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Industry Ink: Lee Foral



Lee Foral considers his tattoos “bookmarks in time.” By looking at a particular tat, “I know where I was (in my life) at the time,” the 41-year-old bartender at the new Graze in North Loop says. 

The Gothic lettering “HOME” on one set of knuckles and “SICK” on the other spells out what he was feeling when he was constantly on the road, playing bass, with his heavy metal band, After the Burial. The 12 years of touring ended once he became a dad. 

He says he’s more interested in the aesthetics of a tattoo than having one central theme. But significance is important, such as flowers on the back of his hands—an iris for his mom’s favorite flower and a rose for his father’s.  A Japanese maple leaf is a memory of the tree in his front yard when he was growing up. The red star next to it, however, has no significance, he says dismissively. He got it when he was 21 and then built around it with more creative designs. 

He’s not a Buddhist, but much of his arms are covered in Asian art, such as a dragon twisting from his wrist up his bicep to his triceps. A couple of faces of a Daruma doll, modeled after the monk who founded the Zen tradition of Buddhism, peek around the dragon parts. On his other arm, the face of a geisha hides under his black T-shirt sleeve. A pheasant, the state bird of South Dakota is part of the Asian art because it’s really a Chinese bird, he explains. 

He had “patience” tattooed on his arm because a friend kept telling him he didn’t have patience. “It’s my spiteful tattoo, “ he says, grinning. 

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