Ink Talk: Designer, Eric Liwski

At Context, we have always appreciated the tattoo artistry and culture. That very appreciation translated to our Ink and Skin line and more recently, our Micro Context line. To some of our team members this love for the ink runs skin deep. One of the latest additions to our design team, Eric Liwski, sports some great artwork on his body. We got a chance to sit down with him and talk about his ink; see what he had to say:

Why tattoo your body?

It’s permanent and it’s mine. I’ve always appreciated this type of art along with street art before I became a designer. The colors, the linework, the variation in style and the attitude it carried always interested me. There was never time in my youth that I can remember when I didn’t want a tattoo. I never associated it with the old-school train of thought which is basically “people with tattoos are naughty people.” There’s a lot of honesty in tattoos which is something I admire. I am actually more wary of people who scorn tattoos than those who at least accept them or have them.

What about the design makes it special?

The Kings on my side are to tell a story and celebrate a moment. When I was 19 my friend invited me to an Indian Casino in the middle of nowhere. It sounded like an adventure and I had only been to a casino to play poker once before, although I had been playing since I was 14 when my group of friends used to smoke swisher sweets and play for nickels during out sleepovers. It was him, his girlfriend, and myself taking an hour and a half trip with half a headlight working on his car navigating the back roads of inland San Diego to Barrona Casino. The car ride was sketchy to say the least.

 We arrived and immediately jumped into the tables, a $40 or $50 buy-in. I was up and down the first hour until I went all in with a pair of 8’s. Two others followed and I hit a set. I tripled up and was feeling good. Just a few hands after I looked down at pocket Kings, diamonds and clubs. There was re-raising before the flop when I hit a set of Kings. More re-raising between me and three others. The turn came and it was the fourth King. I had to settle myself down when some raised all-in and naturally I called. So did the other two players. Everybody showed and we all had high hands; Aces full of Kings, and two Ace-high straights but I was at the top with four Kings. A final Jack came on the river and the dealer was pushing the chips my way when a guy with a straight yells, “Wait, wait, I have a Royal Flush!” My face must have gone from smile to frown so fast I could have broken teeth. They had to check the cameras to make sure but, yes, he had made the impossible Royal Flush to beat my four Kings. I was about to walk out and wait for Matt when someone said, “Congratulations!”

Turns out that when you suffer such an impossible loss at a casino they have what’s called a bad-beat jackpot for scenarios just like this. I won 50% of a $5800 pot, the guy who won the hand earned 25% and the rest of the table split the remainder between every other player involved in the hand. I threw the dealer $300, everybody at the table $25, cashed in my chips, grabbed Matt, gave him $100 and insisted we GTFO now. The other tattoos have stories but nothing as good as that.

Why choose this artist?

I only had one friend that was interested in getting tattoos and he had gotten a large side piece that inspired me to do one on my side as well. He had gotten a recommendation to an artist in Costa Mesa. I basically just tagged along, looked at his portfolio to make sure he wasn’t a scrub, said alright let’s do it and made an appointment for a month later. By then he had moved to a better shop in Huntington Beach and has ended up doing all my black and white work.