What’s up, I am Lonny Morgan. January of 2010 I picked up a tattoo machine and started to practice on myself. It was a Huck Spaulding Kit that a friend of mine gave me. I realized that something in me caught fire. I began to tattoo friends out of my basement in North Carolina. I found myself spending money on new equipment, inks etc. Why the late start you wonder? Well, I did music for 15 years. I was a writer, producer and recording engineer. I had my own recording studio downtown Salisbury, NC. Believe it or not I actually made big steps in that world, but one day I woke up and like a light switch I was turned off. I had made leaps and bounds only to find I kept hitting the same wall over and over. After a trip to LA to work with a well known artist I went to my studio and fired up my keyboards, beat machine and one of my amps didn’t power up. I said to myself that’s it. I shot pictures of my equipment and put it all on craigslist. I sold all of my gear in just a week. Being somewhat of a shark (having to be in motion) I started to loose my mind with boredom. I had gotten several tattoos over the years and I was interested in tattooing as an art, culture and lifestyle. So, I played with that ole Huck Spaulding kit and I am still tattooing today.
I feel it’s important to be clear about something. Before I ever tattooed anyone I did tons of research, reading watching videos and even more reading. I had taught myself about bloodborne pathogens and ordered bottle bags, clip cord covers and DisCide. So, yeah I was a basement artist, a scratcher even. But I was taking it serious. What will really blow you melon is when I tell you that I was also Health Dept. Permitted to tattoo out of my house. I knew that I wanted to be in a real studio around artists that I could learn from so I was building a small portfolio from what work I was cranking out. There were only a couple of shops in my area and they were locked down. Which is why I started out of my basement.
Anyways, I grew tired of NC and had been wanting to leave. My wife had family in Florida so I decided it was time for us to make a change. So, off to Florida we went. I had only been tattooing for 4 months by this time. First shop I went to actually hired me. I remember being so nervous that my palms were sweating. I was 100% sure that I was going to get laughed out the door. They hired me on the spot. I was shocked but eager to work and learn.
Day one at the shop the guys have hand guns on their stations. I already knew that something was odd about that. Later that day I discovered that one of the artists was a junkie. Then I watched the owner do a tattoo that was so horrible that I then knew it was time to go. There was no day two. I bounced to a different shop where I was taken on as an artist / apprentice. I was cool with that because I was well aware of my level. Boy did this get weird fast. In three weeks I had only made just over $200.00 and the whole situation was just so weird. There was no week four lol.
Feeling defeated I told my wife that Florida just wasn’t going to work. We hadn’t officially moved there at this point. I was ready to go back to NC. As I have the conversation with my wife I get a phone call. It’s a shop owner in a different location but in Florida. He ask me to come up to speak with him. Well, I get hired. It was a new shop but really nice. Turns out that I was the only artist to be hired. I wasn’t in a position where I wasn’t going to learn anything, the owner wasn’t an artist but I stayed there for a few months actually. I was doing well enough that I went back to NC and moved all my stuff to Florida.
Funny thing is after I did that the shop got so slow that I felt a panic setting in. The owner and I began to bump heads and I said good luck to him. Yeah I quit. I had made contact with Pat Patterson who was at Lucky 7 Tattoos. He asked me to come by with my book and so I did. He and Trevor Wilson decided to take a chance on me. I was very honest with Pat cause at that point I was a flash artist. I wasn’t drawing and I couldn’t draw at all honestly. He told me that art is something you learn and so I finally felt that I was in the right place. I was surrounded by a great group of guys and awesome custom artists. I started trying to sketch up some little designs and sure they sucked but I kept pushing on. I started using different mediums like acrylic paints, prisma pencils, primsa markers and I started to see some progress in myself. I was approached to submit my designs to a clothing company and I even started to sell prints of my work. Later I started my own Clothing Company, Voodoo Art Company and I began to give the underdogs a way of being seen. I wanted to give an outlet that didn’t cater to the rock stars but catered to the hungry.
Even though I can look back from where I was to where I am I now I still have a long ways to go to get to where I want to be. There are a lot of talented artist I truly look up to but just too many to name drop. I now work at Aces High Tattoos in Jupiter, FL where I continue to grow as an artist and enjoy doing custom tattoos. I consider myself lucky to be able to do what I do for a living… there are a lot of people trying to get out of their basement, kitchen, garage, bedroom hoping to work in a good shop and most of them don’t make it. So, everyday I tell myself that I am one of the lucky ones… If there is anything that I have learned it’s…
A. Art is something that you learn
B. You’ll never stop learning.
It’s been a very interesting journey so far and I am eager to see where it’s taking me.