A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Jamie Hawkins

A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Jamie Hawkins

Following a dream is never an easy feat. It takes commitment and a lot of hard work to get exactly where you want to be. Jamie Hawkins knows this experience all too well. He is a professional tattoo artist and owner of Jamie’s Custom Tattoos. While his personal shop opened 14 years ago in 2008, his history in tattooing started 25 years ago. He purchased a tattoo kit and, with the help of a friend, began his journey toward becoming a professional artist. 

Though he was born in Gary, Indiana, Hawkins moved houses a lot as a kid, living in Texas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma before settling in the Porter County area for about 35 years now. He graduated from Portage High School, the same city in which he would later open his own business. 

“I had a fresh family, very young kids, and wasn't making a whole bunch of money. I really needed to figure something out,” Hawkins said. “So I worked a day job, and I bought a tattoo kit and practiced for a couple of years.”

Hawkins had to face lots of stigma in choosing this career path but made sure to stay true to who he was and follow his passion. He is no stranger to hard work and dedication, so it was a clear choice to follow this path. He did not have an easy childhood and got his first job at 11 years old. Hawkins has been working hard ever since, and finally gets to enjoy his job and do what he loves. 

“I've always worked pretty hard. So being able to tattoo now and to take it a little easy is a blessing. It really is,” Hawkins said.

Luckily, he had a good friend, Steven King, who took this journey with him so he was never alone. King is a big inspiration and is Hawkins’ “number two guy” at the shop. Hawkins and the other artists at Jamie’s Custom Tattoos specialize in many styles and types of tattoos, and they are all very talented at what they do.

Hawkins definitely has a lot of things he enjoys about his tattooing profession, but his favorite is being able to share his art with the community. Even with all his success in his career, Hawkins has managed to stay humble.

“The fact that people want my art is just beyond mind-blowing to me,” Hawkins said. “I love art. I love being able to create.”

Outside of his day-to-day work, Hawkins spends his time fishing with his brother at the Ojibwe Indian Reservation in Wisconsin. He said if he wasn’t a tattoo artist he would be a full-time fisherman. He also loves to be home since he has a painting studio where he spends lots of time creating. Hawkins refuses to limit himself to one outlet, and he believes nobody ever should.

“It doesn't have to be with a pencil, brush, or pen and ink. It could be words, your thoughts; It could be just your actions. Everybody does something special and artful in their own way, and I think that should be recognized,” Hawkins said. 

For more information about Jamie’s Custom Tattoos, like their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jamiescustomtattoos, or visit his shop at 5700 Central Ave Portage, IN 46383.