My Story

During my career, I’ve turned to some of the best artists, both old masters in art and new artists in the tattoo industry, as well as many other forms of art, craftsmanship and nature for inspiration.  Knowing that tattooing is a vast industry, I had to push myself to learn and recreate realism — to be able to stand out amongst great tattoo artists.  I strictly tattoo in the realm of black and grey realism that pushes the limit on texture and detail. It’s all about getting the right reference photo and I have always been a very visual person. I strived to achieve something that other artists weren’t doing at the time and I continue to work hard to perfect my craft.  When I began tattooing 14 years ago I would have never thought I’d be where I am today.  It took a lot of hard work, dedication and perseverance over the years.  I was exposed to tattooing when I was 16 years old and decided to goof around and built my own machine out of a Walkman motor and guitar strings. But don’t do that! I enjoy the art aspect of tattooing most, honestly.  It amazes me that you can accomplish such a beautiful piece of art on skin, it intrigued me to continue and learn more about the industry.  

 Currently, I own and work out of Dark Water Studio in Willow Springs, IL, a southwest suburb of Chicago.  After many years of traveling the world guest spotting and doing conventions, I’ve met so many amazing people and tattoo artists, and enjoy being a part of this industry. Over the past year and a half, I have been focusing on teaching on my YouTube Channel ( and seminars , both one-on-one at my studio and to groups at conventions. I want to give back to this industry that has been so good to me, and help lead the way for the future of this industry. 

Stay tuned, been working on a lot of large scale pieces that I will be finishing up over the rest of this year. And hopefully, pumping out some paintings along the way.

Dark Water Studio
501 Willow Blvd., Suite 102,
Willow Springs, IL 60480

©2020 by Jose Perez Jr.