Dillon Forte has forged his way to achieving sustainability in the tattoo industry with his own eco-friendly technology, Forte Tattoo Tech. As more and more people frequent tattoo shops, waste from the industry increases exponentially. While artists once stocked reusable supplies like coil machines in their shops, recent years have seen a rise in single use products, primarily for the purposes of proper sterilization.
Given that these products are often considered biohazards post-use, non-recyclable items like ink caps and coil films overflow trash cans by the end of a few tattoo sessions. Forte Tattoo Tech provides biodegradable one-and-done products that ensure faster decomposition without leaving behind toxins. Sales have gradually increased as more shops hop on the endeavor to manage industry waste.
The artist behind the products
The artist pioneering these natural products is engulfed in geometric art, his forearms blacked out above the wrists. Detailed designs crawl up his neck and rest on the side of his face. A hat or a pair of shades normally accompany him in photographs while he seeks out new places and experiences.
Almost a decade after opening his first Sri Yantra Tattoo studio in Oakland, CA, Forte has garnered international attention from his social media following and his high-profile clientele (which includes celebrities like Chris Hemsworth, Usher and Kat Von D). When not embroiled in his art, Forte travels the globe.
Though he pursues projects in other fine arts, including photography and tech design, this California-based tattoo artist works primarily with sacred geometry on skin. Depending on the teaching or source, many espouse sacred geometry as the genesis of all matter, or the building blocks of life. The way nature organizes itself, from flora and fauna to our human bodies, comes back to geometric patterns.
“My interest peaked after becoming initially curious about that specific design style, and then I read ‘The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life,’” says Forte. “All the pieces connected very naturally for me, and I knew this was the style of tattooing I would want to focus on. I started learning about the deeper meanings of the patterns and how it connects the universe as a whole. The rabbit hole goes pretty deep, and many of my clients understand the meaning behind sacred geometry as well. It’s design with purpose and a meaning that is personal, yet universal, with each person tattooed.”
After obtaining a tattoo apprenticeship in Northern California, Forte focused his art on the human body. “Once I started the apprenticeship, I knew I was hooked and things sort of took off from there,” says Forte. “I think in life you have to choose a path, or perhaps tattooing eventually chose me.”
If you scroll through his art displayed in a honeycomb gallery on Forte’s website, you’ll see a vast portfolio of bold geometric designs that brim with the movement of the clients’ muscles and curves. The intricacy and stylized nature of each tattoo, ranging from large elephants to mini-mandalas, makes it difficult to imagine how Forte goes about designing or tattooing the art.
“It really depends on the tattoo, but many of the more intricate designs are first ideated with the client, and then I use software to create the patterns and ultimately the final template for doing the work,” says Forte. “The design type/style really dictates how I handle the tattoo, though.”
Forte Tattoo Tech
With the degradation of the planet and the recent release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report, leaders in industries that produce significant waste have begun to ponder methods of eco-footprint reduction. Single use products overwhelm landfills and often take decades or centuries to fully decompose. Even when they do, they sully the earth with toxins. Forte Tattoo Tech’s biodegradable products offer an alternative.
“I started to really think about how the tattoo industry uses so many disposable products during the tattoo process and how it all ends up in landfills,” says Forte. “Many of those products take a really long time to break down, so I wanted to create everyday tattoo products for professionals that reduce our footprint in landfills and everywhere else. All Forte Tattoo Tech products (rinse cups, cling wrap, bottle bags, etc.) are made with natural materials and therefore break down quickly without causing harm to the soil.”
Forte Tattoo Tech’s innovative products use plant-based ingredients like hemp, sugar cane and bamboo. In time, Forte hopes to onboard as many tattoo shops as possible to aid the industry’s waste management efforts.
Forte recently opened a new gallery in Venice, showcasing his sculptures and mixed media canvas art, which also focuses heavily on geometric designs.
For more of Forte’s art and projects, you can follow him on Instagram – @dillonforte.
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