By: Paige Turner
The Salty Sailor in Southside Santa Ramona has a new owner and its Damon “Hawk” Hawkins. Hawkins came to fame recently as a contestant on Season 14 of the reality tv show Inked Master. The five foot four-inch-tall tattooist quickly became a fan favorite due to his open and engaging personality.
Hawkins made it to the final three and finished in second place, though many fans complained he should have won the competition as they felt his work was better than the chosen winner. Gracious in defeat however, Hawkins stated he was happy where he finished and the best artist won.
He had a much-heated rivalry on the show with fellow artist Ramon Campoletti, who often found reasons to demean Damon due to his height. Campoletti’s mysterious disappearance from the show mid-season led to a lot of speculation and unconfirmed rumor that he was actually removed from the show after a physical altercation with Hawkins.
A source on the production crew who wished to remain anonymous said Campoletti shoved Hawkins during an argument and Hawkins responded by giving Campoletti a severe beating. However, when asked about it Inked Master producers would not confirm the rumor, only stating “Ramon Campoletti had to remove himself from the contest due to a family emergency.”
Hawkins is also a member of a 1% Motorcycle club, the Warriors of Asgard. When asked about it during the show, all Hawkins would say was he was a founding member of the club, and currently a Nomad, meaning he has no specific chapter he belongs to.
The Warriors of Asgard have come to the attention of Law Enforcement over the years. Sources inside a Florida Law Enforcement Agency stated the Warriors are heavy into the illegal weapons trade, but there is no evidence Hawkins is involved.
A background check of Hawkins shows residences in Florida, Kansas, Idaho, and now California with no criminal record in any state. So, who is Damon Hawkins? We sat down with him recently to find out more about him and what comes next for him.
PT: Thanks for sitting down with me.
DH: My pleasure, its nice to meet you Paige.
PT: Thank you! So, tell me, what brings you to Santa Ramona.
DH: Oh, I’ve always had a bit of Wanderlust in me. An open road, wind in my face, blowing down the highway on two wheels. There’s nothing better. For quite a while my girlfriend and I have just traveled whenever the mood struck us. We’d find a new town, I’d do a guest spot at the local tattoo parlor, and then it was time to hit the road again.
After Inked Master my girlfriend and I started talking about maybe settling down someplace a bit more permanent, but we weren’t sure where, so we went back to traveling. We figured the right place would make itself known to us at the right time.
Eventually we came to Santa Ramona. I decided to find the local tattoo shop to see about doing a guest spot and found it for sale. I took that as a sign we were supposed to settle here. So, I made an offer for the business and that as we say, was that.
PT: So, what plans do you have for the Sailor?
DH: Well awesome tattoo’s of course! My girlfriend Shani will be working there as well, she’s a body piercer. I hope to bring in more quality artists and really showcase Santa Ramona as a location for quality body art.
PT: That sounds great! So, let’s talk about Inked Master. You were quite popular among viewers, and I know there’s some talk out there about wanting to see more of you on tv. Can we expect something like that in the near future?
DH: Well, it’s funny you should mention that. I think fans will be pleased as I am working on something. I can’t get into specifics yet, but I am starting discussions with a studio about a possible reality show that will lead up to a prime time special event.
PT: So exciting! So about Inked Master. You had a very visible rivalry with Ramon Campoletti. Was that real or was it just the show giving the viewers some contrived drama to spice up the show?
DH: You know, reality shows, like any other show wants big ratings and ratings come from drama. I’d say the majority of drama you see on shows like Inked Master isn’t really that bad. I became really close friends with a lot of the artists I competed with, and I still stay in touch with them.
Ramon though, I can say this with absolute honesty. Ramon Campoletti is a one hundred percent grade A prime asshole. I can’t stand that bastard. He’s extremely bigoted and a mediocre artist. I’ve had apprentices that tattoo better than him.
PT: Well, that’s pretty clear! So, suffice to say the two of you won’t be exchanging Christmas presents.
DH: Not unless its me giving him a boot to the ass, no.
PT: Since we’re on the subject is there any truth to the rumor that the two of you had a physical confrontation during the show and that you actually sent him to the hospital?
DH: All I can tell you is that Ramon left the show due to a family emergency.
PT: I see. Lets move onto another subject. You are a member of a motorcycle gang, the Warriors of Asgard.
DH: Let me give you a little correction there Paige. We’re a motorcycle club not a gang.
PT: Pardon me, I didn’t mean to be insulting.
DH: That’s quite alright. We’re just a bunch of guys who like to ride motorcycles.
PT: So, what can you tell us about your club.
DH: Well, I can tell you that it’s based on our religion, which is Asatru, I’m one of the founding members of the club, and I’m currently a Nomad.
PT: What do you mean when you say you’re a Nomad?
DH: Well as a Nomad, I am still a member of the club, but I’m not tied to a specific chapter. So basically, I can go wherever I want but I still enjoy the benefits of membership.
PT: So, does that mean we’ll be seeing a chapter of the Warriors coming to Santa Ramona.
DH: No, there are no plans at this time for the Warriors of Asgard to set up a chapter in Santa Ramona.
PT: And what about the rumors of run ins with Law Enforcement and the club being tied to the illegal weapons trade?
DH: Absolutely untrue.
PT: No expansion on that?
PT: Okay then. Well, I certainly appreciate you sitting down with us today Damon. We look forward to seeing what your shop has in store for us and hopefully we’ll see you back on tv soon as well.
DH: Thank you for having me Paige.
Okay there you have it. Charismatic tattoo artist or Outlaw Biker? Only time will tell folks, but it should be fun to watch!!