Noah’s Art Studio is a bright place, filled with light and color. Paintings line the walls and there’s an easel set up so Noah Hollis can work on canvas when he’s not doing his signature art—tattoos.
The shop is on West Main Street in Leesburg. Prior to that, he worked for years in Wildwood and owned his first studio in Lake Panasoffkee. What makes him and his wife, Janet, most proud, however, is that it’s a Christian-owned-and-operated studio without the darker elements often associated with the art of tattooing.
He had his first art lesson when he was 8 years old, and some of his first paintings hang in the shop. They share space with a collection of pieces from various artists who were featured in the show, “Ink Masters.”
“I got my first tattoo when I was 27, and my mom hated it,” Noah said. “I reminded her she was the one who introduced me to art.”
Becoming a tattoo artist takes a big commitment, and Noah takes his commitment to the vocation very seriously.
“I live and breathe art,” Noah said. “Even at home, Janet and I are always doing something artistic.”
“We collaborate, and I really like that,” Janet said. “It’s fun to be with somebody you can do that with.”
Noah is also retired from the Lake County Fire Department, where he worked for 22 years as a volunteer and paid firefighter. After being diagnosed with PTSD in January, he found it was time to move away from that work and concentrate on his art.
“My artwork was therapy for me through this whole thing,” Noah said.
Getting treatment helped him realize he wasn’t just tired or depressed. He needed to make a change, which included moving his shop to a larger space in Leesburg. Shane Boram, Janet’s son, also works at the studio.
Noah and Shane want to be sure their clients know everything they need to know before getting body art.
“One of the things we do is be very conscious about telling people to be aware of what kind of tattoo they’re getting and where they’re getting it. We sometimes talk people out of tattoos,” Noah said. “The biggest things they have to understand, especially the younger ones, if you get something on your forearm, you’ve just cut 50 percent of your jobs out.”
He went on to say the placement of the art is vital. The body is not like a piece of paper so the design won’t be flat. All the movement and shape of the body part must be considered. There’s much more to a tattoo than just the memory of a special time.
Janet added. “I have seen him turn young men away, saying I know you have a newborn baby at that house, and that baby needs diapers and formula. You do that, and if you have enough left, you come back.”
Noah smiles at his wife’s comment. “I’m real big about that,” Noah said. “I don’t like to and typically don’t ever tattoo anyone under 18, even though Florida law says they can do it at 16 with parental consent.”
The couple attends Oxford Assembly and also belongs to the Alliance of Christian Tattooers. They like to think the studio is a special place.
“It’s a mission field, but it’s what we love to do,” Noah said.
PHOTO: Fred Lopez