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Jackson 20 Chef de Cuisine Brian Turowski on Getting a Tattoo From a Guy Named Dirty

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Welcome back to Ink Spotted, a feature in which Eater talks to DC's tattooed chefs and gets the stories behind their most intriguing ink.

[Photos: Nevin Martell]

Would you allow yourself to be repeatedly stabbed with a needle by a beer swilling first-time tattoo artist named Dirty? If you’re Jackson 20’s chef de cuisine Brian Turowski, you would. And it would turn out far better than the ominous set-up implies.

A few years ago, Turowski was working at the Evening Star Café with a chef that everyone simply called Dirty. One weekend, the two chefs were hanging out, drinking brews. Dirty pulled out a used tattoo kit he had bought from a friend and nonchalantly began to ink a weeping willow on his knee. It was only the second piece he’d ever done; the other was of an eagle feather that adorned his arm.

As Turowski watched the amateur artist work, he couldn’t stop thinking about a picture of Calvin from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes that he had once sketched his senior year of high school. He brought up the idea with Dirty, who said he could give him the tat, no problem.

“He did it all freehand; no stencil,” says Turowski. “I was a little nervous, but once he started, I couldn’t tell him to stop or else I would have ended up with a tattoo of a line and a shoe.” As Dirty filled out the piece, Turowski began to relax and asked the newbie needler to customize the piece a bit. “I had him color outside the lines, so it looked like a kid had done it,” he says. “I had him change Calvin’s eyes to blue to match mine.”

Dirty ended up moving out of town suddenly after that and Turowski hasn’t even talked to him since then: “If I ever do see him again, I’m going to ask him to add Hobbes.”

—Nevin Martell

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Evening Star Cafe

2000 Mount Vernon Avenue, , VA 22301 (703) 549-5051 Visit Website

Jackson 20

480 King Street, , VA 22314 (703) 549-6080 Visit Website