Luc Suter from Los Angeles, CA always wanted to be an artist. Self-taught in the art of tattooing, Luc struggled through his adolescence like many of us. Tattooing saved him from himself.
From a young age Luc was drawing. He dreamed of becoming a cartoonist, or a scientific illustrator (that was until computers took over). He wanted anything to do with drawing and he wanted to make that his life. Luc never went to art school. Between ups and downs of adolescence including battling a drug addiction, Luc got back on his feet and got sober.
Using the needles in a different way
After battling a heroin addiction, becoming homeless and being in and out of jail, now at age 27, Luc uses needles differently than what he did in the past. He shares his talents at Boar Tooth Tattoos in LA.
Luc would draw between his two restaurant jobs shifts, and on occasion he would get inked by Juan Gollaz. Luc says “I would do a sketch of what I wanted and bring it to him. He would make the necessary changes and then tattoo it on me. I pretty much bugged the shit out of him and asked him questions until he agreed to apprentice me. Once I started, I absolutely fell in love with tattooing“.
We recently talked to Luc about his life and career. Check it out.
Inked Cartel: How long have you been an artist?
Luc Suter [LS]: I have been tattooing now for around 5 or 6 years now. I messed around with homemade machines and tattooed friends when I was about 14, but I wouldn’t really count that as tattooing experience haha, more so just seeing what was possible to do haha.
Inked Cartel: Do you pursue other arts – in addition to tattoos?
LS: I do! The last few years I have gotten really into classical oil painting. I had never really done much painting in the past and i had heard how much you can learn regarding values and tones through oil painting, and it has had my attention ever since. I hope to keep working with oils in different eras, right now it’s renaissance, then take some classes in Venetian, and then start to learn sculpting in a few years. And in between not lose any of the basics of drawing in pencil and charcoal. I feel like the more art mediums you can do outside of tattooing, the more it will help your tattooing, as well as growing as an artist, I don’t want it to stop for me at being a tattooist.
Baroque and Realism Inspiration
Inked Cartel: How would you define your style?
LS: Oh man, I’m not all too sure. I feel like my style is always kind of changing depending on what art is influencing me at the time. I guess I would say fine line black and gray realism. But I go through phases of geometric, abstract, surrealism, macabre, right now I guess I’m on a gothic architecture kick and trying to find designs in stained glass.
Inked Cartel: What artists inspire you?
LS: There are so many artists that inspire me. Both tattooists, as well as painters and fine art artists. Most of the tattoos I collect are from tattooers who I really look up to and admire. And most of the reason I get worked by them is to learn from them and pick their brain. Some consistent artists I have always liked would be Rembrandt, Dali, Escher, Caravaggio, Vladimir Kush, etc. and more recent times I’d say Kit King and Shawn Barber. There are tons of phenomenal tattooers who crush it in painting and other mediums. Carlos Torres is the person who actually recommended that I start oil painting, when I asked him what I could do to get better at tattooing. I signed up for classes, a week later haha. He has always been someone whose work I respected as well as how he carried himself. I learned a lot from him.
Ever Changing Style
Inked Cartel: How long is your waitlist?
LS: Right now my wait is around 3 months or so. I’m hoping to keep it around this and just occasionally keep opening and closing my books. I never really expected to ever have a waiting list in tattooing. But after tattooing for about 3 or 4 years I was booked over a year and while it’s an honor that that many people want to book, I wasn’t taking time for myself or painting and drawing and doing the things I enjoy doing. So I feel like this is a good balance now to still have some self care.
Inked Cartel: What was the most interesting design you’ve tattooed?
LS: Haha I don’t think I can answer that one. It’s the same as I don’t have a “favorite” tattoo. Each one is different and I usually like and dislike things in every tattoo that I do. I don’t think I’ve ever done a tattoo that turned out the way I anticipated, sometimes for better or for worse. I kind of change how I approach it as I get the vibe and feel and flow for it throughout the session.
See more of Luc’s work below. We fell in love.