Ink Spot: NEPA Tattoo Club’s Vinz Bonitz has an old-school style that can fit anyone
Even after 20 years, Vinz Bonitz isn’t “too cool” for any tattoo.
Bonitz didn’t realized it years ago, but an old copy of Hit Parade magazine would change his life forever – and lead him to be a tattoo mainstay in the Wyoming Valley for decades.
“I had to have been 11 or 12 years old,” said Bonitz, 40, of Pittston. “I had an old magazine with Motley Crue on the cover, and I saw that you could put pictures under people’s skin … I was hooked. I realized I had to do that for the rest of my life.”
Bonitz began his career in 1995 – during the resurgence of Ed Hardy-esque oriental style and the rise of biomech – and apprenticed under Marc (yes, the namesake!) of Marc’s Tattooing.
“I started out tattooing in this area at Marc’s for nine years,” Bonitz said. Then in 2001, I went out west to Costa Mesa, California, and started tattooing out there for a while.”
At the time of Bonitz’s West Coast expedition, he had already added more than 9,000 pieces to his portfolio.
“I couldn’t even imagine how many I have now,” he laughed.
Bonitz’s love of art doesn’t solely extend to tattooing. He dabbles in many mediums – particularly airbrush work, marker/illustration work, and graffiti. His love of graffiti is so strong, it became the namesake for his son, Graff who is now 4.
“I began with graffiti when I was about 11 years old,” Bonitz said. “The most recent piece I did was the mural on the wall of the parking lot adjacent to Movies 14” in Wilkes-Barre.
The mural – done as a collaboration with other local artists, was created near the site of the former Café Metropolis – further showcases his ability to tackle all mediums.
“I came up in an era where you were taught to tackle all requests in all styles,” he said. “If you wanted a heart, a koi, a name, barbed wire – I could handle it.”
One of the benefits of his close relationship with his fellow artists at NEPA Tattoo Club is being able to give his clients the best tattoo they can ask for.
“Myself and Alex (Miro) have 20 years a piece, and Nick (Malasto) has 15 years,” he said. “We all can tackle any art style thrown our way, but I would definitely say if I had a client come in seeking a particular piece that I simply knew Nick or Alex could handle better, I would throw it their way even if they came to me. We have top-notch, quality staff here.”
“My number one priority is seeing the client leave happy,” he said. “There is no tattoo too small – and I’m not too cool to tackle any tattoo. If you want a name or a heart, or anything, what matters is that you’re happy.”
To check out Bonitz’s work on the web, you’ll have to stick to the NEPA Tattoo Club’s website or Facebook page – Bonitz is self-proclaimed “anti-cellphone” and doesn’t maintain his own personal tattoo presence on social media pages.
“I actually choose not to photograph and publish some of my better pieces since I saw them being poorly duplicated online,” he added. “I let my clients photograph and post their pieces online, sure, but when you see someone mimic your work poorly, it’s sad.”
Bonitz is currently booking about two weeks out, and can be reached for consultation and appointments at NEPA Tattoo Club at 10 S. Main Street in Pittston at 570-299-7269.
When not at the shop, Bonitz can be found at home with his son Graff, and his stepson Travin, age 10.
“I lived the rock star tattoo life back in the ’90s,” he said. “Home is here now.”
Rachel Holly is a correspondent for Weekender. Reach Weekender at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: Vinz Bonitz, 40
Where: NEPA Tattoo Club in Pittston
How long have you been tattooing: 20 years
Signature Style: “Japanese/Asian style – but I am able to tackle anything.”
What inspires you?: “Everything I see. Even bad tattoos make me want to create.”
Most known for: Clean execution, Asian-inspired art style, experience in every medium
Follow him: On NEPA Tattoo Club’s Facebook page or website