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Monday, Jan 30, 2023
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Making His Mark In NoHo

You might have caught him on Oxygen’s “Best Ink” – or perhaps you’re one of his 500,000 Instagram and Twitter followers. Either way, tattoo artist Romeo Lacoste has quickly established a reputation in Southern California for his designs – not to mention his celebrity clientele. Now, Lacoste is taking the leap from tattoo artist to business entrepreneur with the opening this month of California Dream, a tattoo parlor in a North Hollywood shopping center. “I try to put my own personality, look and overall attitude into my tattoos and into my studio. I worked at a shop in Culver City and a shop in Woodland Hills, but I wasn’t too happy with how the shops were aesthetically,” said Lacoste, 26, a North Hollywood resident. “I have set up my shop to try to provide an overall good experience.” Drawings of cartoon characters including Pokémon, Dragon Ball Z and an excess of skulls and skeletons, decorate the walls of the 1,000-square-foot shop – along with samples of his original designs. In the left corner is a lounge area with white modern benches and a glass table housing complimentary hookah and refreshments. The Canadian native has seen his career explode since coming to Los Angeles just two years ago. Already, he has a reputation for his designs found on young celebrities, including Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. He got his start in Los Angeles when YouTube celebrity Sam Pottorff, an 19-year-old comedian with nearly 3 million subscribers, contacted him for a tattoo. After posting photos of his tattoo on social media, Lacoste’s social media following shot up exponentially. “My followers skyrocketed and in one month I gained more than 100,000 followers,” he said. Lacoste declined to say how much he invested to open the shop, but said he plans to hire two more tattoo artists in the near future, having already installed two additional chairs and work stations. Signs of his popularity were evident during the March 5 grand opening of his 13131 Sherman Way parlor, despite a concentration of tattoo parlors in the neighborhood. Dozens of young adults gathered, including David Scarzone, an 18-year-old local recording artist and former member of boy band IM5. He said Lacoste saved his shoulder from permanent shame. “I have a tattoo on my left shoulder that I was like, ‘this sucks,’” Scarzone said. “So when I got to L.A., I asked Romeo to fix it for me and 30 minutes later I had a beautiful masterpiece.” By last year, Lacoste’s reputation got him a slot on the second season of Oxygen’s “Best Ink.” He made it through eight of the 12 episodes, which pitted tattoos artists against each other. “I think that being on the show gave me a lot of credibility,” Lacoste said. “A lot of people watched the show and when they saw me tattooing their favorite artists it helped tie in everything and gave my name so much more credibility.” – Champaign Williams

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