A Look at A Twilight Tattoo

Posted July 31, 2008 in Arts & Culture

Taking time out of her busy schedule, which will undoubtedly be full of massive amounts of ink, blood and of course needles, Riverside’s own artistic ink slinger Julie Lester took time to provide an insight on the art of tattooing, and her experience working as a full time tattoo artist at A Twilight Fantasy, a Riverside-based tattoo shop which has been in business for 14 years. 


Lester, 33, has been at the shop creating her living works of art for eight years. You know, I really just fell into tattooing,” she says during a recent phone interview. “I just figured, hey, I can draw . . . maybe I can do this.”


Originally from Florida, Lester says that her family moved to Orange County in her early 20’s, and later to Los Angeles before relocated to the Inland Empire after arts school. She then got an apprentice ship at A Twilight Fantasy. “I Started out by piercing,” she explains. “As tattoo artists, I think we all need to know how to do it, but we might not all like it.”


“I got my first tattoo, when I was 16,” she continues. “It was me and my brother and, well, we made a homemade tattoo machine. Mine was messed up like all of them, but then when I turned 18, I got it covered up.” 


Speaking of her specialty in tattoo art, Lester says that—although the website showcases her colorful, majestic pieces—her particular style is different. “I’m mainly a black and gray realist. You see, the majority of the public don’t know you as a person, it’s all word of mouth when it comes to tattooing.” But that is not to say that she doesn’t enjoy different styles of art, which are an amalgam of influences. 


“I’m a huge movie fan—and I love horror movies. I love that really creepy style of tattoo.” She contemplates this, and adds, “but I’m influenced by everything really, everything you see; everything and everyone you come in contact with. 


Working at A Twilight Fantasy over the years, Lester has painted her share of emotional, personal, tragic and even humorous pieces, all of which leave a mark and form a permanent bond between tattoo artist and client. “There is a connection to every tattoo I perform, even if I don’t remember their name,” she says. 


“They are connected to me for life.” 

– Alex Distefano


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