Tucked away off Route 309 in Mountain Top, Whitey Ellis is hard at work crafting his latest custom tattoo design.
Ellis, born in Southern California but raised in Harveys Lake, has been tattooing for nearly four years, but he’s been creating for as long as he can remember.
“I’ve always been an artist,” Ellis said. “There came a point when all of my friends were getting tattoos, and many of them doing them. My dad sat me down and told me that he felt I could be better and do better work. I owe a lot of this to him.”
Ellis’ tattoo portfolio reaches far and wide – he loves to try various styles of artwork and likes to combine styles to create pieces uniquely his own.
“I have a huge love for script and lettering,” Ellis said. “But everything I do, I create it not to conform to one specific style. I like to challenge myself. Some of my favorite things to draw and study are trees. Once you understand the why and how – the anatomy of the tree – you can’t mess it up. It’s organic.”
Ellis joined the team at Dave’s Originals in August, carving out his own spot in a well-known and well-loved shop, known for its unique and custom artistry. Along with some of the team from Dave’s, Ellis will travel to Niagara Falls this summer to participate in the Niagara Tattoo Expo from Aug. 5 to 7.
When he’s not behind the needle, Ellis’ artistry falls into many other categories.
He recently completed a mural for Venomous CrossFit in Luzerne, tackling the medium of spray-can graffiti for the first time. In addition to the traditional mediums of artistry, Ellis also delves into another realm of creativity: music.
Ellis is an accomplished musician, performing as a professional bagpiper in the Ceol Mor Pipe and Drum Band of Luzerne County, as well as a drummer in the rock and roll band, Shaky DeVille, and Irish-rock band Pie Eyed Preachers.
“Music is my other passion,” he said. “I love to get behind the drum kit and play.”
When not tattooing at Dave’s Originals, Ellis can be found touring the greater Philadelphia region with one of his musical acts or at home with his fiancée, Krista.
Rachel Holly is a correspondent for Weekender. Reach Weekender at [email protected]
Who: Whitey Ellis, 26
Where: Dave’s Originals Tattoos, Mountain Top
How long have you been tattooing: Four years in March
Signature Style: “Anything and everything.”
What inspires you?: “Everything really, including other artwork.”
Most known for: Innovative designs, clean script and lettering, ability to combine art styles
Follow him: On Instagram @whiteyellis_tattoos