Freemason Comeback

I was interviewed for this Oc Weekly cover story and this is my excerpt…

“One of the newcomers is 36-year-old Luke Wessman. He’s best-known as a tattoo artist from reality TV shows Miami Ink and NY Ink, but he’s also a Master Mason who makes the drive down to his home base, Vista Masonic Lodge No. 687. “For me, it’s really nice when you bump into a brother Mason anywhere around the world, and you’re immediately welcomed like a close friend,” he says while working in his secret OC studio, the Summertown Inn. “But I also enjoy the fellowship with my elders. After the meetings, we have meals, and I love being able to sit down and just kind of chop it up with them and get some of that old knowledge, whether it be worldly or just common knowledge.”

Unlike many of the new-wave Masons who are introduced by relatives, San Diego tattooer Dave Gibson was responsible for bringing Wessman into the fold. Wessman initially pursued it because of how much it meant to his mentor, but its emphasis on introspection gave him a much-needed compass for life. “It’s not as much as you may think about getting into a crew or a group and learning the secrets of the world,” Wessman says. “It’s about learning how to unlock the secrets within yourself.”

Wessman rose from Entered Apprentice (newbie) to Fellowcraft (second stage) to Master Mason relatively quickly, but his activity slowed as his stature as a tattoo artist grew. His hectic lifestyle doesn’t allow Wessman to participate as much as he’d like, and he understands that some of the veterans might not appreciate that. “I think the older members, they get bummed when they don’t see me for, like, six months because I’ve been traveling and doing all this stuff,” he says. “I think it’s probably a new era in which it’s harder to be committed and devoted to a lodge because you’re doing so much in the modern world, but I think I can still represent Masonry out and about in the world.”