Tattoo artist leaves his mark

Ben Lucas, tattoo artist and owner of Eye Of Jade in downtown Chico, has been inking art pieces on people for more than a decade. Photo credit: Trevor Ryan

The hand must be as calm as can be, the lines as precise as can be and the outcome — portrait perfect.

Tattoo artist Ben Lucas was 30 years old when he got his first tattoo. Eight years later, he opened his own tattoo shop in the heart of downtown Chico and today continues to fulfill his clients’ wishes with a needle and ink.

Growing up in Chico, Lucas’ path to tattooing was a natural progression. He did a lot of art as a child that proceeded into his high school interests, he said.

“I’ve always been big into art,” Lucas said. “It was one of those things that I like: positive, creative enforcement. I was the only boy out of my sister and cousins. They didn’t want me bugging them. So everybody would say, ‘Here are some crayons, go draw.'”

For 15 years, Lucas has been leaving his mark on many — literally. After working out of several tattoo shops, in 2007 he opened up his own, Eye of Jade.

As a tattoo artist, he transforms his clients’ interesting stories and experiences into art pieces on their body.

“I get to do something new every day,” Lucas said, “and I get to hear all the stories that come along with that.”

Traditional Japanese-themed tattoos have become a favorite to do on his clients, he said.

“It flows well on the body,” Lucas said. “I’ve always been drawn to something that works really, really well. It looks like it’s supposed to be on the body.”

More than 20 pictures of his Japanese artwork that his customers have allowed him to use are on his personal website.

Although he can be considered a master, it’s safe to say he will be sticking to tattooing others and not attempting to do his own tattoos on himself. His pain tolerance for them is high on a scale of 1-10, he said.

“Oh, I hate tattoos,” Lucas said. “I would say they are an eight. I mean it depends on what area you are getting done. But no matter where you are getting work on, you go through a lot of pain.”

With his entire back covered in tattoo artwork, one sleeve of his arm completed, and almost his entire torso and both legs from his knees down, Lucas is following his passion of art in the form of tattooing.

Claire Martinez can be reached at [email protected] or @clairelmartinez_ on Twitter.