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.
Shop: Zen Tattoo • 294 W. 4500 South • 801.262.3396 • @zentattooslc
Years tattooing: 18
Where you apprenticed and for how long: Susie M’s Tattoo in Salt Lake City. Seven years.
What styles of tattooing do you favor/specialize in: Most forms of Asian art, my favorite being Japanese.
Favorite subject matter: Koi, peony, dragons and Japanese water.
Favorite flash: I don’t use flash art—all of my designs are hand drawn.
Favorite custom piece you’ve done: Don’t have a favorite—I enjoy every large piece I do, especially when it is completed after many years of hard work.
Tattooer you admire: Horiyoshi III, Filip Leu.
Other visual art you make: No other visual art other than tattooing at the moment (no time!).
Tattooing guilty pleasure: Kanji. I love these because they are so easy to do.
Nerdiest thing you know about tattooing: I know how to make tattoo needles.
Best tattooing tunes to play in the shop: Iron Maiden, “Powerslave.”
Shoutouts: To my mom and dad. They hated on me for doing art and getting tattooed for years. This made me work even harder to prove them wrong. I now own my shop, have a successful tattoo career and have tattoos all over my body. They are finally proud of their son!
Find a selection of Le’s works below:
All photos courtesy of Thai Le