Jaleel Hallmon Owens, is only 26 years old but he’s already made a name for himself as a premiere tattoo artist to the stars. The Memphis native now resides in Atlanta, Georgia and has earned the name CelebInk for his work on stars including Rich Homie Quan, R&B singer Vedo and professional tennis player Jamere Jenkins.
Owens currently manages Campcreek Body Art Tattoo& Removal, in Atlanta. We recently caught up with him for an exclusive interview, where he discusses his plans to expand, celeb clients and so much more.
HHW: Saw a dope photo with you and our guy Rich Homie Quan.
CELEBINK: I actually did some work with him, I did the tattoos on his face and hands that went viral on Instagram. I painted murals for him, I did three or four paintings that he has at his house now. I met alot of people doing this.
HHW: You’re still a very young guy but you’ve already worked with some pretty big names. Is there a difference in doing art for a regular person versus a celebrity?
CELEBINK: The only thing I can say is celebrities look for the work to be free. They don’t respect the artwork as being art. You know what I’m saying? The every day customers come in humble and ready to pay, but one thing I can say is Rich Homie respects the art and pays.
HHW: So sometimes the people who have the money don’t expect to pay, why do you think that is?
CELEBINK: Their celeb status. A lot of things are free to them now, so they expect everything to be free. They think promo is payment for us, sometimes it helps but it can’t pay bills. Most, no all of the time, we want the money.
HHW: You’ve built your clientele and made a name for yourself, what does the next level look like?
CELEBINK: Right now I’m looking at opening up my own shop in California. I want to get a dope studio somewhere and expand the brand from there. I really want to start hitting these tattoo conventions and shutting them down. There’s a lot I want to do, I just see myself getting better and better.
HHW: Why leave ATL where you’ve built a reputation and start over in Cali?
CELEBINK: The plan was to build a brand in Atlanta and then expand. Atlanta is the Black Hollywood and I love it, I want to grow in a bigger market.
HHW: Black ownership is a huge deal nowadays. Why is it so important to you personally to become a black business owner?
CELEBINK: Because I want to leave wealth to my children’s children. My pops left when I was young, so I didn’t have a father figure until my step pops came into my life. I have a one year old daughter that turns two on August 29th, and I want to have something setup for her. I’ve always been an entrepreneur, I’m just trying to leave wealth for my people.
HHW: Did becoming a father intensify your hustle?
CELEBINK: Definitely. It got the ball rolling faster, nobody’s ever really ready to be a parent but when the time comes you gotta step up and do it. Being a father gave me something to wake up for every day.
HHW: Do you think the tattoo game is becoming oversaturated now?
CELEBINK: It’s kinda watered down now because of the energy they’re putting on TV. It’s showing more of the artist’s life than the artwork and people don’t take it as serious now. More of the drama is being portrayed now.
HHW: What advice would you give to a kid out there hoping to become a tattoo artist?
CELEBINK: Don’t let nobody tell you no. Ask. Ask whatever you want to know, but be humble and listen. Take notes like the old school days, with pen and paper. Really figure this thing out, and practice. That’s with anything you want to do, you’ve got a practice to become good. But be humble and you’ll win every time.