Growth Takes Time by Justin Nordine



Growth Takes Time

I got to do this cool Bristlecone Pine for my cousin last week.  These trees have lived a long time (some are the longest living life forms) and are super resilient to harsh weather. I found it to be an appropriate connection to real life.  Life is hard. Life isn’t easy. And much like these trees, they’ve gone through a lot of shit.

Being resilient in life can be challenging. As a business owner, tattoo artists, father and husband, life throws curveballs all the time. Often from somewhere we had no idea it was coming.

I’ve learned so much in the last 11 years but particularly this last year. At the ripe ole age of 39, life is become more clear. Which is a good thing but also hard. Finding yourself. What works for you. What doesn’t work from. Tough calls to trying times. But it’s these challenges that keep us resilient and willing to grow. I’ve experienced some pretty dark storms, especially in the past year and wanted, and almost did, give up. But my life is worth fighting for and so I found this tree tattoo and great juxtaposition to most of our lives.

Keep on keeping on everyone. This is what we got. Make it the best you can.

Much love.

Mental Health Crisis by Justin Nordine


Depression is real. And it’s ugly. I’m not here to post a pity party story. But rather a cry to support others that suffer. It may not make sense. You may not understand why they feel this way or even know what to say. Just say you are there for them and check in. I’ve had many reach out to support me since my depression took a dive.  Suicidal thoughts are real. Suicidal plans are real. Suicidal attempts are real. It’s not about attention. It’s not selfish. It’s a debilitating disease that takes its toll and all sense of reality away.  And you don’t want to suffer anymore  

There is hope. Being proactive. Support and willing to be vulnerable even when you feel ashamed. We are facing a serious mental health crisis and I believe at lot of it has to do with social media and the influx of information and how we process it.  

Be open. Be transparent. Be real. I suffer deeply but my hope is to beat this and if you are reading this and question things, you are loved. By many...


much love.  

suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Creating Art? by Justin Nordine


Being in the tattoo industry for almost 11 years now, a lot has changed. In the beginning of my career no iPads existed, no apple pencils. Literally it was paper, drawing materials and tracing paper.  Google was your main source of references.   So with the advances of technology has also advanced what can be achieved in the skin. 

I have found some artists literally draw everything. Using references to make sure things are accurate but literally drawing out everything. I’ve also seen other artists trace a found image online. I’m not talking about the tools that rip off other tattoos, but photographs or other type of references.  My question would be, are these artists less creative then the other artists that design from scratch?  I can only speak for myself, but I often merge various images together, then the artistry comes out on the skin. I’ll draw up a full design with color but often it’s just a map to guide me through the tattoo. On the skin is where I literally “paint”. I do the exact same thing when I paint. I find an image, I manipulate it, adjust colors or whatever and then begin to paint it on the canvas. Am I less an “artist” because I don’t draw from scratch?  I don’t think so. In my opinion, it’s just a different approach to creation.  I have often said creation is nothing more then looking at the world around you and seeing it in a different way.   What do you think?


much love

Creative Freedom by Justin Nordine


As an artist, creativity comes for our soul. Literally. Am I often am challenged within the industry to make sure clients have a buy in to the design. It is going on them forever!!  But their also comes a balance. You don’t want do something you’re not proud of (at least I don’t) just for a paycheck.   especially given that I and many other artists specialize. Sometimes you get some flak from outside people thinking you are a pretentious, too good to do “those” tattoo. But the reality is, when you have so many people wanting in, you get to be selective. That doesn’t negate the fact you still feel like an asshole turning people away. It’s basic business. Supply and demand. An artists is one person trying to make all happy.  So costs can rise, selective preference happens  


So when it it comes to creative freedom, I still look for what makes my clients tick. It’s import for them to know I’m not going to just put a random skull with satans marking on them (not that I would ever do that lol). Those buy in is important.  But to also trust the process and journey they are about to embark on with me as their artist. 


Transparency  is key. I post about 90% of what I tattoo. I try and show the process. Be as detailed as possible about what to expect when you get work done from me. I follow up with all clients and in turn, many come back time and time again because of the experience. That’s what we all want. We want an experience that brings us joy. Understanding. To be heard. To walk away with confidence.  


So, trust your artists. Give them artistic freedom. In the end, you’ll walk away more colorful then before (ha ha ha. That was cheesy).  


Much Love.  

So many submissions! by Justin Nordine


Today I opened my books for the later half of 2019. I opened them at 12am. It’s now 10:15pm, less then 24 hours later and I had to close my books. I received over 260 submissions. That’s crazy. Typically when I open my books, I get 150-200 in the 48 hours that I generally open them.  But 260?!?  In less then 24 hours is crazy!!

I am humbled by the amount of submissions I always get bit if I’m honest, it’s always a bit daunting.  That’s a lot of request and not nearly enough days for everyone. I’ve booked out far in the past, upwards of a year or more but now that my kids are older and not to mention my mental status, 6 months seems plenty and about the best I can do planning my own personal life out.  But it does challenge me because that’s a lot of disappointed people that won’t get in this time around.  

I hope anyone that reads this can understand the struggle. It’s both a blessing and curse. Success comes at a cost. And for someone like me, that does not like to disappoint, it’s s tough pill to swallow. 


Much love.  

For Australia with Love by Justin Nordine


Back to back session, Australian heritage, a love for the Sydney Opera House, the geometric tiles that create that building and a love for nature. This is a good example of my Lets Go Big project. 1 of 7 different projects you can choose from. Books open April 1st at 12am MST.

an ANTI-SOCIAL MEDIA Experiment by Justin Nordine


This is something new I am going to try. As you all know, I suffer heavily from depression and anxiety. In the past 6 months my depression has been the worst it has ever been. My career demands my time to be on social media, watching, commenting, posting, etc and to be honest. Im over it. Instagram owns the images we post, dictates who can see our post based on how active we are, how much money we are willing to spend on a post so more people can see it. I am humbled to have almost 80K followers on instagram (none of which were bought), almost 60K on facebook and other various social media outlets. However, less than 10% of the people that follow me, don’t see what I post UNLESS I pay more, or find myself more active on social media. This is affecting my mental health but I also want to be able to continue to connect with my clients on a personal level.

I am tired of the dictatorship of social media. I dropped my personal facebook last July and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. Now I am feeling the heat of instagram, will it hurt my business if I stop interacting and turn my attention to my personal website? I can control everything you see and respond to all comments. I can have everyone interested in my work, sign up with my mailing list and get notified of openings, travels, last minutes availability, big announcements, etc. Im in control of my website, not some big company. So I ask you to come to website, follow my blog “Colorful Pricks”, where I will post my tattoos and other aspects of my life. These images will still come across various other platforms because I can push this content to them. But I am taking back control of who wants to come and see my work, make it accessible to all parties, all on my terms. #screwsocialmedia


Books Open APRIL 1st!! by Justin Nordine

My books are opening April 1st, 2019 at 12am MST. I will be scheduling for August, September and October only. There are 7 different projects I am scheduling for on my website: Trust the Process, Nature Lover, Creature Feature, This Must Be POP!, At Face Value, What Is It?, and Lets Go Big! Very excited to offer a new way to schedule and begin to create a “series” of work based on these 7 projects! Thanks for the continued love and support. You can submit via my website on April 1st at Much love!

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