Jorell’s introduction to tattooing is as unique as his art. His journey began when he was back home visiting his family in Kennesaw, GA for the summer. His younger brother and brother-in-law were getting tattooed at a local shop and got to know the owner, Alex Guma. Since Jorell had already started collecting tattoos, he found himself in the shop and ended up drawing up his own tattoo. When the owner found out that Jorell could draw, he offered to teach him how to tattoo if Jorell would help run the shop with his previous retail management experience. Jorell jumped at the opportunity and hasn’t looked back.
After bouncing around a few shops, Jorell found his home. Now he tattoos at the legendary Outer Limits Tattoo (OLT) in Long Beach, CA, owned and operated by Kari Barba. Jorell told us, “the best part about working for Kari, is not only the history that she has managed to salvage, maintain, and celebrate, but also the well-rounded crew she has fostered, recruited, and rostered! The team at OTL is phenomenal in skill and personality.” Jorell also raved about the energy of the shop, “it’s really humbling and an honor to work around such a great team!”
Like many artists, Jorell is energized by the people around him who often take his art to new heights. Jorell’s approach to tattooing stands out among other watercolor artists and perhaps this is due to the illustrative elements he brings into his work. He’s inspired by cartoons, comic books, and linear media (like woodcuts, engravings, and prints). Artists such as Dali and Dore are some of his favorites but he still finds inspiration in other tattoo artists. Artists such as Jeff Gogue, Guy Aitchison, Steve Moore, James Tex, Lars Uwe, and Rachi Brains, really push the limits of what’s expected from tattoos.
Artists aside, Jorell’s biggest inspiration come from his wife and daughter, he laughs, “I could tell you all of the reasons why, but that would require a 6 part mini-series.”
What advice do you have for someone planning his or her first tattoo?
Great question. I love tattooing first timers because I think it’s important to stress the significance of being knowledgeable. In a world where anything can be “googled,” it is paramount that the client is comfortable in trusting their chosen artist. So, RESEARCH, research and then research some more! Make yourself familiar with your artist, not just their portfolio but in policies, rates, etc. Don’t be frugal. You die with this tattoo; it’s one of the only things you’ll buy in your life that you’ll die with!
What advice do you have for a tattoo artist who is just getting started?
I think the simplest advice I can give to aspiring tattoo artists would be to be humble and work hard. I struggled with that very early in my career, and I regret not working more diligently and listening earlier. Don’t expect things to be handed to you, earn everything! Work hard and when you think you’ve worked hard enough, work harder!
When he’s not tattooing, Jorell can be found driving or drinking — but never at the same time! If he’s driving, it’s one of his “money pits,” like his 58’ Ford Panel Truck or his 91 Range Rover Classic. He also enjoys drinking whiskey or beer with his wife at home. Jorell also golfs, fishes, and plays soccer.
Jorell prefers to be contacted for appointments by email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Images © Jorell Elie