Reputation is the cornerstone of power. It is also the key element to the success of the life of a tattoo artist. While you can read The 48 Laws of Power if you wish, any veteran of the tattoo scene would tell you that building your reputation is obviously the key to longevity in the game. This notion becomes second nature, common sense. Beyond the word-of-mouth of your satisfied customers, gaining respect within the close-knit circle of veteran tattoo artists is priceless and cannot be bought. Luke Wessman understands this better than anybody, and not only does it apply to his own niche and identity in the world of tattooing, it is relevant within the context of Luke’s life in general. A product of a rough upbringing, the concept of standing on his own two feet as a man has always been Luke’s objective, even when the odds were against him. “I was a poor white kid living in these super-organized ghetto areas in between the Latino and black neighborhoods and trying to find my identity,” Luke says regarding his formative years growing up in Oceanside, California. “Luckily I had an older brother who got into a lot of trouble with gangs, and I know it sounds bad, but he kind of showed me what not to do through his actions. It made me keep my nose clean and start working hard from a young age.” Like any adolescent boy bred in a rough neighborhood, Luke sought the respect of the streets, but he did not want to become the product of them and refused to become another tragic statistic of wasted talent.