Tattoo artist Caleb Dorman, commonly known as “Lobster,” has taken the meaning of his nickname to a new level. With tattoos, he has created a lobster-like appearance covering nearly his entire body. When he puts his arms and legs together, they form a tail fin and lobster claws.
“Tattoos are just a form of expressing yourself with artistic stories,” Dorman said. “And if you look closely, my body is covered with stories that have only just begun.”
Dorman, 29, is a tattoo artist who has been working at the 109’s Salty Dog, 2903 West Berry, for three years and answers to nothing other than Lobster. Lobster has formed from the name “Lob” which comes from his original name Caleb (Cay-Lob).
He has been called Lobster his entire life and it has become part of his identity, reflected in his tattoos. He is now covered in a “full body suit” of tattoos.
He is in high demand with a client list composed of about 120 returning customers. Getting an appointment is not an easy task.
“I usually charge around $100 an hour, and in one sitting session, depending on the size of the tattoo, it will take me up to eight hours just to get to a stopping point,” Lobster said.
Although Lobster grew up with aspirations to be a movie make-up artist, he said he believes he has found the right profession for him. He began as a tattoo artist eight years ago after a friend suggested he try using his artistic talent at a tattoo shop in Fritch, Texas.
Since then, he has gained plenty of experience and loves what he does.
“I work hard to please my customers’ requests even though some can be very strange,” he said.
“When a customer comes in, it is almost as if they feel they are in a therapy session telling me all sorts of strange things,” Lobster said. “I hear sexual stories, traumatic experiences, stories of lost ones, etc.”
Lobster prefers not to talk while working on a customer but most of the time he is given no choice.
“He generally keeps to himself unless you know him well,” said Jodi Ellison, one of his clients.
Five years ago, Lobster married his long-term girlfriend, Lori, and one year later had a son named River. He describes his relationship with his family as close and enjoys being a role model to River. Although his wife has no tattoos, he often finds himself explaining to his son about his tattoos.
“River really likes my tattoos and even though he is only 4 years old, he claims he wants them when he gets bigger,” Lobster said, “I would prefer that he waits until he is at least 18 so he won’t have any regrets but more importantly realize that by looking different, people treat you different. There are disadvantages to everything.”
Lobster claims to have no regrets about a single tattoo he has on his body, done by himself or his friend, Troll Farmer. In fact, he plans on “getting more work done, until he is a wrinkly old man.”
It is most common for people ranging from ages 18 to 25 to get tattoos, according to statistics published at tattoofinder.com.
With about 25 clients coming in a day, owner Troll Farmer takes great pride in his shop and provides customers with well-trained artists, a sanitary atmosphere, and the promise of bringing “your imagination to life.”
According to Lobster, nighttime and weekends seem to be the busiest time for the shop with people getting off of work or students leaving the bar next door. For the average college student, who is getting his or her first or second small tattoo, the common places are the wrists, ankles, and behind the ears with Bible verses to small symbols like a peace sign or star.
Ellison said, “I love getting new tattoos when I have a little extra money, and when I do, the Salty Dog is the first place I go, but I only get them done by my man Lobster.”