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“Lose the illusion of separation” With Jason Hartman & Dillon Forte

I feel that what the world needs most is to lose the illusion of separation. I am you, as you are me. To be kind to others is to be kind to oneself. As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dillon Forte. World-renowned […]

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I feel that what the world needs most is to lose the illusion of separation. I am you, as you are me. To be kind to others is to be kind to oneself.


As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dillon Forte.

World-renowned artist, Dillon Forte, is recognized primarily for his contemporary style of Sacred Geometry in tattooing. world traveler and California native, born February 1987, Forte has since dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in his craft. He believes in viewing the body as a whole, and creates harmonious designs to flow seamlessly with the skin. His projects include fine art photography, painting, fashion and tech design. Forte has been featured in various magazines, books, editorials, and art exhibitions worldwide. Please follow his social media for current updates.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Ihad been drawing and painting for most of my youth. Tattooing felt like the natural next step for me creatively. I’m not a very conventional guy, so I knew a conventional career wouldn’t be my path.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

In 2010 I was living in a warehouse in East Oakland. The day before I had planned to move to Los Angeles my warehouse was broken into and all of my tattoo machines/money/valuables were stolen. I decided to move anyways. I had $20 to my name and slept on my friend’s floor for weeks as I tried to save for my own place. $5 Little Caesars pizzas and the hospitality of my friends are what kept me alive.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Honestly it was just survival. I needed a roof over my head and food to keep me going. Failure wasn’t an option.

So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

I feel very fortunate that life has allowed me so many blessings. I have two shops, a client waiting list, and a beautiful family. None of it would have been possible if I had given up at my lowest.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Nothing I can remember, but I know I’ve made a few along the way. But I do feel that I have improved tremendously as an artist over the last 13 years. It’s more so been a process of refinement for me. Learning the most efficient ways to apply stencils and which techniques make my designs stand out.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think Sri Yantra Tattoo stands out because all of our artists are specialists in their own unique and niche styles. Each design is created specifically for every client and is never replicated. We refuse to tattoo another artist designs and uphold a standard of excellence found in few shops.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not burn out?

My advice would be to never stop trying to improve your craft and to be vigilant about promoting yourself. Social media has been a great tool for reaching new clients and connecting with other artists in the community.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I’m forever grateful for the unconditional love and support of my parents. They’ve always respected my choices and never tried to place doubt onto me for wanting to be a professional artist.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I actually started and eco tattoo supply company projected to launch in early 2020! It’s our mission to reduce the plastic waste accumulated by the tattoo community. Because of modern sterility practices, each step of the tattoo process is single-use. So making biodegradable alternatives to these products are essential.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Keep good company. It’s important to have trust in your employees. I have two shops, one in Oakland and one in Venice, CA. I primarily work out of our Venice location and travel often, so having people in my corner with the shops best interest at hand is paramount. I trust my artists to keep everything pristine while I’m away.
  2. The Law of Attraction is real. What you think about you bring about. Having a positive mental attitude is key. Don’t lose sight of your goals.
  3. Don’t become complacent. Keep practicing. Keep networking. Going to conventions is a great way to meet other artists while also advertising yourself. Few things happen overnight.
  4. You are your worst critic. Every artist has self doubt. Don’t let the voice telling you that you’re not good enough to keep you from achieving your goals. Use that voice to push you and grow.
  5. Always make sure your client signs a consent form. Communicating clear expectations is valuable in and outside of business. Sometimes I encounter clients who don’t have a realistic idea of how much time an intricate tattoo will take. I always make sure to let them know that booking a full day doesn’t always mean leaving with a finished tattoo.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I feel that what the world needs most is to lose the illusion of separation. I am you, as you are me. To be kind to others is to be kind to oneself.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow me on instagram @dillonforte

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