The end of a era and the beginning of a new empire. On this day Tim and Brian came with me to clear out all my things from Luckys Tattoo Parlor in San Diego, where I learned how to tattoo (the original Dave Gibson’s Lucky’s tattoo parlor) and held a partnership with a very old friend for around 10 years.
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The shop meant the world to me, and thankfully, through a great deal of hard work it afforded me opportunities to better my craft and just myself as a person in general. I’ve had the great fortune to work in Miami, New York and a lot of other cities around the globe, and its those opportunities that have limited my ability to maintain my business in San Diego. So the day has come that I officially parted ways with Lucky’s Tattoo Parlor.
I started tattooing at that shop for the legendary Dave Gibson and was given a healthy respect for tattooing and my place in it, so leaving it to my partner is very bitter sweet. I know without that foundation built from my early years in that shop I wouldn’t be the man or the tattooer that I am today.
Five years ago we moved the shop from the original 7th street location to a beautiful building on the corner of a very busy street a few blocks over, my partner and I put everything into that shop, it took months of work and help from family and friends to open it. It by far was one of the nicest tattoo shops ever, and will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Through hard work and friendships old and new, the opportunities were pouring in and I was more then ready to take them, especially after becoming a single man after ten years. I was constantly presented with the decision of bettering myself or the business, and it was clear for my paticular situation I couldn’t do both. I was traveling much more often then I was at the shop and knew eventually this day would come.
I’ve never had much in life other then my word, integrity, and my friendships, so to see some fruits of my labor these last few years has been a really great feeling, it has been amazing to be able to travel all over the world and to be welcomed by clients, friends, and peers. I’m so blessed and I thank Dave Gibson for giving me a start, letting me mop the floor and to be privy to conversations between real tattooers back then…in a time when tattooing and its secrets were very scared. I am forever grateful to Milford Barnes, Morgwn Pennypacker, Ami James, Chris Nunez, Dan Dringenburg and Tim Hendricks…for playing pivotal roles in my life and my work.
I am working on some new exciting projects in the future, and the tattoo world will not be the same. Keep a eye out because “winter is coming” Thank you to all the people that care about my life and the work I produce, I am very grateful and take no one and nothing for granted.
The front of the original 7th street shop.
The day this picture was taken Bob Baxter was in the shop doing a article on Dave and Lucky’s. Bob had sat Dave down in the back room to start the interview and said to me “hey Luke, yeah you can sit in on this” I was stoked…Then Dave said to me “not till you mop the floors, clean the windows, bathroom, and make his needles for the week” I was bummed. But lesson in humility and earning my place lasted much longer then my embarrassment at the time.
The inside of the original shop, all hand painted flash by Dave Gibson. It was perfect.
One of the few photos of Dave Gibson and I. Dave worked at the Pike with Bert Grimm right before he opened Lucky’s in ’89 I believe. It was a honor to have worked with him and to have come from this tattoo royalty. We are truly standing on the shoulders of giants.
Picture of the inside the new shop right after we opened
Good luck to Shane and the other guys there now.