Searching for Order in a World of Chaos 


By Jason Murray

 Born, raised and apprenticed in California somewhere between Santa Monica and Oakland, Dillon Forte has carved out a niche among the most sought-after tattoo artists in the world. As a skateboarder and hip-hop fan, his early work was heavily influenced by what he saw around him and what was happening on the streets of Venice and San Francisco. His talent spread by word of mouth, leading to more opportunities, famous clients and a spot on The Paramount Network show The Art of Ink. 

“California is a huge fusion of artists and ideas,” Forte said. 

After spending some time in LA and New York, he began combining his love of geometry with his interest in nature. Developing his sacred geometry aesthetic, he’s now moved his West Coast inspiration to Wimberley, Texas, somewhere between Austin and San Antonio. 

The area is known for parks, art studios and local swimming holes and Forte enjoys the easy access to nature as well as the two major cities and their airports. Only 45 minutes from downtown Austin, Wimberley has a classic vibe, similar to Northern California. 


“It’s like going back in time, in a cool way.” Forte said. “How ‘The Bay Area’ felt ten years ago.”

His new studio sits on 10 acres with walking trails, cabins and an art garden. The whole thing is part of a new tattoo opportunity where you arrive, spend the weekend, eat, walk, and enjoy the grounds. The appointment becomes a part of the overall curated experience. He eventually wants to host yoga, outdoor art and music retreats to create a place for art and nature to aspire and inspire. 

Forte is also building pyramids around the property to show the connection between geometry and nature. He’s also trying to understand the order behind the chaos of the universe while trying to create a sense of awe and wonder, the way many temples, churches and sculptures around the world have done. 

“I have a masochistic sense of doing things that are different,” Forte said. “I like pushing the limits of what’s possible.”

From working in a traditional-style shop to creating a landscape full of endless opportunities for inspiration and art, his ethos is rooted in the idea of dreaming big. Forte wants his work to feel like it’s almost unattainable. He wants the excitement to come from the fear of failure.

“If it doesn’t inspire fear, then it doesn’t really excite me.”

He also appreciates the good life balance that comes from having chickens and trees as part of his daily commute to work. He sees it as his own bit of harmony before taking on the world of endless possibilities. 


His passion for art started very young with encouragement from his parents. His mother wrote romance novels and his dad was a photographer, into math and astrology. This was a good place to start and expand his knowledge of symbols and the philosophy of everything having a place. He spent his youth developing and nurturing this unique view. 

He’s traveled the world looking to expand his knowledge of universal design. Sacred geometry looks at the idea of how the energy around us creates and unifies all things. We see it in everything from engineering to nature. Honeycombs, snail shells, plants and even water share unique, functional designs in their DNA. Forte sees the body as a seamless canvas where everything fits together, naturally.

His travels have led him to some of the world’s most interesting places. Tattooing at the base camp of Mount Everest, inside a pyramid in Egypt and appearances at conventions from Singapore and Nepal to Bali and London. With a constant wanderlust to seek, learn and test himself, he continues the journey to facilitate his own growth. 

Now, he and his fellow visionary artists have started their own platform to showcase their work. Co:Create Ink ( is a website where Dillon and his crew of highly sought after and recognizable tattoo artists can share, sell and promote their work to enthusiasts all over the world. Founding members Dillon Forte, Horimitsu, Curt Montgomery, David Allen, Snuffy, Victor Montaghini, Moni Marino, Cleo Kinnaman, Black Symmetry and Katrina “Kat Tat” Collins created the colab to bring their community together. They want everyone to have a chance to get a unique, one-of-a-kind digital copy of their favorite work. Or buy a flash tattoo and receive a virtual certificate of authenticity before booking a priority spot with your favorite member. 

“Co:Create Ink is a direct-to-consumer marketplace,” Forte said. “People can pick their design, own it, then book an appointment.” 

The platform also acts as a space for these artists to get paid for streaming or selling their work and time, outside of the chair. This could be paintings, photos, signed prints or special edition items. This also offers an easy way to set up appearances and retreats like the one in Wimberley. It also helps bring the tattoo community together to one place to start to recognize the culture and their work as modern fine art. 

Not that Dillon doesn’t have enough going on answering DMs from Usher, Kat Von D and Chris Hemsworth. He’s been featured all over the media for his commitment to trying to make products in the industry more sustainable. ( 

From clip cord sleeves to ink caps to eco razors, Forte is doing his best to take plastic out of the experience with more natural and biodegradable products. He’s even designed a direct drive tattoo machine with Austin-based multidisciplinary artist Andrea De Leon. 

“My goal is to turn competition into collaboration then connection.”

With all of this going on, Forte seems to have an eye on the future of the art form. His ambition seems to only be in competition with his vision of where the industry, the art form and collaborations go next. The beginning of connecting the tradition of tattooing from the beginning of time to the post-Covid era seems like the right idea. We probably all need a reason to fly to Wimberley, Texas for a retreat. Go for a walk and take a swim, take it all in and get a tattoo from Dillon Forte while you’re there.

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