Local Tattooers: Gailon Justus

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Salt Lake City has fostered a steadfast tattooing scene for a couple decades now. It seems like no matter where you go within the city limits or beyond, there is an established shop to be found with committed, knowledgable, skilled and wise people on the tattoo machine. So you may have time to plan your next custom piece or esoteric flash once the heat dies down, SLUG has compiled images of tattooers’ work and their thoughts on their craft. Since it’s impossible to include everyone involved in local tattooing in one issue of SLUG, we’re mixing it up with a range of tattooers from different shops with a range of professional backgrounds, experience, etc. to depict a segment of the current local-tattooing mosaic of SLC/Utah.


Instagram: @sweetneedles

Studio: Sweet Needles – private studio • 333 W. Pierpont Ave. • 801.824.8621 • sweetneedles@hotmail.com

Years tattooing: 19

Where you apprenticed and for how long: I got my foot in the door at ASI Tattoo but got my start tattooing at Lost Art from Nate Drew, three years.

What styles of tattooing you favor/specialize in: I was always drawn to the traditional and Japanese styles of tattooing. By looking at the tattoos I do, maybe people wouldn’t think those are my main influences.

Gailon Justus
Gailon Justus

Favorite subject matter: Animals.

Favorite flash: Ed Hardy.

Favorite custom piece you’ve done: Can’t say I have one.

Tattooer you admire: That’s too specific, so I’ll give you five: Mike Wilson, Flip Leu, Horiyoshi III, Ed Hardy and Les Skuse.

Other visual art you make: Aerosol, water color, digital art, murals.

Tattooing guilty pleasure: Lower-back tattoos.

Nerdiest thing you know about tattooing: 700 pokes a second.

Best tattooing tunes to play in the shop: Barry White.

Shoutouts: Lost Art, Yellow Rose Tattoo, Mercy, Lonely Hearts Club Tattoo.

Find a selection of Justus’s works below:

All photos courtesy of Gailon Justus