Visual Art

FINALLY TOGETHER: Jonah Lemke’s Art Has Come Together at Artisan Forge Studios

lifelong artist shows off his colorful portraits, tattoo designs, and monkey muses

author & photographer by Sawyer Hoff |

SKIN OR PAPER? Artist Jonah Lemke has been tattooing in Eau Claire for 20 years, but is now showing off his other art.
SKIN OR PAPER? Artist Jonah Lemke has been tattooing in Eau Claire for 20 years, but now he is showing off his other art.

When it comes to out-of-the-box art, Jonah Lemke has it all, both figuratively and literally. Now through the end of June, Lemke’s Art is on display at Artisan Forge Studios in Eau Claire. It’s the first time all of his art has been in one place at a time.

Artisan Forge likes to exhibit the work of a different local artist every month, and June is all about Lemke. His friend, Justin Webb, who has a studio at Artisan Forge, told the gallery curator that Lemke’s work is a must-see – and they were right.

His portrait inspirations come from all over, but mostly from family members or photos in magazines. One of his most popular pieces is a depiction of Mick Jagger’s daughter, who he came across posing in a magazine. Another one of his popular and most recent pieces is of his girlfriend.

A lot of Lemke’s pieces don’t fit into standard frames or boxes, so he makes his own. In fact, one of the sculptures at the exhibit, which portrays his friend Webb, is inside a box he made himself.

“That’s always the hunt – inspiration,” Lemke said. “I like to do humans or beings. That’s the hardest thing to capture: character and emotion in the face.”

Lemke had moved to Missouri for about two and half years, and during that time he sold and shipped paintings to Webb back in Eau Claire, who hung them at Midwest Tattoo. For this exhibit, all of Lemke’s works are in one place together.

“I’ve been doing art my whole life,” Lemke said. “Since I was three I said I wanted to be a sculptor and it stuck. With painting, I always drew and doodled my whole life, but I never really got into painting until I started tattooing.”

Lemke founded Wintership Tattoo in Eau Claire and has been tattooing for 20 years. A lot of his work is on display at Wintership. 

“You paint what’s inside of you,” Lemke explained. “They’re reflections of who you are. A lot of my work is flowers and women and stuff. I love to paint the beauty in life.”

Check out Lemke’s work at Artisan Forge Studio, where his exhibit will be up until the end of June. You can check out his tattooing at