Thu, Jul 9, 2020

February 05, 2018 | NORTHWEST LEAF

Tattoos that toke. By Nate Williams. Photos by Daniel Berman.


Cannabis has been taboo for about as long as tattoos have, and we searched low and high to find unique expressions of love for this plant. We found some amazing examples and interviewed a tattoo artist who relies on the plant to continue his craft.






The Northeast Portland shop was founded in 2009 and moved to its current home on Broadway a year later. O’malley said he has been growing for personal use since the early 2000s and uses Cannabis topicals regularly to combat carpal tunnel and the stress on his hands and fingers from his work. When not tattooing or tending to his garden, Linus spends time with his girlfriend and four dogs.

How long have you been consuming Cannabis and how long have you been in the tattoo industry?

I have been tattooing since 2003. I have used Cannabis since I was 17 or 18 years old, so almost 20 years now. 

What is your favorite method of consumption?

I’m pretty old fashion and still prefer to smoke a joint.

Have you been asked to tattoo the plant more frequently since legalization? 

I wouldn’t say more frequently, but I would say that most people who are getting Cannabis-related tattoos aren’t too concerned with hiding them. 

How would you feel about a patron consuming Cannabis before being tattooed?

I don’t mind if people use Cannabis before getting tattooed. My advice is to know your own body, clearly stay within your tolerance and maybe plan accordingly to select something that’s going to set your mood right. 

I understand you have been growing your own cannabis?

It is a nice little Zen hobby to get away from the chaos of the tattoo shop. I have just a little garden that I run a no-till, living soil set up, so it’s all 100 percent organic and I know what’s being put into it. I work in an instant gratification driven industry so it’s nice to have something to keep me grounded and remind me to be patient. 

Who are some other artists that inspire you?

I’m inspired by a lot of different artists. Robert Crumb, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Bert Grimm, Percy Waters are big visual inspirations. Nina Simone, Duke Ellington are always on my musical rotation. The energy from real Jazz music is super inspiring for me.