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Tattoo artist displays paintings at library

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Local tattoo artist, Lonsine Lucas, spends the majority of his time engraving permanent pieces of art on the bodies of brave metro-Atlanta residents.

Known as "Lord Yatta" to the bulk of his clients, Lucas also knows his way around a canvas.

Throughout the month of August, visitors to the Clayton County Headquarters Library in Jonesboro will have a chance to view Lucas' work.

His art, which has been featured at The High Museum, The Defoor Center, and Hammonds House, is urban inspired, yet draws from a variety of themes. Using canvas, acrylic paint, oils, Japanese sumi-e ink, and a variety of painting styles borrowed from tattooing, Lucas creates two-dimensional art with three-dimensional depth.

"The same year that I started tattooing was the same year that I decided to start painting," said Lucas. Having been in the business of ink and paint for the last 13 years, Lucas said he is inspired by illustrators such as the late Tom Feelings, science fiction artist, Frank Frazetta, and Simon Bisley, a British comic book artist, best known for his work on the adult fantasy art magazine, "Heavy Metal."

Since 2005, Lucas has been a partner at Tattoos and Piercing by Randy, a tattoo parlor on Tara Boulevard, which caters to local and famous clientele. He said painting is a welcome "change of pace" from tattooing, which can sometimes be confining.

"It keeps me from getting burnt out," said Lucas. "When a customer walks in, they want a tattoo in a reasonable frame of time. With painting, there is less time pressure, and I get the time to really bring out the kind of picture I want."

In addition to using a variety of paints, including tattoo ink on canvas, Lucas uses whatever is at his disposal to add interest to his pieces. In "JMJ," a tribute piece to the late Jason Mizell -- better known as Jam-Master Jay -- Lucas uses the "backing" from a home theater system to create a surface that mimics vinyl. In "Sealine Woman," a piece dedicated to Nina Simone, Lucas cuts out pieces of the canvas to resemble the perforations of a stamp.

Dianne Moore, the library's assistant circulation supervisor, said the display has gotten "good responses" and has inspired some viewers to further investigate the services offered by the library.

"It appeals to all ages, all ethic groups," said Moore.

"I make a pretty good living doing my tattoos," said Lucas. "I primarily [paint] for myself. It's like my meditation."

To find out more about displays at the library, call Dianne Moore at (770) 473-3850, or e-mail dmoore@claytonpl.org.