Dustin Barnhart (@dustinbarnhart)
May 9, 2019
Dustin Barnhart is a tattooist and co-owner of Berlin Tattoo in Kitchener, Ontario. His work achieves a traditional aesthetic through its combination of impactful imagery and hints of illusionism. Barnhart’s individual tattoos are complex compositions in themselves, retaining an ornamental quality which blurs the line between single, figural piece and multiple relational elements. Barnhart was born and raised in Kitchener, Canada, where he spent most of his youth skateboarding and snowboarding.
Having been initially hired at a walk-in centered studio called Way Cool Tattoos—where over six tattooists worked at any given moment—Barnhart “quickly learned the importance of versatility in multiple tattooing styles.” This environment led him to refine his skills in “traditional American and Japanese styles, as well as black and grey, fine line, and even portrait tattooing when requested.” One can notice the persistence of many of these aesthetics in Barnhart’s current work, whose dominant influence remains American traditional. In his spare time, Barnhart practices different forms of painting, with an emphasis on oil painting. He is also “fairly well-versed in machine building and always [tries] to better understand the tools of our trade.”
Barnhart notes that he prefers to “keep things simple.” As a tattooist, he hopes to improve from day to day, and to “do my part to protect and resect the craft that has given me everything.” He is wary of the dilution that the “commercialization” of tattooing has brought, “stripp[ing] it of its magic.” Nonetheless Barnhart remains hopeful, concluding that, “regardless of where tattooing goes in the future, I hope to be one of the many that help steer it in the right direction.”
"[R]egardless of where tattooing goes in the future, I hope to be one of the many that help steer it in the right direction.”
Interview Short reads Traditional