The Art Of Tattooing 


It is almost 2018, we have put humans on the moon, developed cars that can drive on their own and luckily most of us have come to the conclusion that an individual with a tattoo can be both intelligent and hardworking. Over the past decade tattoos have slowly become more mainstream and accepted in society. In the past individuals with tattoos, women especially, have been harshly judged and ridiculed for the art that they chose to put on their body. But now that people are starting to take the time to understand tattoos and the art behind it women are no longer looked down upon or judged for using their body as a canvas for art. We talked to one of the most in demand tattoo artists on Long Island in order to get the inside scoop on what the current trends are and the art behind tattooing. 


Dominick Cali has been tattooing for a few years but that was not always his plan, "I went to Pratt Institute for Digital Art and graduated with a BFA. I found myself two years out of college with little freelance work and overall, frustrated. I was open to other opportunities. My now co-worker, Will Walker, is a long time friend of mine and we reconnected not too long after I graduated. When he explained what tattooing was like I really started to consider the idea of it. It just kind of stuck with me and I felt drawn in. So I reached out for an apprenticeship at Michael Angelo Ink and the rest is history," said Cali. 


What some people don't know is that most people have a reason behind every tattoo that they get, whether its in memoriam of a loved one or simply an expression of their personality, "A lot of people have meaning behind their tattoos. Whether it be family-oriented, memorials of loved ones who past away or pieces that remind them of some type of life lesson. Some, it's more about aesthetics and just being a fan of art. Some people just see their body as a canvas. I think both routes are equally valid and it's totally up to the individual," said Cali. 


Trends are always changing, this is true for tattoos as well but lately more women have been getting hip tattoos, inner arm tattoos, photorealistic tattoos as well as tiny tattoos. "Every tattoo artist has their specialties. But for me, people tend to ask for black and grey, and usually on the realistic side. I think this is mostly just where my strengths lie. It's a snowball effect. If I do a few good roses, skulls, or portraits, and people that are looking for those types of pieces stumble upon my work, they'll of course come to me based on work they've seen me do," is what Cali had to say about what most people come in for. The tattoo artist also noticed that most women typically opt for more delicate tattoos, "Women are usually more likely to ask for their tattoos to be delicate and on the smaller side. But, honestly, I have a huge variety of clientele and most of my clients are really into getting serious work done. So size usually is based on what will look best for the design and the part of the body that it will go. Most of my clients will trust me to make those decisions."


Tattoos are truly an art because their purpose is to make a statement, challenge viewers and/or alter someones perception. Tattooing itself also requires creativity, patience and talent: all of the things that painting or drawing require. Personally Cali likes to put his own twist on every tattoo that he does, "Most clients give me a starting point and I almost always come up with a design almost entirely from scratch. I use references and ask for direction from my clients, but that's it. As long as I feel like I can connect with my client, I know I can make them a piece that they're happy with. I prefer to design a new and original piece based on the client's idea. If they have a reference, I will consider the style and design. But, I ultimately want to make them something new. If you're paying me to tattoo you I also think I should put in the work to give you a piece that no one else has." This Long Island based tattoo artist also uses tattooing as a way to express himself and the things that he enjoys, "My preferred style of art in general is what I'd describe as 'dark and classy'. Aesthetically and thematically I enjoy horror and macabre imagery. Not everyone can see beauty in darkness, but it's something I have always have been drawn to. I try to find balance between the grotesque and the beautiful."


Since the stigma that was once attached to tattoos has lifted and they no longer keep you from landing your dream job, more women are getting tattooed, even the older generation is getting in on the fun! "I'd say sixty percent of my clients are female. And most of my clients are between the ages of 20 and 30. But I've tattooed people as old as 75.," said Cali. 


Dominick Cali currently works at Michael Angelo Ink in Medford, NY. For appointments or if you have any questions you can email him at or follow him on Instagram @domcalitattoo 

By Kristen Catalano

Reflection Magazine