In this episode, I spoke to my long-time friend, globally acclaimed tattoo artist, and painter Mark Longenecker. Mark is a fellow native of New Jersey and like me spent much of his younger years surfing at the beaches of the Jersey Shore and skateboarding in the streets and on backyard ramps in the burbs.
Mark studied Graphic Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design and is perhaps best known as a competitor in the national television show Ink Master. Longenecker made it to the Top four out of 18 artists and was recognized for his will to fight and never give up.
Mark made his way to the warm waves and free spirit of Key West, Florida where he honed his artistic skills and worked as a graphic designer, designing logos and other artwork for the local businesses, as well as Jimmy Buffett’s recording studio. His style took on a tropical island vibe that he now calls “tropistyle.”
Mark began adorning himself with tattoos and designing them for friends, eventually leading him to Goldie’s Tattoo, where he embarked on an apprenticeship that would change his life. Mark’s dedication and talent took him on a journey across the vibrant Florida art scene, from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale.
Settling in Cocoa Beach in 2004, he fulfilled his dream of opening Endless Summer Tattoo, a beachfront studio that feels like a fusion of a Tiki Bar, Surf Shop, and Skateboarding Museum. Beyond his art, Mark is a community icon and renaissance man. He generously gives his time and creativity to local charity events and fundraisers and also is recognized for spinning music as a DJ and teaching Yoga to Cocoa Beach locals.
In our candid conversation, Mark talks about his relentless work ethic that artists need to thrive, the eventual impact of AI on creative professions, and the incredible journey that has defined his path as an artist. Jay Alders and Mark also talked about some “pinch me moments” and what it’s like to “make it” as an artist.
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