Mason since 2004
by Laura Normand
Brother Zulu learned how to tattoo as a hobby, at the request of
friends who admired his artwork. “I went into it like grandma
takes watercolor classes down at the Y,” he says. Today, the
waitlist for a tattoo at his Los Angeles shop is as long as a year,
and includes numerous celebrities.
What sets him apart? Zulu has a few rules. His tattoos should
mean something. He won’t do any gang or hate-related marks.
And he insists on getting to know his clients first. This takes
time – four to 12 months of consultation. The result is rare in the
industry: a custom-designed tattoo with deep personal meaning.
Today, Zulu sees many similarities between learning the ancient art of tattooing and going through the Masonic degrees.
He didn’t know about Masonry, though, until a few clients
asked for tattoos of Masonic symbols. When he researched the
fraternity, something clicked. Now, he’s a past master of North
Hollywood Lodge No. 542.
In his own words:
Masonry teaches a lot of things that I see missing in the
world – honor and chivalry and morality. Before, I would
bring these things up and people would look at me like I was
crazy. But there was one group of guys who understood, and
that was the Masons.
I live in a carnival world, full of musicians,
fire-eaters, and belly dancers. I feel fortunate
that my life is rich in culture, but the rest of
the world doesn’t always understand us. I
used to have a problem with that. Joining
the lodge helped. Now I try to come at those
people from a place of education. I take out
the trowel and start building bridges.
FAVORITE MASONIC MOMENTS:
I meet lots of kids with tattoos who don’t
think they can be Masons because of how
they look – until they see me. One guy in
London was scared to death because he has
two full [tattoo] sleeves. I convinced him to
join, and now he’s senior deacon.