Iron Heart Tattoo, 2815 Beaver Avenue, Suite 108, Des Moines, IA, joshuabowers.com
Sometimes it is the tiniest detail that makes a tattoo come alive. And for Joshua Bowers, that exclamation point is often an eye. “I try to incorporate both emotion and the past into my designs,” he says. “Eyes are a good way to convey emotion.” He’s passionate about expressing himself and his clients’ wishes through tattoo art, as well as drawing the line between the needle and the paintbrush. “Art is art and tattoos are tattoos. As soon as you combine the two you allow exceptions in the craft,” he says. “I think when people feel they’re looking at art as opposed to a craft, they look at the intent of the tattooer as opposed to the outcome. We could say, ‘Oh, look at that line, it’s so expressive,’ when in fact it’s blown out and scarred. I don’t believe a good design makes a good tattoo. I believe a tattoo should have clean lines, solid fill, and should last a lifetime.” And when his own life nears a close, he is going to pick up a hammer and, with his own hands, etch a design onto his tombstone to create a piece of art that will live on past his tattoos.