag along.  

As we age, time seems to go faster and faster. The work day flies by, the months seem to go by in a matter of weeks.   we seemed to often wish the days were longer (well at least I do!!)

Looking at time and approaching 40, time is flying by.  If I’m being honest, I struggle with that pretty deeply.  Life is never a guarantee and I think as we age, we recognize that even  more. My kids are growing up so fast, my business is in is 11th year and doesn’t seem to be possible!  I graduated high school over 20 years ago!!  And with time, we also learn more and more about ourselves as we age  

I see time now as something to take by the reigns and embrace it. Even though it isn’t easy and hasn’t been easy as if late, If this is it and we are not guaranteed each day then time is just something that reminds us of each day we get, so I’m working through life and looking to embrace time, embrace what I’ve learned and am learning about myself.  Live your days out right.  Use time to allow yourselves to be true to you, the ones you love but most of all, take it day by day. The clock will keep ticking regardless so use it to your advantage. 


Much love.  

Collaborations by Justin Nordine


Love to start doing some collaborations with other artists. Either in studio or when I’m traveling. Collaborations have really taken the tattoo community by storm over the past few years.  I think what’s interesting is the pearing of artists. Sometimes complete opposite in design and style but merging the two (or three) is often a thing of beauty.


Finding clients that can sit well is key. And also clients willing to forgo artistic control is essential. Would you ever allow two or more artists to create something permanently on you with no real input?? Love to hear who you would like to see me collaborate with!  Comment below!