We had the good fortune of connecting with James Lafleur and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi James, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Like most people; I’ve worked plenty of jobs I didn’t care about just to make the bills and keep my car, my house, and the lights on. I’ve spent time in the US military, I flew R44 helicopters and earned my CFII license, I completed a NASA soldering course as well as earned a degree in Avionics and worked on Blackhawk medical helicopters. One day whilst sitting at my desk at Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, I had an epiphany that I should tattoo. Tattooing found me. I’ve drawn my entire life and somehow knew this is something I should pursue. I then stumbled upon a Ted Talks that made a lot of sense to me. A guest speaker on Ted Talks said: ‘quit your job and find your work.’ That little phrase stuck with me and I took a huge leap of faith and began an apprenticeship tattooing. I love art and tattooing because it connects people- it connects stories, memories and loved ones. Tattooing, I knew I would have to accept a drastic cut in pay, and I was okay with that because there were other rewards… I viewed monetary gain as simply a reward for doing a job position. In tattooing and drawing art, the true joy and reward is right after the tattoo is complete and the client sees their tattoo in the mirror for the first time! That reaction is beautiful and only captured for one moment in time. Tattooing right now isn’t paying my bills but I hope and think it will eventually. I tell people, if you hear a voice or have an epiphany or ‘aha moment’ don’t ignore it. Do not ignore it… put all doubt aside and follow your dreams. Somehow you will find the universe helps you and pushes you along the way.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I believe what sets my art apart is simply that it’s from within. Beauty in art is subjective- one might look at my art and hate it; whilst another person sitting next to them might see something beautiful and connect with it. I find beauty in genuine authenticity, much like nature. In art you have no choice. I try to capture what I’m feeling in a moment because I know somewhere out there someone is feeling the same way- and much like a concert, that is simply human connection. I remember watching a volleyball game and my wife turns to me and says: ‘it’s not about the ball.’ That insight is very profound. A good question is: why is there a such thing as art at all? That answer is only found within ones self.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d have to say hiking! I absolutely love being outdoors and in the vast beauty provided to us. Hiking is not just walking around on a trail… Hiking poses questions to each individual and I believe helps us all find our place in the stars. A man once said you can learn a lot by simply watching a waterfall. Of course after hiking, I would have to hit up my favorite local restaurant: ‘Aroma Do Brazil’ which used to be a food truck, and now a very successful small family run restaurant!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to Iasmin! Definitely my amazing wife; Iasmin. She has been with me through very hard times and never stopped believing in my dream and helped push me to pursue my passions. I have a lot of respect for my wife. She is originally from Brazil and sold everything for a one way ticket to the US to follow her dreams and passion of running her own business in health and wellness to reach out and improve lives on our tiny planet. Listening to her story and seeing her face obstacles head on with a heart full of faith has really inspired me; and continues to inspire me each day. Choosing the “right” partner in your life is one of the most important choices- arguably the most important choice we make in life. I truly feel blessed and maybe a tad lucky to share life with such an amazing and inspiring human being.
Other: Thank you!