All body art tells a story.

It can embody meanings that are deeper and more personal than any other medium.

It is my personal practice and philosophy at Universal Rites Tattoo that the people who come to me for tattoos leave with much more than ink in their skin. The entire tattoo process — from the moment I meet each client, to the completion of the masterpiece — is an unforgettable memory that will stay with my clients for the rest of their lives.

I believe the tattoo experience is unique to each person and therefore changes from client to client. I see it as my ability and purpose to interpret inner aspects of the personality and soul and personify them in a work of art that speaks to each client’s individuality, vibration, and intention.

Having worked in many “tattoo shops” with great success, I nonetheless am pleased that my current work enables me to employ a different, better approach. I work by appointment only and adapt the experience to the individual, depending on his or her personal, spiritual or other needs or preferences.

The process typically begins with a consultation where I confer with the client and elicit the information I need to begin creating a one-of-a-kind piece of body art. Through intuition, experience and questions, I seek to learn the client’s personality so as to capture it later in the art. Many pieces work on numerous levels and are like puzzles where I have a number of elements to configure to create the client’s dream tattoo. I take notes and measurements. I find out the client’s reason for wanting a tattoo, the significance of the desired tattoo and the importance of the timing of this experience in the client’s life.

A lot of work also goes into each tattoo following the initial consultation. Depending on the size and complexity of the piece, significant preparation may be necessary to fully develop the work before it is ready to be applied to skin. Again, body art tells a story, and some are easier to “tell” than others. I appreciate and enjoy the fact that each tattoo is a collaboration, and I work closely with each client until the piece is precisely what he or she wants.

Once the image and client are ready to go, we begin the most powerful and memorable part of the process…the tattoo! As receiving a tattoo is sometimes not the most comfortable experience, I act as my client’s coach and guide to make the occasion as pleasant as possible. Comfort, privacy and sterility are essential. Recognizing that the atmosphere and magic varies from person to person, I also customize this tattooing stage of the process for each client.

Traditionally, in many cultures throughout the world, the tattoo process is a magical ceremony. For my clients, I see it the same way. My clients come to me with unique, specific intentions behind their desired tattoo, and I am grateful to be able to skillfully lead them through this unforgettable experience.

– Benja – Owner/Artist at Universal Rites Tattoo in Ashland, oregon

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