“The rose is the most iconic tattoo on the face of the planet,” says tattooer Daniel Winter, aka Winter Stone. “If you’re a tattoo lover, you will eventually have a rose on your body.”
It’s a design the Los Angeles-based artist has etched on his clients countless times, from delicate thorn-covered blooms wrapped around fingers and collarbones to the now-iconic long-stemmed flower climbing up Lady Gaga’s spine that peeked out from her Alexander McQueen gown at the 2019 Oscars. “She wanted to make a statement,” says Winter, who also inked the star and her friend with matching tattoos that spelled the word “Gaga” in musical notes that same day.
But long before Winter’s deft hand and keen eye for the tiniest of details caught the Oscar winner’s eye, the tattooer had already racked up a sizable following in Hollywood. Fans of Winter’s flawless fine lines include Demi Lovato, Sophie Turner, Joe Jonas and Emma Roberts, not to mention Mandy Moore and her husband, Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith, who turned to Winter for matching initial tattoos.
“I was pretty much born with a pencil in my hand,” explains Winter, a second-generation Los Angeles native born and raised in Beverly Hills. With a father in the clothing business and a jewelry designer mother, Winter’s artistic leanings were encouraged at an early age; out of high school, he worked for Disney as a graphic designer before eventually launching his own sportswear line, Mr. Winter, sold at the likes of Fred Segal and Nordstrom.
But the artist always knew he would one day trade in his graphite for a tattoo gun since getting his first tattoo at age 18 — a Celtic cross between his shoulder blades (a nod to his Irish heritage) from the legendary Mark Mahoney of Shamrock Social Club on Sunset. “I was fascinated by the art, so I just started adding and collecting [tattoos],” he explains. “Every time I got one, I would watch, and learn and learn.”
In 2012, Winter began tattooing friends out of his first studio and adopted the moniker Winter Stone (derived from his late dog, a Weimaraner named Stone for his deep gray coloring). “People come to me for fine-line, really meaningful, powerful pieces,” explains Winter, who describes his aesthetic as “delicately sharp.”
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That’s evident in his handiwork showcased on Instagram, from hyper-realistic bees to dainty song lyrics and even a rendering of the world map neatly etched into a forearm: “There are so many tattoo artists who say they can’t do it or don’t want to do it. It’s always been very natural for me to draw fine lines or very sharp images.” But his delicate work does come with its challenges, too. “I have to be perfect, so it’s very stressful,” he says. And there are times when Winter will turn down requests, such as offensive symbols, or portraits of people (“For some reason, I don’t see art that way”).
Currently, Winter has a number of projects in the works, including a tattoo shop set to open in Los Angeles by the end of the year. Prospective clients can add their names to his yearlong waiting list. Until then, take cues from a little reminder Winter recently inked on himself: the word “Patience.”
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