PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas November 2023

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G etting an appointment at tattoo artist Johnny Beavers' new studio, Publik, is a little l i k e a p p l y i n g f o r membership to a private club. Walk-ins aren't accepted, and potential clients submit applications via the website during one of the studio's brief booking cycles, which only happen a few times a year. "I read over the applications and choose the ideas for tattoos I'm most drawn to and the clients I feel I will work best with," Beavers says. Appointments are set a year in advance, and the studio is already booked up through fall 2024. Depending on the complexity and size of the design, tattooing sessions can require as many as 30 hours to complete. Publik looks more like a stylish city loft than a tattoo parlor — and that's the whole point. "I wanted it to be a comfortable, elevated destination like you're walking into a gallery in Europe," he says. Located in a former industrial warehouse minutes from downtown and the Museum District, Publik's sophisticated interiors were designed by Brandon Fontenot; the two met last year through their mutual barber. "Tattooing often gets a bad rap, so the idea of doing a tattoo studio at this level was exciting," Fontenot says. It's a perfect fit for Beavers' delicate ink artistry, which incorporates fine black and gray lines to create precise and highly detailed designs such as flowers, leaves, and other botanicals — his specialty. This refined tattooing style resembles classic pen-and-ink drawing and is often done by tattoo artists in Europe and Asia. It's less common in the United States, says Beavers, where traditional artists are trained to ink bolder tattoos with thick lines and color. For a while, Beavers had considered becoming an architect — you can see his penchant for meticulous composition reflected in his art — but tattooing is in his DNA. As a child, Beavers hung out every day after school at the Houston-area tattoo parlor his father owned, becoming an artist's apprentice on his 16th birthday. As he got older, he traveled and honed his skills as a visiting artist at other tattoo studios. After seeing the fine-line work being done by ink artists in Europe and Korea on social media, he decided to teach himself the technique, and he's been perfecting it ever since. Now at 26 years old, Beavers is a seasoned pro and owner of one of the most exclusive tattoo studios in the country. Sacred Art Each week, Johnny Beavers heads to the A private area in the studio includes a French easel found in Round Top displaying artwork by Johnny Beavers. Danish shearling chair. The steel factory door and concrete floors are original to the space. Opposite page: In the lounge, a vintage mirror reflects the word "Publik," which is laser-cut into the wall behind. 110

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