A Lasting Impression: Q&A with Obray Cowan

Obray C. AKA "O" is the owner and lead artist at Dermal Dezignz. He has spent the last eight years working at 19806 S. Main Street. Cornelius, NC then took over ownership in 2015.

You can see the work of artist Obray Cowan all over town, if you’re able to spot it before it walks away.

The 27-yr-old tattoo artist and owner of Dermal Designz Tattoo and Piercing on Main St. in Cornelius has been working on locals since 2011.
While earning his degree in animation from Full Sail University in Orlando, Obray (“O”) apprenticed for a tattoo artist, and fell in love with the work and the lifestyle. Now an experienced tattoo artist with an apprentice of his own, O also maintains a portfolio of drawings and paintings. He will share with the public some of those drawings in his first exhibition, “Mind Games,” opening Friday August 17th at Old Town Public House, 21314 Catawba Avenue.

In advance of the opening, we talked with O about his art and his approach to work.

Tell us about your choice of medium – tattoo – what drew you to it?
The first thing that drew me to tattooing was the freedom. When I apprenticed for Rob, my mentor, I saw his lifestyle–he got to come to work when he wanted, leave when he wanted, and people loved him. And, he was leaving a lasting impression on someone for the rest of their life, and it was a positive impression. That really stuck with me.
As I’ve got deeper into the industry, and progressed as an artist and a person, I’m truly humbled that I can mark somebody permanently for the rest of their life, and it’s a positive impression. Tattoos are the one thing we do take to the grave with us.

With that permanence comes a lot of pressure – do you ever feel nervous making such a lasting mark?
I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t have the jitters early in my career. But now, it’s just second nature–I’m not nervous or concerned about the art. I’m more concerned about the person, if they can take the pain!

How did you choose your title for the show – why “Mind Games?”
Months ago, I was just drawing/sketching, and I named a piece “Mind Games,” and it just kind of stuck with me. A lot of my artwork is playing games with your mind. It’s very thought provoking, and I actually love that about it. You don’t have to know what it is – as long as it’s making you think and it’s evoking some type of emotion in you. That’s all I’m looking for. Understanding doesn’t really matter to me; I want to take your mind on a journey. Let’s have some fun.

More Information

View O’s Artwork
View O’s Tattoo Work
A registered Drone pilot, O also is the owner of SoHeye Productions
The exhibit "Mind Games," will be on display at Old Town Public House, 21314 Catawba Ave. August 17 - Oct 6
Meet O in person at the opening reception Friday August 17, 7:00 pm

You can see the work of artist Obray Cowan all over town, if you’re able to spot it before it walks away.

Christina Ritchie Rogers
Christina Ritchie Rogers
Christina is a local multimedia content producer and digital strategist. Formerly the editor of CorneliusNews.net, she is thrilled to work with the OTC team to once again help tell the ever-evolving Cornelius story. She lives nearby with her husband, Nate, and a small menagerie of 2- and 4-legged beasties.

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