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Movers and Shakers Interview with Dillon Forte

Dillon Kivo

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Dillon Forte

Tell us your name and a little about yourself. 

My name is Dillon Forte and I am an artist, business owner, and photographer. I have been tattooing for almost 13 years now and got started really young after developing a passion for art and working through an apprenticeship. I am originally from Southern California but spent a majority of my early life and initial years tattooing full-time in Oakland. I would say I’m best known for my sacred geometry style of design and I also do a lot of black and dot work tattooing. 

I own two tattoo studios in Oakland and Venice and have a great team of other artists and partners that I work with for my studio, canvas art, sculptures and my soon to be released a line of eco-friendly tattoo products. I love to stay busy, but equally, enjoy travelling the world to gather inspiration and keep a nice balance. 

 

What exactly does your company do?

Both of my tattoo studios are named Sri Yantra Tattoo and we are located in Oakland and Venice, California. We are fortunate to have a handful of top industry tattoo artists on staff, and including myself take long lead appointments to tattoo clients from around the globe. All of our artists have a long waiting list and our clients tend to find us via referrals, social media and by seeking out sacred geometry tattoo work.

My eco tattoo supply company, called “Forte” is projected to launch in the next few months. It’s our mission to reduce plastic waste accumulated by the tattoo community.

 

What were the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

I would say the biggest challenge I (and maybe everyone else) faces is self-doubt. I believe in manifestation, and I truly feel that what you think about you bring about. So I am aware of these thoughts and believe keeping a positive mental attitude is key to success.

It is absolutely normal to carry fear and self-doubt, but the key for any entrepreneur is to accept the thought as real, let it quickly pass and push forward. Manifesting reality takes work but is really a state of mind that you stay mindful of daily. Some additional ways I overcome these fears is through meditation, yoga, taking leaps of faith and constant learning by following spiritual and business thought leaders online and at their yearly events. 

 

What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?

Invest in Bitcoin (hah!). Sometimes hindsight is 20/20 but I really had a great mentor through my apprenticeship and learned a ton about what to and not to do in tattooing. There are things about marketing and social media that I wish I studied up on earlier in my career as well. I would say, that when I first starting tattooing I wasn’t doing sacred geometry art and I wish someone pushed me sooner to immediately follow my passion and work only in my niche. Thankfully, it all came together in my early 20’s so I had plenty of time to learn. 

 

Who are your biggest influences and people you admire and why?

I specialize in Sacred Geometry tattooing, so naturally, I’d have to say my biggest influences are Plato and Pathagoras. Much of the inspiration I pull from is art, literature and spiritual practices that go back hundreds or thousands of years, so I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, but more so bring together something that holds our entire universe together. Some may say Sacred Geometry designs have become more mainstream as of late, but through my eyes, it is everywhere, always has been and always will be. 

 

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?

I’m eternally grateful to my parents. They have been supportive of me every step of the way and always encouraged me to express myself creatively. For those fortunate to have great parents to route you along the way, listen closely and take in all that wisdom. Many try to do the opposite of the parents, which sometimes is necessary, but I always say there are bits of wisdom to pick up along the way. For those without close parental relationships, I would say seek out mentors and directly ask them for help. You’d be surprised who will, as 99% of people simply never ask for guidance. 

 

What do you see as your greatest success in life?

My greatest success in life is my son Enso. Everything else is part of the journey, but family is everything and the passion for making your business thrive grows exponentially when you have children watching your every move. As far as business goes, having two studios and a lifestyle designed to allow my world travels is a true definition of “career success”. No 8-5 ways of life, just living in the moment 24/7. 

 

How can people follow your journey? Please list your social media URLs 

The best place to keep up with me is on Instagram @dillonforte. My website and portfolio can be found at http://dillonforte.com/

 

Founder & Editor-In-Chief of Kivo Daily Magazine

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