About the artist and his collections

Since November of 1998, Denis has continued to grow and develop as an artist.

“I don’t ever get tired of the art side of things since it is always evolving,” he said, reflecting back on his early tattooing experiences. “I remember the first tattoo I ever did was with a pin and India ink in my parents garage for a 12-pack. Guess some things have changed a bit along the way.”

The plan was never to become a full-time artist. Tattooing was a means of saving enough cash to go to college to become an architect.

But we all know plans change (life has a funny way of doing that time and time again).

“That life brought me into a completely different direction and I was submerged into a lifestyle of art, creativity and a whole lot of fucking fun!” 

He is no stranger to the pitfalls of starting a new business here in the north.  After opening Live Once Tattoo in 2006, 4 short years later North Bay condemned the building that housed the business and half the staff left.  So pushing forward, remaining diligent, Live Once had no choice but to downsize, eventually becoming a private studio.  Now, with no employees, Denis was free to worry solely about the “next step” as he referred to it.  “I was always worried about how to make sure everyone else was doing well and how to rebuild the studio to the heights of earlier days, that I forgot that my ambitions, goals, hard work and self investment was what got me to where I used to be.  So I decided to work harder than ever and focused on my dream of creating a tattoo studio with so much more... a place to entertain as well as work.  That idea became Five City.  Canada’s first tattoo bar!!”

The immense amount of work to get Five City open and operating was a constant uphill battle.  That battle became a death sentence.  A “world wide scamdemic happened” as he blatantly put it.  “After dealing with a ton of obstacles trying to create something different here in my home town with numerous attacks, we pushed forward and were creating something different here in the Valley.  Who would have known that our brilliant government would be the one to destroy everything we worked for the past 2 years.”

After dealing with a corrupt landlord and government system, the next few months became very dark.  He lost his business, his home, and part of his soul. “I think like many people, we were definitely blind-sided.  But what really hurts, is how the media keeps saying ‘we are all in this together’.  We definitely ARE NOT!!”  He exclaimed.  “I’ve been down before, but never this low.  So i had to think up different ideas.  That’s why I created Live1nce.  A revamp and addition to an old idea.  I will be getting back to work to hopefully make some money online by selling tshirts and eventually other gear.  The Live1nce collection is funny.  I use my signature chin tattoo on various retro and classic recognizable, iconic images.  It’s fun for me and it’s meaningful.  The term ‘live once’ has remained true, just because I’m down doesn’t mean I’m out yet. Hopefully people understand the fight behind the brand. It will also feature other artwork in the future. As for the Live Once Tattoo collection, the many regulars I’ve had throughout the years always ask if I have shirts or hats.  This will be the start to being able to provide that for them.  Then there is the Rebel Canada line” he says while chuckling.  “I’ve always been non trusting in our government, but the culmination of everything the past two years has lead to this collection.  If you are a Liberal, you definitely will not like it!” As he continues laughing.  “I actually try to see the other side of the coin, but things nowadays are definitely out of hand.  The art on these shirts express the disdain and contempt I have for how things are being run all over Canada.  The crystal clear divides that media are pushing and making all of us fight with one another instead of them... it’s my way of rebelling peacefully.  Hence, it’s time to rebel Canada!”

When asked, what the future will hold Denis simply stated “more work, I’m sure”.  

Tattoo Pricing and Booking

Quite a lot of work can get done in an hour, but more importantly the artist produces top quality work you will be proud to wear for life. The cost is part of the Gold Standard you receive when you visit the Private Studio.

In order to book, you can write to

Please include the tattoo idea, the area of coverage, the style of preferred tattooing, and if there are any coverups involved, include clear pictures of what needs to be covered.  

A face to face consultation is required before booking to discuss the piece, measure the area and fill out a comprehension form.  A non-refundable $500 deposit is payable at the end of any consultation before booking to secure the dates involved in the tattoo process.  Please bring your work schedule to cross reference my schedule.

Tattooing times vary based on the style, the level of detail, the skill required for the piece, the overall size, how well the customer sits and how well the skin takes the ink.  A maximum time quote will be given after measurements are taken and piece is discussed.

Want to know more about the person behind the collections and tattooing?

What is your most treasured possession?

A: My beard! This fucker ain’t never comin’ off!... Also my dogs, Timmy & Parker-Gem lol!

If you're going to “splurge,” what would you go buy?

A: This question reminded of a time when I went out to Calgary to do a convention and I bought 500 shooters as a round at the bar. The bartender asked if I meant $500 worth of shooters as I replied, “Did I stutter?!” I tend to splurge often — sometimes on stupid things, and often on things I enjoy. Either way, you can’t take money to the grave.

What's the best part of what you do, professionally?

A: I get to meet a lot of different people from various walks of life who give advice, ask for advice, tell amusing stories and jokes, and most of all allow me to be creative.

One thing about yourself no one else knows?

A: Anyone who knows me pretty much knows everything about me. I’m kind of an open book

Favourite drink?

A: Double Jack Honey and water 🤘🏻

What sets you apart from the rest?

A: There are many things, but none more important than giving a more hands-on approach to the tattooing process to ensure the best quality tattoo I can do from the beginning to the end. From one-on-one consults, measurements and the actual booking, I feel that customers don’t feel like they are just another number. I don’t answer phone calls ever in the middle of the tattoo, there are no customers in and out, and it’s more of a personal visit instead of a business transaction.

Black and Grey vs. Colour New School?

A: Very very difficult question to answer. I love tattooing in both styles, but I find colour far more striking. When a customer sits down and we discuss the piece and subject matter, I will suggest one or the other based on their ideas.  Starting this year, any customer willing to let me tattoo Marvel comics stuff in any style of my choosing will save $50 an hour.  I love comic art and not being hindered to a style.... so i figure Marvel fans will like that!

If you could be on Ink Master, what would you tell David Navarro?

A: I’m gonna be the new host of Guitar Master on TLC and then ask him what he thinks about that!